“He Who Praises Everybody Praises Nobody”


Observations of Samuel Johnson:

  • “We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know, because they have never deceived us.”
  • “I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.”
  • “Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”
  • “To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.”
  • “In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.”
  • “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”
  • “It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world, and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read, if they can have any thing else to amuse them.”
  • “I live in the crowd of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself.”
  • “Example is always more efficacious than precept.”
  • “Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.”
  • “Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything.”
  • “It is very strange, and very melancholy, that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them.”
  • “No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.”
  • “Every state of society is as luxurious as it can be. Men always take the best they can get.”
  • “Wine makes a man more pleased with himself. I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.”
  • “If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.”
  • “The applause of a single human being is of great consequence.”
  • “[S]uch is the delight of mental superiority, that none on whom nature or study have conferred it, would purchase the gifts of fortune by its loss.”
  • “The world is not yet exhausted: let me see something to-morrow which I never saw before.”

Harold Nicolson wrote, “Dr. Johnson is the only conversationalist who triumphs over time.”