Here are 60 of the best Henry David Thoreau quotes.
If you want to live a better and simpler life, you need to read Thoreau.
I discovered him in 2004.
I had just lost my girlfriend in a car accident.
Through his writings about simplicity, nature, and solitude, I was able to find inspiration, relief, and gain more self-knowledge.
And if you read carefully his quotes below, you’ll certainly find insights into the value of
- Thinking for yourself
All useful aspects for today’s modern world.
I hope you’ll love Thoreau’s quotes as much as I did.
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Henry David Thoreau Quotes On Life
Be true to your work, your word, and your friend. Henry David Thoreau
Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. Henry David Thoreau
It’s the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. The questions is not what you look at, but what you see. Henry David Thoreau
You think that I am impoverishing myself withdrawing from men, but in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society. Henry David Thoreau
Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around. Henry David Thoreau
That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves. Henry David Thoreau
The language of friendship is not words but meanings. Henry David Thoreau
Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams. Henry David Thoreau
Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you. Henry David Thoreau
The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this? Henry David Thoreau
In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood. Henry David Thoreau
Love must be as much a light as it is a flame. Henry David Thoreau
There is no remedy for love but to love more. Henry David Thoreau
The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. Henry David Thoreau
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. Henry David Thoreau
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. Henry David Thoreau
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. Henry David Thoreau
What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate. Henry David Thoreau
It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know. Henry David Thoreau
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Henry David Thoreau
When we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen. Henry David Thoreau
I think we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. Henry David Thoreau
What is called genius is the abundance of life and health. Henry David Thoreau
Enthusiasm is a supernatural serenity. Henry David Thoreau
Things do not change; we change. Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau Quotes On Solitude
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. Henry David Thoreau
I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. Henry David Thoreau
I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. Henry David Thoreau
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau
I have a great deal of company in the house, especially in the morning when nobody calls. Henry David Thoreau
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. Henry David Thoreau
Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own track, then. Henry David Thoreau
A man thinking or working is always alone. Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau Quotes On Nature
I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees. Henry David Thoreau
An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. Henry David Thoreau
Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth. Henry David Thoreau
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. Henry David Thoreau
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Henry David Thoreau
Morning brings back the heroic ages. Henry David Thoreau
Wildness is the preservation of the world. Henry David Thoreau
Nature abhors a vacuum, and if I can only walk with sufficient carelessness I am sure to be filled. Henry David Thoreau
All good things are wild and free. Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau Quotes On Simplicity
My greatest skill has been to want little. Henry David Thoreau
That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest. Henry David Thoreau
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. Henry David Thoreau
I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day. Henry David Thoreau
Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul. Henry David Thoreau
Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. Henry David Thoreau
It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about? Henry David Thoreau
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify. Henry David Thoreau
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this. Henry David Thoreau
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. Henry David Thoreau
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Henry David Thoreau
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed? Henry David Thoreau
It is a great art to saunter. Henry David Thoreau
The only way to tell the truth is to speak it with kindness. Only the words of a loving man can be heard. Henry David Thoreau
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. Henry David Thoreau
I make myself rich by making my wants few. Henry David Thoreau
Live your life, do your work, then take your hat. Henry David Thoreau
What Is Thoreau’s Most Famous Quote?
Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify. Henry David Thoreau
- Simplify your life. Thoreau lived a minimalist lifestyle. He even spent two years living in a small cabin near Walden Pond in Massachusetts, USA. The lesson? Drop materialism and consumerism. Reduce your possessions to the vital few. Reduce clutter in your house. This will lead to less stress and a happier life.
- Spend time in nature. Thoreau spent a large amount of time in the woods, contemplating and exploring. He believed in the spiritual power of nature. The lesson? Take time each day to go outside. Modern life often keeps us indoors. But spending more time in nature will lead to greater mental health.
- Be present. Thoreau was keen on mindfulness, being present and alert to his surroundings. The lesson? Make a vow to spend less time on your smartphone and more time with people you love. Ditch notifications and distractions. Be present for what truly counts: your friends, your work, and your health.
- Question authority and injustice. Thoreau believed that individuals had a moral duty to resist unjust laws. This idea later influenced civil rights leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. The lesson? Stand for what’s right. Defend your friends. Fight for social and environmental causes. Engage in peaceful protests against climate change. Ask questions to your political leaders.
- Journal. Thoreau was a dedicated journal keeper. This helped him gain self-knowledge and insights. The lesson? Keep a journal. Ask yourself questions and reflect. The more self-understanding you have, the more inner peace you can gain.
- Topic: Life
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