George Bernard Shaw was a playwright who was born on July 26, 1856 in Dublin, Ireland. Under his mother’s guidance and regular visits to the National Gallery of Ireland, his exploration of the arts began extremely early in his life.
By 1876, Shaw had decided to become a writer. But he struggled financially – so much so, that his mother was essentially supporting him while he spent time working on his first novels in the British Museum reading room. Despite the amount of time he spent writing, they were widely rejected by publishers and became dismal failures.
Because of this, Shaw turned to politics and the activities of the British intelligentsia. He even joined and became actively involved in the Fabian Society – a socialist group whose goal was to transform England through a more vibrant political and intellectual base.
Shaw also began writing book reviews, as well as art, music, and theater criticism. He was even brought on to the Sunday Review as its theater critic in 1895. At this point, he finally found his creative writing calling: writing plays.
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His most famous play, ‘Pygmalion’ was even adapted to the big screen and for Broadway, eventually earning him an Academy Award. By then, George Bernard Shaw has already established himself as a literary giant.
Whether you need something clever, or a truthful reminder in the form of a humorous statement, let these George Bernard Shaw quotes pick you up.
The best George Bernard Shaw quotes on communication, love, and change
1. “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” – George Bernard Shaw
2. “You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” – George Bernard Shaw
3. “[The] power of accurate observation…is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” – George Bernard Shaw
4. “The unconscious self is the real genius. Your breathing goes wrong the moment your conscious self meddles with it.” – George Bernard Shaw
5. “There are no secrets better kept than the secrets everybody guesses.” – George Bernard Shaw
6. “We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.” – George Bernard Shaw
7. “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.” – George Bernard Shaw
8. “He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – George Bernard Shaw
9. “The liar’s punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.” – George Bernard Shaw
10. “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It’s the funniest joke in the world.” – George Bernard Shaw
Sayings and quotes by George Bernard Shaw about life and work
11. “As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.” – George Bernard Shaw
12. “The first prison I ever saw had inscribed on it ‘cease to do evil: learn to do well’; but as the inscription was on the outside, the prisoners could not read it.” – George Bernard Shaw
13. “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
14. “A day’s work is a day’s work, neither more nor less, and the man who does it needs a day’s sustenance, a night’s repose and due leisure, whether he be painter or ploughman.” – George Bernard Shaw
15. “A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.” – George Bernard Shaw
16. “A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.” – George Bernard Shaw
17. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw
18. “A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth.” – George Bernard Shaw
19. “Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them.” – George Bernard Shaw
20. “An American has no sense of privacy. He does not know what it means. There is no such thing in the country.” – George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw quotes about politics and history
21. “Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.” – George Bernard Shaw
22. “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” – George Bernard Shaw
23. “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” – George Bernard Shaw
24. “Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.” – George Bernard Shaw
25. “Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.” – George Bernard Shaw
26. “Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich – something for nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw
27. “Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.” – George Bernard Shaw
28. “Hell is full of musical amateurs.” – George Bernard Shaw
29. “I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.” – George Bernard Shaw
30. “If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.” – George Bernard Shaw
Witty George Bernard Shaw quotes on food and leadership
31. “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” – George Bernard Shaw
32. “If the lesser mind could measure the greater as a foot rule can measure a pyramid, there would be finality in universal suffrage. As it is, the political problem remains unsolved.” – George Bernard Shaw
33. “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw
34. “When a man of normal habits is ill, everyone hastens to assure him that he is going to recover. When a vegetarian is ill (which fortunately very seldom happens), everyone assures him that he is going to die, and that they told him so, and that it serves him right. They implore him to take at least a little gravy, so as to give himself a chance of lasting out the night.” – George Bernard Shaw
35. “A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows.” – George Bernard Shaw
36. “Better see rightly on a pound a week than squint on a million.” – George Bernard Shaw
37. “Cruelty would be delicious if one could only find some sort of cruelty that didn’t really hurt.” – George Bernard Shaw
38. “The censorship method…is that of handing the job over to some frail and erring mortal man, and making him omnipotent on the assumption that his official status will make him infallible and omniscient.” – George Bernard Shaw
39. “Reminiscences make one feel so deliciously aged and sad.” – George Bernard Shaw
40. “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it.” – George Bernard Shaw
More George Bernard Shaw quotes that showcase his brilliance
41. “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” – George Bernard Shaw
42. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw
43. “Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny. They have only shifted it to another shoulder.” – George Bernard Shaw
44. “When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.” – George Bernard Shaw
45. “We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.” – George Bernard Shaw
46. “Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.” – George Bernard Shaw
47. “The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for a living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art.” – George Bernard Shaw
48. “A love affair should always be a honeymoon. And the only way to make sure of that is to keep changing the man; for the same man can never keep it up.” – George Bernard Shaw
49. “Christianity as a specific doctrine was slain with Jesus, suddenly and utterly. He was hardly cold in his grave, or high in his heaven (as you please), before the apostles dragged the tradition of him down to the level of the thing it has remained ever since.” – George Bernard Shaw
50. “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” – George Bernard Shaw
Did you enjoy these George Bernard Shaw quotes?
His plays were always filled with his signature wit and social criticism. But his influence extended beyond his works. He eventually became highly recognized, and even won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925.
George Bernard Shaw was an extremely inspirational writer and historical figure, because no matter how many times he failed at writing, he kept trying until he found success. He stayed with his passion until he died in 1950 at the age of 94 – when he was working on yet another play.