65 Mark Twain Quotes on Writing and Education

Allow the famous words of Mark Twain to open your eyes on writing and the value of education.

Mark Twain is hailed today as the “greatest humorist” the United States has ever produced.

His many wise words and thought-provoking tales still inspire countless individuals today.

Looking for motivational Mark Twain quotes to inspire you, too?

Here’s our collection of Mark Twain quotes that will certainly open your eyes and mind.

So often I find myself quoting the words of Mark Twain in my writings.

He has so many funny, useful, and instructive thoughts that he left behind as a gift for us.

It dawned on me that some of you might have some favorite Mark Twain quotes yourselves; and if not, you were really losing out.

So, I decided to put a list together of what I consider his 50 best sayings.

I hope that you find the one you love, help give you a new one that inspires you, or simply just make you think and laugh.

Below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and thought-provoking Mark Twain quotes and sayings, collected from a variety of sources over the years. 


If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement. 

Check out more inspirational quotes on our motivational quotes category page.

Mark Twain Quotes on Life

1. “When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.”- Mark Twain, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson

2. “All kings is mostly rapscallions.”- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

3. “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”- MARK TWAIN, Greatly Exaggerated: The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

4. “Put all your eggs in one basket — and watch that basket!”- MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson

5. Do not put off till tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well.”- MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain’s Notebook

Mark Twain quotes that will change the way you think

6. “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” – MARK TWAIN, editorial in the Hartford Courant, Aug. 24, 1897

7. “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.”- MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson

8. “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”- MARK TWAIN, The Mysterious Stranger

9. “The lack of money is the root of all evil.”- MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain’s Notebook

10. “It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.”- MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

11. “Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.”- MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain’s Notebook

12. “Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so.”- MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain’s Notebooks

13. The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding their capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn’t detect.” – MARK TWAIN, Joan of Arc

14. “Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God.”- MARK TWAIN, Europe and Elsewhere

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15. “When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”- MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain’s Notebook

16. “Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is, knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our race. He brought death into the world.”- MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson

17. “The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.”- MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

You will also enjoy our article on Ace Ventura quotes.

Mark Twain quotes on how we think

18. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”- MARK TWAIN, Innocents Abroad

19. “After a few months’ acquaintance with European “coffee,” one’s mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed.”- MARK TWAIN, A Tramp Abroad

20. “Grief can take care of itself; but to get the full value of a joy you must have someone to divide it with.”- MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson

21. “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”- MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson

22. “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”- MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain’s Notebook

23. “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”- MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of wise native American quotes on community, respect, and more.

Mark Twain’s Quotes on Education

24. “Classic.” A book which people praise and don’t read. – MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

25. “What’s the use you learning to do right, when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”- MARK TWAIN, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

26. “I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me.”- MARK TWAIN, Letters from the Earth

27. “Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”- MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson

28. “When a humorist ventures upon the grave concerns of life he must do his job better than another man or he works harm to his cause.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to W. D. Howells, Aug. 23, 1876

29. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – MARK TWAIN, Autobiography

30. “What a man wants with religion in these breadless times, surpasses my comprehension.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to Orion Clemens, Mar. 1860

31. “I always did hate for anyone to know what my plans or hopes or prospects were—for, if I kept people in ignorance in these matters, no one could be disappointed but myself, if they were not realized.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to Mrs. Moffett, Oct. 25, 1861

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32. “Men are easily dealt with—but when you get the women started, you are in for it, you know.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, Feb. 8, 1862

33. “We chase phantoms half the days of our lives. It is well if we learn wisdom even then, and save the other half.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to Orion Clemens, Feb. 21, 1868

34. “Who would find out that I am a natural fool if I kept always cool and never let nature come to the surface? Nobody.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Jan. 28, 1870

35. “Ah, well, I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God’s fool, and all His works must be contemplated with respect.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to W. D. Howells, 1877

36. “My mind changes often … People who have no mind can easily be steadfast and firm, but when a man is loaded down to the guards with it, as I am, every heavy sea of foreboding or inclination, maybe of indolence, shifts the cargo.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to James Redpath, Aug. 8, 1871

37. “I would rather have my ignorance than another man’s knowledge, because I have got so much more of it.” – MARK TWAIN, letter to William Dean Howells, Feb. 10, 1875

38. “People who always feel jolly, no matter where they are or what happens to them—who have the organ of hope preposterously developed—who are endowed with an uncongealable sanguine temperament—who never feel concerned about the price of corn—and who cannot, by any possibility, discover any but the bright side of a picture—are very apt to go to extremes, and exaggerate with 40-horse microscopic power.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, Feb. 8, 1862

39. “I am as prompt as a clock, if I only know the day a thing is wanted—otherwise I am a natural procrastinaturalist.”- MARK TWAIN, letter to W. D. Howells, Dec. 8, 1874

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Mark Twain Quotes on Writing

40. “Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself.”- MARK TWAIN, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

41. “The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”- MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

42. “It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.”- MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

43. “Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.”- MARK TWAIN, Adam’s Diary

44. “To string incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities, is the basis of the American art, if my position is correct.”- MARK TWAIN, “How to Tell a Story”

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45. “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”- MARK TWAIN, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Mark Twain quotes that will make your day

46. “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

47. “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” – Mark Twain

48. “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.” – Mark Twain

49. “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

50. “Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” – Mark Twain

51. “Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.” – Mark Twain

52. “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

53. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

54. Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” – Mark Twain

55. “Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.” – Mark Twain

More Mark Twain quotes

56. “Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them, the rest of us could not succeed.” – Mark Twain

57. “A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.” – Mark Twain

58. “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.” – Mark Twain

59. “Write without pay until somebody offers to pay.” – Mark Twain

60. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

61. “There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.” – Mark Twain

62. “If you tell the truth you do not need a good memory!” – Mark Twain

63. “Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.” – Mark Twain

64. “Plain question and plain answer make the shortest road out of most perplexities.” – Mark Twain

65. “Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation.” – Mark Twain

Did you enjoy these Mark Twain quotes?

Samuel Langhorne Clemens AKA Mark Twain was a brilliant and clever man of his time.

Through his works, his legacy and love of words will certainly live on.

I hope you enjoyed these great – and sometimes funny – quotes on life, writing, and education.

Which of these Mark Twain quotes was your favorite?

Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add to the list?

Tell us in the comment section below.

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  1. Wilhelm Franck

    September 4, 2019 at 11:45 AM

    24.) “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live

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