100+ Inspirational Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Life, Success

Personal Info

Henry David Thoreau, born on July 12, 1817, Concord, Massachusetts, U.S. He was an American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher

Education

In 1828 his parents sent him to Concord Academy, where he impressed his teachers and so was permitted to prepare for college. Upon graduating from the academy, he entered Harvard University in 1833.

Love Life

In 1840 Thoreau fell in love with and proposed marriage to an attractive visitor to Concord named Ellen Sewall. She accepted his proposal but then immediately broke off the engagement at the insistence of her parents. He remained a bachelor for life.

Settlement

Early in the spring of 1845, Thoreau, then 27 years old, began to chop down tall pines with which to build the foundations of his home on the shores of Walden Pond.

He spent long hours observing and recording the local flora and fauna, reading, and writing A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849).

Death

Thoreau contracted tuberculosis in 1835 and suffered from it sporadically afterwards. When his aunt Louisa asked him in his last weeks if he had made his peace with God, Thoreau responded, “I did not know we had ever quarreled.”


Henry David Thoreau Quotes


Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

Henry David Thoreau


The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

– Henry David Thoreau


Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

– Henry David Thoreau


This world is but a canvas to our imagination.

– Henry David Thoreau


An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

– Henry David Thoreau


Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

– Henry David Thoreau


I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.

– Henry David Thoreau


Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.

– Henry David Thoreau


I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

– Henry David Thoreau


Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.

– Henry David Thoreau


If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.

– Henry David Thoreau


As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

– Henry David Thoreau


The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.

– Henry David Thoreau


Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.

– Henry David Thoreau


That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.

– Henry David Thoreau


There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.

– Henry David Thoreau


Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.

– Henry David Thoreau


Henry David Thoreau Quotes Success


Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.

– Henry David Thoreau


None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

– Henry David Thoreau


It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

– 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


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


I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.

– Henry David Thoreau


Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

– Henry David Thoreau


What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.

– Henry David Thoreau


It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?

– Henry David Thoreau


Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.

– Henry David Thoreau


You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

– Henry David Thoreau


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

– Henry David Thoreau


Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.

– Henry David Thoreau


Henry David Thoreau Quotes About Life, Nature


Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.

– Henry David Thoreau


Live the life you’ve dreamed.

– Henry David Thoreau


Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.

– Henry David Thoreau


The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.

– Henry David Thoreau


Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

– 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


A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.

– Henry David Thoreau


The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.

– Henry David Thoreau


The bluebird carries the sky on his back.

– Henry David Thoreau


Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.

– Henry David Thoreau


The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

– Henry David Thoreau


Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

– 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


Some More Henry David Thoreau Quotes


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

– Henry David Thoreau


Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

– Henry David Thoreau


There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

– Henry David Thoreau


Things do not change; we change.

– Henry David Thoreau


I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.

– Henry David Thoreau


There is no remedy for love but to love more.

– Henry David Thoreau


Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

– Henry David Thoreau


Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?

– Henry David Thoreau


Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

– Henry David Thoreau


The language of friendship is not words but meanings.

– Henry David Thoreau


Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.

– Henry David Thoreau


If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.

– Henry David Thoreau


Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.

– Henry David Thoreau


It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.

– Henry David Thoreau


Be not simply good – be good for something.

– Henry David Thoreau


Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.

– Henry David Thoreau


It is never too late to give up our prejudices.

– Henry David Thoreau


Short On Liner Henry David Thoreau Quotes


Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.

– Henry David Thoreau


Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.

– Henry David Thoreau


Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

– 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


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

– 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


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.

– Henry David Thoreau


The question is not what you look at, but what you see.

– Henry David Thoreau


Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.

– 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


I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

– Henry David Thoreau


Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.

– Henry David Thoreau


Famous Henry David Thoreau Quotes


The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

– Henry David Thoreau


Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

– 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


Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

– Henry David Thoreau


If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.

– Henry David Thoreau


To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

– Henry David Thoreau


What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?

– Henry David Thoreau


How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

– Henry David Thoreau


It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

– Henry David Thoreau


Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.

– Henry David Thoreau


Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.

– Henry David Thoreau


Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.

– Henry David Thoreau


Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

– Henry David Thoreau


What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.

– Henry David Thoreau


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.

– Henry David Thoreau


Inspirational Henry David Thoreau Quotes


Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.

– Henry David Thoreau


Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.

– 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 he hears, however measured or far away.

– Henry David Thoreau


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

– Henry David Thoreau


All good things are wild and free.

– Henry David Thoreau


Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.

– Henry David Thoreau


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.

– Henry David Thoreau


Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.

– Henry David Thoreau


I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

– 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


Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.

– Henry David Thoreau


I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.

– Henry David Thoreau


There is no remedy for love, but to love more.

– Henry David Thoreau


Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

– Henry David Thoreau


Civil Disobedience Henry David Thoreau Quotes


Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

– 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


Not till we are completely lost or turned around… do we begin to find ourselves.

– Henry David Thoreau


As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

– Henry David Thoreau


Things do not change; we change.

– Henry David Thoreau


If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.

– Henry David Thoreau


Any fool can make a rule And any fool will mind it.

– Henry David Thoreau


The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

– Henry David Thoreau


The language of Friendship is not words, but meanings.

– Henry David Thoreau


All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.

– Henry David Thoreau


Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

– 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


A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.

– Henry David Thoreau


Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?

– Henry David Thoreau


Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.

– Henry David Thoreau


This world is but a canvas for our imagination.

– Henry David Thoreau


Motivational Henry David Thoreau Quotes


An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

– Henry David Thoreau


When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.

– Henry David Thoreau


What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?

– Henry David Thoreau


Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

– Henry David Thoreau


It’s not worth our while to let our imperfections disturb us always.

– Henry David Thoreau


It is never too late to give up your prejudices.

– Henry David Thoreau


The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.

– Henry David Thoreau


Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.

– Henry David Thoreau


How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.

– Henry David Thoreau


I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.

– Henry David Thoreau


My greatest skill in life has been to want but little.

– Henry David Thoreau


The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

– Henry David Thoreau


It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?

– Henry David Thoreau


I can alter my life by altering my attitude. He who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.

– Henry David Thoreau


Some More Random Henry David Thoreau Quotes


Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.

– Henry David Thoreau


Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

– Henry David Thoreau


There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

– Henry David Thoreau


Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.

– Henry David Thoreau


If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.

– Henry David Thoreau


Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.

– Henry David Thoreau


I have an immense appetite for solitude, like an infant for sleep, and if I don’t get enough for this year, I shall cry all the next.

– Henry David Thoreau


The universe is wider than our views of it.

– Henry David Thoreau


Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.

– Henry David Thoreau


You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.

– Henry David Thoreau


I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.

– Henry David Thoreau


The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.

– Henry David Thoreau


Random Henry David Thoreau Quotes


Men are born to succeed, not to fail.

– Henry David Thoreau


Men have become the tools of their tools.

– Henry David Thoreau


Amid a world of noisy, shallow actors it is noble to stand aside and say, ‘I will simply be.

– Henry David Thoreau


Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. what a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.

– Henry David Thoreau


We are born as innocents. We are polluted by advice.

– Henry David Thoreau


Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

– Henry David Thoreau


I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race in it’s gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.

– Henry David Thoreau


Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.

– Henry David Thoreau


What sort of philosophers are we, who know absolutely nothing of the origin and destiny of cats?

– Henry David Thoreau


To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.

– Henry David Thoreau


I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.

– Henry David Thoreau


Wildness is the preservation of the World.

– Henry David Thoreau


We are constantly invited to be who we are.

– Henry David Thoreau


Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.

– Henry David Thoreau


What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.

– Henry David Thoreau


Few More Henry David Thoreau Quotes


That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.

– Henry David Thoreau


When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.

– 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


The question is not what you look at, but what you see.

– Henry David Thoreau


Renew thyself completely each day.

– Henry David Thoreau


A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.

– Henry David Thoreau


It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are… than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.

– Henry David Thoreau


Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.

– Henry David Thoreau


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