The 100 Most Important Things I Have Learned From History

By Professor Kelly

(random order for first 90)

  1. Good things, that come of course, far less do please,
    Than those which come by sweet contingencies. — Robert Herrick
  2. When in doubt, go home. — Anon
  3. There’s more fuss and nonsense about interpreting interpretations than interpreting things. — Montaigne
  4. Virtue is insufficient temptation. — G. B. Shaw
  5. Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. — Albert Einstein
  6. In men this blunder still you find,
    All think their little set mankind. — Hannah Moore
  7. Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to be the words, “For my sake the world was created,” and in his left, “I am dust and ashes.” — Hasidic saying
  8. Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. — Goethe
  9. Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. — Napoleon
  10. Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box. — Italian proverb
  11. Woe to him who is alone when he falleth. — Proverbs, 4:10
  12. Reality is always more conservative than ideology. — Raymond Aron
  13. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. — Seneca
  14. You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it. — Charles Buxton
  15. Time is the wisest councilor. — Pericles
  16. Why should god submit himself to our puny distinction between existence and non-existence? If he’s worthy of the name, god can both be and not be at the same time. — Alfred Kelly
  17. Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods. — Albert Einstein
  18. What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree? — Logan Pearsall Smith
  19. Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also. — Carl Jung
  20. We think in generalities, but we live in detail. — Alfred North Whitehead
  21. It is not the same to talk of bulls as to be in the bullring. — Spanish proverb
  22. We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love. — Sigmund Freud
  23. Don’t die until you’re dead. — Anon
  24. Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. — Proverbs, 16:18
  25. Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is. — Francis Bacon
  26. We are always getting ready to live, but never living. — Emerson
  27. It is far easier to know men than to know a man. — La Rochefoucauld
  28. A wise man sees as much as he ought, not as much as he can. — Montaigne
  29. Courage mounteth with occasion. — Shakespeare
  30. Most people reason dramatically, not quantitatively. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  31. The higher the ape climbs, the more he shows his rear end. — German proverb
  32. One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it. — French proverb
  33. With enough “ifs,” we could put Paris in a bottle. — French proverb
  34. If there is another world, he lives in bliss;
    If there is none, he made the best of this. — Robert Burns
  35. The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. — Thoreau
  36. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. — Albert Einstein
  37. The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. — William James
  38. You can count for certain on retaining the upper hand in any matter if you do everything without the slightest delay. — Georg von Lichtenberg
  39. Clever men are impressed in their differences from their fellows. Wise men are conscious of their resemblance to them. — R. H. Tawney
  40. Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? — T. S. Eliot
  41. Nothing is an unmixed blessing. — Horace
  42. Most people sell their souls and live in good conscience on the proceeds. — Logan Pearsall Smith
  43. What is to give light must endure the burning. — Viktor E. Frankl
  44. God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them. — German proverb
  45. What makes us discontented with our condition is the absurdly exaggerated idea we have of the happiness of others. — French proverb
  46. Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom. — George Iles
  47. And all who told it added something new,
    And all who heard it made enlargements too. — Alexander Pope
  48. Invention is the mother of necessity. — Thorstein Veblen
  49. It is well for the heart to be naïve and the mind not to be. — Anatole France
  50. A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo. — Bill Grey
  51. Happiness is like coke — something you get as a by-product in the process of making something else. — Aldous Huxley
  52. Don’t worry about what other people think; they don’t do it very often. — Anon
  53. Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call destiny. — John Oliver Hobbes
  54. Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.
  55. One must plow with the horses that he has. — German proverb
  56. Honor sinks where commerce long prevails. — Oliver Goldsmith
  57. Every word was once a poem. — Emerson
  58. Homo homini lupus [Man is a wolf to man]. — Plautus
  59. Good and bad men are less than they seem. — Coleridge
  60. My way of joking is to tell the truth. — G. B. Shaw
  61. Pain hardens, and great pain hardens greatly, whatever the comforters say, and suffering does not ennoble, though it may occasionally lend a certain rigid dignity of manner to the suffering frame. — Antonia S. Byatt
  62. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer master of the policy by the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. — Winston Churchill
  63. To every thing there is a season,
    A time for every purpose under heaven. — Ecclesiastes, 3:1
  64. Be wary of the man who encourages an action in which he himself incurs no risk. — Joaquin Setanti
  65. Most apparent mountains turn out to be molehills; a few apparent molehills turn out to be mountains. — Alfred Kelly
  66. Airs of importance are the credentials of impotence. — Johann Kaspar Lavater
  67. How soon not now becomes never. — Martin Luther
  68. Rotten wood cannot be carved. — Chinese proverb
  69. Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity. — Albert Einstein
  70. He that is discontented in one place will seldom be content in another. — Aesop
  71. The injuries we do and the injuries we suffer are seldom weighed on the same scales. — Aesop
  72. Things are seldom what they seem,
    Skim milk masquerades as cream. — W. S. Gilbert
  73. It is almost impossible to bear the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing someone’s beard. — Georg von Lichtenberg
  74. Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits. — Thomas Edison
  75. God’ll send you the bill. — James Russell Lowell
  76. When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. — Eric Hofer
  77. Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. — Thomas La Mance
  78. That which is bitter to endure may be sweet to remember. — Thomas Fuller
  79. Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. — Thoreau
  80. Examine the contents, not the bottle. — The Talmud
  81. Every fact is already a theory. — Goethe
  82. … the reasons for doubting being themselves doubtful. — Pierre Bayle
  83. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life. — Karl Marx
  84. How many people become abstract as a way of appearing profound. — Joseph Joubert
  85. What good is running if you are not on the right path? — German proverb
  86. The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate. — J. B. Priestley
  87. A merry heart doeth good like medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones. — Proverbs, 4:10
  88. …………………………………………….Love will find its way,
    Through paths where wolves would fear to prey. — Lord Byron
  89. Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin. — Charles Darwin
  90. The heart has its reasons, which reason knows not. — Blaise Pascal

And finally, the top 10 (this time in order, the most important being number 10)

  1. That which has been is what will be,
    That which is done is what will be done,
    And there is nothing new under the sun. — Ecclesiastes, I:9
  2. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. — Ecclesiastes, I:2
  3. Wisdom is better than rubies. — Proverbs, 8:11
  4. After all is said and done, more will have been said than done. — Anon
  5. The hues of bliss more brightly glow,
    Chastis’d by sabler tints of woe. — Thomas Gray
  6. Love to faults is always blind,
    Always is to joy inclined,
    Lawless, winged and unconfined,
    And breaks all chains from every mind. — William Blake
  7. The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together. — Shakespeare
  8. The emperor has no clothes. — Hans Christian Anderson
  9. Things are uncertain, and the more we get,
    The more on icy pavements we are set. — Robert Herrick
  10. Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying;
    And this same flower that smiles today,
    Tomorrow will be dying.
    — Robert Herrick

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