Philosophers / Thinkers

Top 64 Henry David Thoreau Quotes (REFLECTION)

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Best known for writing the book, Walden, Henry David Thoreau was a New England Transcendentalist who reminded us to reflect upon simple living in natural surroundings.

Thoreau was one of America’s most famous writers. He was also an essayist, poet, environmental scientist, and philosopher.

Born on 12 July 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts, U.S, Thoreau is a lifelong and fervent abolitionist whose philosophy of civil disobedience would later influence the thoughts of notable figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Jr.

Below are the best Thoreau quotes so you can be inspired by the wisdom of one of America’s most famous writers.

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Top 26 Most-favorited Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself. So live the life you imagined.
Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself. So live the life you imagined.
The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.
Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.
When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.
Things do not change; we change.
Things do not change; we change.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.
I make myself rich by making my wants few.
I make myself rich by making my wants few.
Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
All good things are wild and free.
All good things are wild and free.
For an impenetrable shield, stand inside yourself.
For an impenetrable shield, stand inside yourself.
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.
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.
Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.
Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.
Not all who wander are lost.
Not all who wander are lost.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.
Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
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.
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.
Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

38 Inspiring Henry David Thoreau Quotes to Encourage You

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
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour.
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour.
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
What is once well done is done forever.
What is once well done is done forever.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
Be not simply good – be good for something.
Be not simply good – be good for something.
What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?
What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?
Men are born to succeed, not to fail.
Men are born to succeed, not to fail.
Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
The universe is wider than our views of it.
The universe is wider than our views of it.
I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.
I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.

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
Any fool can make a rule And any fool will mind it.
Any fool can make a rule And any fool will mind it.
Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.
Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Only that traveling is good which reveals to me the value of home and enables me to enjoy it better.
Only that traveling is good which reveals to me the value of home and enables me to enjoy it better.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”

Henry David Thoreau
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
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.
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.
Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

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
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
It's not worth our while to let our imperfections disturb us always.
It’s not worth our while to let our imperfections disturb us always.
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
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.
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.
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.
Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.

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