147+ Best George Bernard Shaw Quotes: Exclusive Selection

George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist. His influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. Profound George Bernard Shaw quotes will fire up your brain and inspire you to look at life differently while making you laugh.

If you’re searching for deep quotes by authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by George Eliot, best George Orwell quotes and greatest Harper Lee quotes.

Famous George Bernard Shaw Quotes

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. – George Bernard Shaw

Opera is when a tenor and soprano want to make love but are prevented from doing so by a baritone. – George Bernard Shaw

The longer I live, the more I realize that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time! – George Bernard Shaw

Man can climb to the highest summits, but he cannot dwell there long. – George Bernard Shaw

I’m an atheist and I thank God for it. – George Bernard Shaw

The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business. – George Bernard Shaw

You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race. – George Bernard Shaw

The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound. The poverty-stricken man makes the same mistake about the rich man. – George Bernard Shaw

Think what cowards men would be if they had to bear children. Women are altogether a superior species. – George Bernard Shaw

What is self-control? It is nothing but a highly developed vital sense, dominating and regulating the mere appetites. To overlook the very existence of this supreme sense; to miss the obvious inference that it is the quality that distinguishes the fittest to survive. – George Bernard Shaw

A miracle is an event which creates faith. That is the purpose and nature of miracles. Frauds deceive. An event which creates faith does not deceive: therefore, it is not a fraud, but a miracle. – George Bernard Shaw

No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office. – George Bernard Shaw

It is a woman’s business to get married as soon as possible, and a man’s to keep unmarried as long as he can. – George Bernard Shaw

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. – George Bernard Shaw

It is courage, courage, courage, that raises the blood of life to crimson splendor. – George Bernard Shaw

Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children. – George Bernard Shaw

We want a few mad people now. See where the sane ones have landed us! – George Bernard Shaw

To be in hell is to drift; to be in heaven is to steer. – George Bernard Shaw

A fool-proof method for sculpting an elephant: first, get a huge block of marble; then you chip away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant. – George Bernard Shaw

The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation, because occupation means pre-occupation; and the pre-occupied person is neither happy nor unhappy, but simply alive and active. That is why it is necessary to happiness that one should be tired. – George Bernard Shaw

Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous. – George Bernard Shaw

Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job. – George Bernard Shaw

All great truths begin as blasphemies. – George Bernard Shaw

Most people do not pray; they only beg. – George Bernard Shaw

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: he is always convinced that it says what he means. – George Bernard Shaw

War does not decide who is right but who is left. – George Bernard Shaw

I myself have been particularly careful never to say a civil word to the United States. I have scoffed at their inhabitants as a nation of villagers. I have defined the 100 % American as 99 % an idiot. And they adore me. – George Bernard Shaw

The perfect love affair is one which is conducted entirely by post. – George Bernard Shaw

Clever and attractive women do not want to vote; they are willing to let men govern as long as they govern men. – George Bernard Shaw

Our necessities are few, but our wants are endless. – George Bernard Shaw

You can lose a man like that by your own death, but not by his. – George Bernard Shaw

You cannot learn to skate without making yourself ridiculous – the ice of life is slippery. – George Bernard Shaw

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute. – George Bernard Shaw

When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity. – George Bernard Shaw

Beware of the man who does not return your blow: he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself. – George Bernard Shaw

Every man over forty is a scoundrel. – George Bernard Shaw

It is monstrous that custom should force us to display our faces ostentatiously, however worn and wrinkled and mean they may be, whilst carefully concealing all our other parts, however shapely and well preserved. – George Bernard Shaw

When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So, I did ten times more work. – George Bernard Shaw

Nobody supposes that doctors are less virtuous than judges; but a judge whose salary and reputation depended on whether the verdict was for plaintiff or defendant, prosecutor or prisoner, would be as little trusted as a general in the pay of the enemy. – George Bernard Shaw

Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get. – George Bernard Shaw

The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not. – George Bernard Shaw

The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who commence on themselves. – George Bernard Shaw

Martyrdom, sir, is what these people like: it is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability. – George Bernard Shaw

Independence? That’s middle-class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth. – George Bernard Shaw

He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. – George Bernard Shaw

We educate one another; and we cannot do this if half of us consider the other half not good enough to talk to. – George Bernard Shaw

If you teach a man anything, he will never learn. – George Bernard Shaw

The universal regard for money is the one hopeful fact in our civilization. Money is the most important thing in the world. It represents health, strength, honor, generosity and beauty . . . . Not the least of its virtues is that it destroys basic people as certainly as it fortifies and dignifies noble people. – George Bernard Shaw

Better never than late. – George Bernard Shaw

Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it. – George Bernard Shaw

A man never tells you anything until you contradict him. – George Bernard Shaw

I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation. – George Bernard Shaw

The only sensible person is my tailor. He measures me anew each time he sees me. – George Bernard Shaw

Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness. – George Bernard Shaw

The more I see of the moneyed classes, the more I understand the guillotine. – George Bernard Shaw

I would exchange every painting of Christ for one snapshot. – George Bernard Shaw

Man is the only animal of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid…There is no harm in a well-fed lion. It has no ideals, no sect, no party. – George Bernard Shaw

Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible; and don’t sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon. – George Bernard Shaw

A genius is a person who is seeing further and probing deeper than other people has a different set of ethical valuations from their and has energy enough to give effect to this extra vision and its valuations in whatever manner best suits his or her – George Bernard Shaw

English is the easiest language to speak badly. – George Bernard Shaw

If any religion had a chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam. – George Bernard Shaw

The most tragic thing in the world is a man of genius who is not a man of honor. – George Bernard Shaw

Syllables govern the world. – George Bernard Shaw

It is not enough to know what is good: you must be able to do it. – George Bernard Shaw

In a battle all you need to make you fight is a little hot blood and the knowledge that it’s more dangerous to lose than to win. – George Bernard Shaw

If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth – beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals – would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals? – George Bernard Shaw

Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family.But here again, because there is nothing to sell, there is a very general disposition to regard a married woman’s work as no work at all, and to take it as a matter of course that she should not be paid for it. – George Bernard Shaw

Nothing remains beautiful and interesting except thought, because the thought is the life. – George Bernard Shaw

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. – George Bernard Shaw

Titles distinguish the mediocre, embarrass the superior, and are disgraced by the inferior. – George Bernard Shaw

There is, on the whole, nothing on earth intended for innocent people so horrible as a school. To begin with, it is a prison. But in some respects more cruel than a prison. In a prison, for instance, you are not forced to read books written by the warders and the governor. . . .In the prison you are not forced to sit listening to turnkeys discoursing without charm or interest on subjects that they don’t understand and don’t care about, and therefore incapable of making you understand or care about. In a prison they may torture your body; but they do not torture your brains. – George Bernard Shaw

Never resist temptation: prove all things: hold fast that which is good. – George Bernard Shaw

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw

People exaggerate the value of things they haven’t got everybody worships truth and unselfishness because they have no experience with them – George Bernard Shaw

Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity. – George Bernard Shaw

We are the living graves of murdered beasts. – George Bernard Shaw

Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich-something for nothing. – George Bernard Shaw

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw

If you eliminate smoking and gambling, you will be amazed to find that almost all an Englishman’s pleasures can be, and mostly are, shared by his dog. – George Bernard Shaw

The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people. – George Bernard Shaw

Treat a friend as a person who may someday become your enemy; an enemy as a person who may someday become your friend. – George Bernard Shaw

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. – George Bernard Shaw

I really don’t think I could consent to go to Heaven if I thought there were no animals there. – George Bernard Shaw

I find it easy to forgive the man who invented a devilish instrument like dynamite, but how can one ever forgive the diabolical mind that invented the Nobel Prize in Literature? – George Bernard Shaw

Old men are dangerous: it doesn’t matter to them what is going to happen to the world. – George Bernard Shaw

No man can be a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot. – George Bernard Shaw

The function of the actor is to make the audience imagine for the moment that real things are happening to real people. – George Bernard Shaw

After studying the Hungarian language for years, I can confidently conclude that had Hungarian been my mother tongue, it would have been more precious. Simply because through this extraordinary, ancient and powerful language it is possible to precisely describe the tiniest differences and the most secretive tremors of emotions. – George Bernard Shaw

Doing what needs to be done may not make you happy, but it will make you great. – George Bernard Shaw

Only in books has mankind known perfect truth, love and beauty. – George Bernard Shaw

Grain by grain, a loaf. Stone upon stone, a palace. – George Bernard Shaw

Now that we have learned to fly the air like birds, swim under water like fish, we lack one thing – to learn to live on earth as human beings. – George Bernard Shaw

Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience. – George Bernard Shaw

The businessman – the man to whom age brings golf instead of wisdom. – George Bernard Shaw

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. – George Bernard Shaw

As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death. – George Bernard Shaw

After all, the wrong road always leads somewhere. – George Bernard Shaw

All this struggling and striving to make the world better is a great mistake. Not that it’s wrong to try to improve the world if you know how but simply because struggling and striving are the worst possible ways to go about doing anything! – George Bernard Shaw

Brigham Young lived to become immortal in history as an American Moses by leading his people through the wilderness into an unpromised land. – George Bernard Shaw

If you would stick to the concrete and put your discoveries in the form of entertaining anecdotes about your adventures with women, your conversation would be easier to follow. – George Bernard Shaw

It is easy, terribly easy to shake a man’s faith in himself. To take advantage of that to break a man’s spirit is devil’s work. – George Bernard Shaw

Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. – George Bernard Shaw

If you can’t appreciate what you’ve got, you’d better get what you can appreciate. – George Bernard Shaw

There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot. – George Bernard Shaw

I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capability to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age… I have studied him – the wonderful man, and in my opinion far from being an Anti-Christ he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. – George Bernard Shaw

Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn. – George Bernard Shaw

People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them. – George Bernard Shaw

The right to know is like the right to live. It is fundamental and unconditional in its assumption that knowledge, like life, is a desirable thing. – George Bernard Shaw

Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself. – George Bernard Shaw

Money is the most important thing in the world. It represents health, strength, honor, generosity, and beauty as conspicuously as the want of it represents illness, weakness, disgrace, meanness, and ugliness. – George Bernard Shaw

Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty; what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness. – George Bernard Shaw

A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most. – George Bernard Shaw

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. – George Bernard Shaw

It is the first duty of every man not to be poor. – George Bernard Shaw

A man of genius is not a man who sees more than other men do. On the contrary, it is very often found that he is absentminded andobserves much less than other people…. Why is it that the public have such an exaggerated respect for him–after he is dead? The reason is that the man of genius understands the importance of the few things he sees. – George Bernard Shaw

The truth is the one thing that nobody will believe. – George Bernard Shaw

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. – George Bernard Shaw

A man who loses his money gains, at the least, experience, and sometimes, something better. – George Bernard Shaw

Indifference is the essence of inhumanity. – George Bernard Shaw

Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy. – George Bernard Shaw

I believe in the discipline of silence and could talk for hours about it. – George Bernard Shaw

Capitalism drives the employers to do their worst to the employed, and the employed to do the least for them. And it boasts all the time of the incentive it provides to both to do their best! . . . The reason the Capitalist system has worked so far without jamming for more than a few months at a time, and then only in places, is that it has not yet succeeded in making a conquest of human nature so complete that everybody acts on strictly business principles. – George Bernard Shaw

Remember that the progress of the world depends on your knowing better than your elders. – George Bernard Shaw

Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny; they have only shifted it to another shoulder. – George Bernard Shaw

In an ugly and unhappy world, the richest man can purchase nothing but ugliness and unhappiness. – George Bernard Shaw

Experience fails to teach where there is no desire to learn. – George Bernard Shaw

All progress depends upon the unreasonable person. – George Bernard Shaw

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

Write your Sad times in Sand, Write your Good times in Stone. – George Bernard Shaw

This is the true joy in life: Being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. – George Bernard Shaw

Give women the vote, and in five years there will be a crushing tax on bachelors. – George Bernard Shaw

The thief who is in prison is not necessarily more dishonest than his fellows at large, but mostly one who, through ignorance or stupidity [or racism or poverty! – Draffan] steals in a way that is not customary. He snatches a loaf from the baker’s counter and is promptly run into gaol. Another man snatches bread from the table of hundreds of widows and orphans and similar credulous souls who do not know the ways of company promoters; and, as likely as not, he is run into Parliament. – George Bernard Shaw

No man manages his affairs as well as a tree does. – George Bernard Shaw

He who desires a lifetime of happiness with a beautiful woman desires to enjoy the taste of wine by keeping his mouth always full of it. – George Bernard Shaw

I do not want to make my stomach a graveyard of dead animals. – George Bernard Shaw

Some people look at the world and say ‘why?’ Some people look at the world and say ‘why not?’ – George Bernard Shaw

Don’t lose faith. Promise yourself that you will be a success story, and I promise you that all the forces of the universe will unite to come to your aid; you might not feel today or for a while, but the longer you wait the bigger the prize. – George Bernard Shaw

But to admire a strong person and to live under that strong person’s thumb are two different things. – George Bernard Shaw

All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. – George Bernard Shaw

Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life. – George Bernard Shaw

Socialism is the same as Communism, only better English. – George Bernard Shaw

The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it. – George Bernard Shaw

It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society; it is belief. – George Bernard Shaw

You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not? – George Bernard Shaw

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. – George Bernard Shaw

I like to quote myself frequently and often, it makes me sound much more intelligent than I actually am. – George Bernard Shaw