99+ Best Jack London Quotes: Exclusive Selection

John Griffith London was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first writers to become a worldwide celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing. Profoundly inspirational Jack London quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for famous quotes from greatest authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from James Joyce, powerful John Steinbeck quotes and famous Upton Sinclair quotes.

Famous Jack London Quotes

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well. – Jack London

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog. – Jack London

And at the instant he knew, he ceased to know. – Jack London

On the sled, in the box, lay a third man whose toil was over, a man whom the Wild had conquered and beaten down until he would never move nor struggle again. It is not the way of the Wild to like movement. Life is an offense to it, for life is movement; and the Wild aims always to destroy movement. – Jack London

You look back and see how hard you worked and how poor you were, and how desperately anxious you were to succeed, and all you can remember is how happy you were. – Jack London

Pursuit and possession are accompanied by states of consciousness so wide apart that they can never be united. – Jack London

I remembered my days and nights of sunshine and starshine, where life was all a wild sweet wonder, a spiritual paradise of unselfish adventure and ethical romance. And I saw before me, ever blazing and burning, the Holy Grail. – Jack London

He was always striving to attain it. The life that was so swiftly expanding within him, urged him continually toward the wall of light. The life that was within him knew that it was the one way out, the way he was predestined to tread. – Jack London

Life? Bah! It has no value. Of cheap things it is the cheapest. Everywhere it goes begging. Nature spills it out with a lavish hand. Where there is room for one life, she sows a thousand lives, and its life eats life till the strongest and most piggish life is left. – Jack London

Out of this pack-persecution he learned two important things: how to take care of himself in a mass-fight against him; and how, on a single dog, to inflict the greatest amount of damage in the briefest space of time. – Jack London

Life is so short. I would rather sing one song than interpret the thousand. – Jack London

The marriage tie becomes possessed of a history and takes to itself traditions. This history and these traditions form a great fund, to which changing conditions and growing imagination constantly add. And the traditions, more especially, bear heavily upon the individual, overmastering his natural expression of the love instinct and forcing him to an artificial expression of that love instinct. He loves, not as his savage forbears loved, but as his group loves. – Jack London

If cash comes with fame, come fame; if cash comes without fame, come cash. – Jack London

All my life I have had an awareness of other times and places. I have been aware of other persons in me. Oh, and trust me, so have you, my reader that is to be. Read back into your childhood, and this sense of awareness I speak of will be remembered as an experience of childhood. You were then not fixed, not crystallized. You were plastic, a soul in flux, a consciousness and an identity in the process of forming–ay, of forming and forgetting. – Jack London

A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of laughter more terrible than any sadness-a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the Sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-hearted Northland Wild. – Jack London

Stupid women, and all are stupid, think the first winning of the man the final victory. Then they settle down and grow fat, and stale, and dead, and heartbroken. Alas, they are so stupid. But you, little infant-woman with your first victory, you must make your love-life an unending chain of victories. Each day you must win your man again. And when you have won the last victory, when you can find no more to win, then ends love. Finis is written, and your man wanders in strange gardens. – Jack London

His bondage had softened him. Irresponsibility had weakened him. He had forgotten how to shift for himself. The night yawned about him. – Jack London

It is so much easier to live placidly and complacently. Of course, to live placidly and complacently is not to live at all. – Jack London

And God knows we are sensitive to the suffering that has sometimes broken loose to come billowing forth from your appendages like the pungent vapors of whales – often it appears that in this life of experience and accommodation we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. But Sissy hold on! – Jack London

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. – Jack London

Food and fire, protection and companionship, were some of the things he received from the god. In return, he guarded the god’s property, defended his body, worked for him, and obeyed him. – Jack London

I was carrying a beautiful alcoholic conflagration around with me. The thing fed on its own heat and flamed the fiercer. There was no time, in all my waking time, that I didn’t want a drink. I began to anticipate the completion of my daily thousand words by taking a drink when only five hundred words were written. It was not long until I prefaced the beginning of the thousand words with a drink. – Jack London

The human race is doomed to sink back farther and farther into the primitive night ere again it begins its bloody climb upward to civilization. – Jack London

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. – Jack London

Fear urged him to go back, but growth drove him on. – Jack London

Thus it was that in obedience to the law laid down by his mother, and in obedience to the law of that unknown and nameless thing, fear, he kept away from the mouth of the cave. – Jack London

The Stone the Builders Rejected. – Jack London

He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive. – Jack London

The ghostly winter silence had given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life. – Jack London

I am a hopeless materialist. I see the soul as nothing else than the sim of activities of the organism plus personal habits – plus inherited habits, memories, experiences, of the organism. I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed. – Jack London

I do not live for what the world thinks of me, but for what I think of myself. – Jack London

It is good that man should accept at face value the cheats of sense and snares of flesh, and through the fogs of sentiency pursue the lures and lies of passion. – Jack London

And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. The domesticated generations fell from him. In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down. – Jack London

The most beautiful stories always start with wreckage. – Jack London

This expression of abandon and surrender, of absolute trust, he reserved for the master alone. – Jack London

Strength is an empty shell. – Jack London

The grapes on a score of rolling hills are red with autumn flame. Across Sonoma Mountain wisps of sea fog are stealing. The afternoon sun smoulders in the drowsy sky. I have everything to make me glad I am alive. I am filled with dreams and mysteries. I am all sun and air and sparkle. I am vitalized, organic. – Jack London

Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past. – Jack London

The great task demanded of man is reproduction. He is urged by passion to perform this task. Passion, working through the imagination, produces love. Passion is the impelling factor, imagination the disturbing factor; and the disturbance of passion by imagination produces love. – Jack London

He had come to know quite thoroughly the world in which he lived. His outlook was bleak and materialistic. The world as he saw it was a fierce and brutal world, a world without warmth, a world in which caresses and affection and the bright sweetness of spirit did not exist. – Jack London

The pitch to which he was aroused was tremendous. All the fighting blood of his breed was up in him and surging through him. This was living., though he did not know it. He was realizing his own meaning in the world; he was doing that for which he was made…. He was justifying his existence, than which life can do no greater; for life achieves its summit when it does to the uttermost that which it was equipped to do. – Jack London

His conclusion was that things were not always what they appeared to be. The cub’s fear of the unknown was an inherited distrust, and it had now been strengthened by experience. Thenceforth, in the nature of things, he would possess an abiding distrust of appearances. – Jack London

Age is never so old as youth would measure it. – Jack London

With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of life, the articulate travail of existence. It was an old song, old as the breed itself–one of the first songs of the younger world in a day when songs were sad. – Jack London

Love is the sum of all the arts, as it is the reason for their existence. – Jack London

A good soldier is a blind, heartless, soulless, murderous machine. He is not a man. His is not a brute, for brutes kill only in self-defense. All that is human in him, all that is divine in him, all that constitutes the man has been sworn away when he took the enlistment roll. His mind, his conscience, aye, his very soul, are in the keeping of his officer. No man can fall lower than a soldier-it is a depth beneath which we cannot go. – Jack London

Life, in a sense, is living and surviving. And all that makes for living and surviving is good. He who follows the fact cannot go astray, while he who has no reverence for the fact wanders afar. – Jack London

My life shall be free and broad and great, and I will not be the slave to the sense delights which chained my ancient ancestry. I reject the heritage. I break the entail. And who are you to say I am unwise? – Jack London

I early learned that there were two natures in me. This caused me a great deal of trouble, till I worked out a philosophy of life and struck a compromise between the flesh and the spirit. Too great an ascendancy of either was to be abnormal, and since normality is almost a fetish of mine, I finally succeeded in balancing both natures. Ordinarily they are at equilibrium; yet as frequently as one is permitted to run rampant, so is the other. I have small regard for an utter brute or for an utter saint. – Jack London

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! Often, before I learned, did I wonder whence came the multitudes of pictures that thronged my dreams; for they were pictures the like of which I had never seen in real wake-a-day life. They tormented my childhood, making of my dreams a procession of nightmares and a little later convincing me that I was different from my kind, a creature unnatural and accursed. – Jack London

I’d rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet. – Jack London

The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. – Jack London

No; I did not hate him. The word is too weak. There is no word in the language strong enough to describe my feelings. I can say only that I knew the gnawing of a desire for vengeance on him that was a pain in itself and that exceeded all the bounds of language. – Jack London

There are things greater than our wisdom, beyond our justice. The right and wrong of this we cannot say, and it is not for us to judge. – Jack London

Love cannot in its very nature be peaceful or content. It is a restlessness, an unsatisfaction. I can grant a lasting love just as I can grant a lasting unsatisfaction; but the lasting love cannot be coupled with possession, for love is pain and desire and possession is easement and fulfilment. – Jack London

He was a silent fury who no torment could tame. – Jack London

Life creeps slowly upward. When some forgotten inventor of the older world smote his rival or enemy with a branch of wood and found that it was good and thereafter made a practice of smiting rivals and enemies with branches of wood, then, and on that day, artificiality may be said to have begun. Then, and on that day, was begun a revolution destined to change the history of life. Then, and on that day, was laid the cornerstone of that most tremendous of artifices, CIVILIZATION! – Jack London

Men do not knowingly drink for the effect alcohol produces on the body. What they drink for is the brain-effect; and if it must come through the body, so much the worse for the body. – Jack London

Avoid the unhappy ending, the harsh, the brutal, the tragic, the horrible — if you care to see in print things you write. (In this connection don’t do as I do but do as I say. – Jack London

To have a full stomach, to daze lazily in the sunshine–such things were remuneration in full for his adors and toils, while his ardors and toils were in themselves self-remunerative. They were expressions of life, and life is always happy when it is expressing itself. – Jack London

Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time. – Jack London

Ever bike? Now that’s something that makes life worth living! – Jack London

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. – Jack London

They were firemakers! They were gods! [humans] – Jack London

Socialism, when the last word is said, is merely a new economic and political system whereby more men can get food to eat. – Jack London

The Wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept. – Jack London

You stand on dead men’s legs. You’ve never had any of your own. You couldn’t walk alone between two sunrises and hustle the meat for your belly – Jack London

You have grudged the very fire in your house because the wood cost overmuch! he cried. You have grudged life. To live cost overmuch, and you have refused to pay the price. Your life has been like a cabin where the fire is out and there are no blankets on the floor. He signaled to a slave to fill his glass, which he held aloft. But I have lived. And I have been warm with life as you have never been warm. It is true, you shall live long. But the longest nights are the cold nights when a man shivers and lies awake. My nights have been short, but I have slept warm – Jack London

Desire is a pain which seeks easement through possession. – Jack London

Man is man because he chanced to develop intelligence instead of instinct; otherwise he would to this day have remained among the anthropoid apes. He has turned away from nature, become unnatural, as it were, disliked the earth upon which he found himself, and changed the face of it somewhat to his liking. – Jack London

There’s only one way to make a beginning, and that is to begin; and begin with hard work, and patience, prepared for all the disappoint­ment s. – Jack London

He was not immoral, but merely unmoral. – Jack London

I am first of all a white man, and only then a socialist. – Jack London

She was thrilling to a desire that urged her to go forward, to be in closer to that fire, to be squabbling with the dogs, and to be avoiding and dodging the stumbling feet of men. – Jack London

He became quicker of movement than the other dogs, swifter of foot, craftier, deadlier, more lithe, more lean with ironlike muscle and sinew, more enduring, more cruel more ferocious, and more intelligent. He had to become all these things; else he would not have held his own nor survived the hostile environment in which he found himself. – Jack London

Of her own experience she had no memory of the thing happening; but in her instinct, which was the experience of all mothers of wolves, there lurked a memory of fathers that had eaten their new-born and helpless progeny. – Jack London

Go strip off your clothes that are a nuisance in this mellow clime. Get in and wrestle with the sea; wing your heels with the skill and power that reside in you, hit the sea’s breakers, master them, and ride upon their backs as a king should. – Jack London

He was justifying his existence, then which life can do no greater; for life achieves its summit when it does to the uttermost that which it was equipped to do. – Jack London

He had no conscious knowledge of death, but like every animal of the Wild, he possessed the instinct of death. To him it stood as the greatest of hurts. It was the very essence of the unknown; it was the sum of the terrors of the unknown, the one culminating and unthinkable catastrophe that could happen to him, about which he knew nothing and about which he feared everything. – Jack London

There are, broadly speaking, two types of drinkers. There is the man whom we all know, stupid, unimaginative, whose brain is bitten numbly by numb maggots; who walks generously with wide-spread, tentative legs, falls frequently in the gutter, and who sees, in the extremity of his ecstasy, blue mice and pink elephants…. The other type of drinker has imagination, vision. Even when most pleasantly jingled, he walks straight and naturally, never staggers nor falls, and knows just where he is and what he is doing. It is not his body but his brain that is drunken. – Jack London

So that was the way. No fair play. Once down, that was the end of you. – Jack London

When, on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolf-like, it was his ancestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him. And his cadences were their cadences, the cadences which voiced their woe and what to them was the meaning of the stillness, and the cold, and dark. – Jack London

But under it all they were men, penetrating the land of desolation and mockery and silence, puny adventurers bent on colossal adventure, pitting themselves against the might of a world as remote and alien and pulseless as the abysses of space. – Jack London

The hand descended. Nearer and nearer it came. It touched the ends of his upstanding hair. He shrank down under it. It followed down after him, pressing more closely against him. Shrinking, almost shivering. He still managed to hold himself together. It was a torment, this hand that touched him and violated his instinct. He could not forget in a day all the evil that had been wrought him at the hands of men. – Jack London

They were not half living, or quarter living. They were simply so many bags of bones in which sparks of life fluttered faintly. – Jack London

The function of man is to live, not to exist. – Jack London

If a company is distributing images and video then obviously they need bandwidth solutions. But if they are looking to the mass market then they must develop WAP sites. – Jack London

It was the worst hurt he had ever known. – Jack London

It’s better to stand by someone’s side than by yourself – Jack London

Do you know the only value life has is what life puts upon itself? And it is of course overestimated, for it is of necessity prejudiced in its own favour. Take that man I had aloft. He held on as if he were a precious thing, a treasure beyond diamonds of rubies. To you? No. To me? Not at all. To himself? Yes. But I do not accept his estimate. He sadly overrates himself. There is plenty more life demanding to be born. Had he fallen and dripped his brains upon the deck like honey from the comb, there would have been no loss to the world. The supply is too large. – Jack London

Somehow, the love of the islands, like the love of a woman, just happens. One cannot determine in advance to love a particular woman, nor can one so determine to love Hawaii. – Jack London

It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-hearted Northland Wild. (Ch.1) – Jack London

A man with a club is a law-maker. – Jack London

The scab is a traitor to his God, his mother, and his class. – Jack London

Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear? – Jack London

Limited minds can recognize limitations only in others. – Jack London

But I am I. And I won’t subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind – Jack London

Men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost. – Jack London

I was five years old the first time I got drunk. – Jack London

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