Lin Yutang


Chinese Writer and Inventor

Author Quotes

From the Taoist point of view, an educated man is one who believes he has not succeeded when he has, but he is not so sure he has failed when he fails, while the mark of the half-educated man is his assumptions that his outward successes and failures are absolute and real.

For the Chinese the end of life lies in the enjoyment of a simple life, especially the family life, and in harmonious social relationships. It is so brilliantly simple.

All birds are satisfied with their lives; only man is an exception.

The age we are living in... there is little evidence of regeneration and a great deal of decay.

Disagreement is not only profitable, but necessary to thinking.

Common sense is so uncommon.

The Sage talks about life, as he is directly aware of it; the Talented Ones talk about the Sage's words and the stupid ones argue about the words of the Talented Ones.

Human dignity... consists of four characteristics of the scamp . . . They are: a playful curiosity, a capacity for dreams, a sense of humor to correct those dreams, and finally a certain waywardness and incalculability of behavior.

I call no man wise until he has made the progress from the wisdom of knowledge to the wisdom of foolishness.

The question that faces every man born into this world is not what should be his purpose, which he should set about to achieve, but just what to do with life? The answer, that he should order his life so that he can find the greatest happiness in it, is more a practical question, similar to that of how a man should spend his weekend, then a metaphysical proposition as to what is the mystic purpose of his life in the scheme of the universe.

While in the West the insane are so many that they are put in an asylum, in China the insane are so unusual that we worship them, as anybody who has a knowledge of Chinese literature will testify.

Simplicity is the outward sign and symbol of depth of thought.

Only he who handles his ideas lightly is master of his ideas, and only he who is master of his ideas is not enslaved by them.

No child is born with a really cold heart, and it is only in proportion as we lose that youthful heart that we lose the inner warmth in ourselves.

Neckties strangle clear thinking.

Instead of holding on to the Biblical view that we are made in the image of God, we come to realize that we are made in the image of the monkey.

Today we are afraid of simple words like goodness and mercy and kindness. We don't believe in the good old words because we don't believe in good old values anymore. And that's why the world is sick.

Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.

I feel, like all modern Americans, no consciousness of sin and simply do not believe in it. All I know is that if God loves me only half as much as my mother does, he will not send me to Hell. That is a final fact of my inner consciousness, and for no religion could I deny its truth.

The three great American vices seem to be efficiency, punctuality, and the desire for achievement and success. They are the things that make the Americans so unhappy and so nervous.

It is not so much what you believe in that matters, as the way in which you believe it and proceed to translate that belief into action.

A vague uncritical idealism always lends itself to ridicule and too much of it might be a danger to mankind, leading it round in a futile wild-goose chase for imaginary ideals.

It is not when he is working in his office but when he is lying idly on the sand that his soul utters, "Life is beautiful."

When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.

There is so much to love and to admire in this life that it is an act of ingratitude not to be happy and content in this existence.

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Chinese Writer and Inventor