- To succeed in life you need two things: ignorance and confidence.
- The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.
- Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
- You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
- If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
- Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.
- My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
Some quotes from Mr. Twain, though, leave me going, "Hmmm." My commentary in parentheses:
- Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. (How I love the first two, but best wake that conscience up.)
- Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. (Nah -- you wouldn't like the company. I don't care how many of them were your friends on Earth.)
- If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first. (I know "do the biggest job first" is common advice, but I do the piddly stuff first and then tackle the big one. I like knowing there's not a bunch more to do when I get done with it.)
- Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. (Okay, granted. Don't follow the majority blindly. But I've had too much experience with two, five, or ten heads being better than one to swallow this idea whole.)
At one time or another, you've probably part of discussions of what makes humor humorous. (My top answer is surprise.) Mark Twain's quotes remind me of another quality that makes something funny -- for me, anyway: I have to buy into the underlying point or message of the humor. I know "The lack of money is the root of all evil" is supposed to be funny, and on a very surface level it is. I would laugh if someone said it. But since I don't believe that's true (and since I suspect MT might have the original quote wrong, too), the statement loses some of its intended humorous impact.
What do you think of these? Are there any you'd switch to the opposite list?