Lin Yutang (1895-1976)

“The wise man reads both books and life itself.”

“So long as man is man, variety will still be the flavor of life.”

“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.” 

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

“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.”

“Society can exist only on the basis that there is some amount of polished lying and that no one says exactly as he thinks.”

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.”

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live”

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

“I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow and a premonition of death. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. From a knowledge of those limitations and its richness of experience emerges a symphony of colours, richer than all, its green speaking of life and strength, its orange speaking of golden content and its purple of resignation and death.”

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. ”

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”

“The busy man is never wise and the wise man is never busy.”

“If man be sensible and one fine morning, while he is lying in bed,
counts at the tips of his fingers how many things in this life truly will
give him enjoyment, invariably he will find food is the first one.”

“The wise man reads both books and life itself.”

“What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?” 

“Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.”

“This I conceive to be the chemical function of humor: to change the character of our thought.” 

“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. ”

“The purpose of a short story is … that the reader shall come away with the satisfactory feeling that a particular insight into human character has been gained, or that his (or her) knowledge of life has been deepened, or that pity, love or sympathy for a human being is awakened. ” 

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” 

 “If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, then you have learned how to live.” 

“Probably the difference between man and the monkeys is that the monkeys are merely bored, while man has boredom plus imagination.”

“Make no distinctions.”

“Much as I like reasonable persons, I hate completely rational beings. For that reason, I am always scared and ill at ease when I enter a house in which there are no ash trays. ”

“Anyone who wishes to learn to enjoy life must find friends of the same type of temperament, and take as much trouble to gain and keep their friendship as wives take to keep their husbands.”

“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.”

“Art is both creation and recreation. Of the two ideas, I think art as recreation or as sheer play of the human spirit is more important.”

“How many of us are able to distinguish between the odors of noon and midnight, or of winter and summer, or of a windy spell and a still one? If man is so generally less happy in the cities than in the country, it is because all these variations and nuances of sight and smell and sound are less clearly marked and lost in the general monotony of gray walls and cement pavements.”

“The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach.”

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.”

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