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Quotes of the day: Rex Stout

Published Sunday, December 01, 2013 @ 6:41 AM EST
Dec 01 2013

(Note: Today is also the birthday of Woody Allen.)

Rex Todhunter Stout (December 1, 1886 - October 27, 1975) was an American writer noted for his detective fiction. Stout is best known as the creator of the larger-than-life fictional detective Nero Wolfe, described by reviewer Will Cuppy as "that Falstaff of detectives.". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A lie isn't a lie if it's in reply to a question the questioner has no right to ask.

A man may debar nonsense from his library of reason, but not from the arena of his impulses.

A person who does not read cannot think. He may have good mental processes, but he has nothing to think about.

A pessimist gets nothing but pleasant surprises, an optimist nothing but unpleasant.

Any spoke will lead an ant to the hub.

As I understand it, a born executive is a guy who, when anything difficult or unexpected happens, yells for somebody to come and help him.

Dignities are like faces; no two are the same.

Genius is fine for the ignition spark, but to get there someone has to see that the radiator doesn't leak and no tire is flat.

I can dodge folly without backing into fear.

I cannot agree that mountain climbing is merely one manifestation of man's spiritual aspirations. I think instead it is a hysterical paroxysm of his infantile vanity.

I don't answer questions containing two or more unsupported assumptions.

I don't approve of open fires. You can't think, or talk or even make love in front of a fireplace. All you can do is stare at it.

I try to know what I need to know. I make sure to know what I want to know.

In a world that operates largely at random, coincidences are to be expected, but any one of them must always be mistrusted.

No one likes the authority of superior intellect.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.

One trouble with living beyond your deserved number of years is that there's always some reason to live another year.

The brain can be hoodwinked but not the stomach.

The minute those two little particles inside a woman's womb have joined together, billions of decisions have been made. A thing like that has to come from entropy.

The more you put in your brain, the more it will hold- if you have one.

There are only two kinds of books which you can write and be pretty sure you're going to make a living- cook books and detective stories.

There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.

There is only one object on earth that frightens me: a physicist working on a new trick.

To say that man is a reasoning animal is a very different thing than to say that most of man's decisions are based on his rational process. That I don't believe at all.

War doesn't mature men; it merely pickles them in the brine of disgust and dread.

We are all vainer of our luck than our merits.

What do I believe in? Belief means faith, and there's only one damn thing in the world I have any faith in. That's the idea of American democracy, because it seems to me so obvious that that's the only sensible way to run human affairs.

What good is an obscenity trial except to popularize literature?

When people's brains stop working, just go somewhere else.

Women don't require motives that are comprehensible to my intellectual processes.

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