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Quotes of the day: Elbert Hubbard

Published Wednesday, May 07, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 07 2014

Elbert Green Hubbard (June 19, 1856 – May 7, 1915) was an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher. Raised in Hudson, Illinois, he met early success as a traveling salesman with the Larkin soap company. Today Hubbard is mostly known as the founder of the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora, New York, an influential exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Among his many publications were the nine-volume work Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great and the short story A Message to Garcia. He and his second wife, Alice Moore Hubbard, died aboard the RMS Lusitania, which was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A conservative is a man who is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run.

A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in the experience.

A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.

A man is as good as he has to be, and a woman is as bad as she dares.

A man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them.

A mystic is a person who is puzzled before the obvious but who understands the nonexistent.

A pessimist is a man who has been compelled to live with an optimist.

All good men are Anarchists.

An idea that is not dangerous is not worthy of being called an idea at all.

Anyone who idolizes you is going to hate you when he discovers that you are fallible. He never forgives. He has deceived himself, and he blames you for it.

Do not dump your woes upon people- keep the sad story of your life to yourself. Troubles grow by recounting them.

Do not take life too seriously- you will never get out of it alive.

Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing, and you'll never be criticized.

Editor: a person employed on a newspaper whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes a day. Wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit.

Every man should have a college education in order to show him how little the thing is really worth. The intellectual kings of the earth have seldom been college-bred.

Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes.

Genius is often only the power of making continuous efforts.

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.

God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars.

He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.

He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.

I am not sure just what the unpardonable sin is, but I believe it is a disposition to evade the payment of small bills.

I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.

If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all?

If pleasures are greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of trouble.

If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.

If there is any better way to teach virtue than by practicing it, I do not know it.

If you can't answer a man's argument, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.

If you want work well done, select a busy man‚ the other kind has no time.

It does not take much strength to do things, but it takes a great deal of strength to decide what to do.

It is easy to get everything you want, provided that you first learn to do without the things you can not get.

Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.

Never explain- your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyhow.

No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.

Our admiration is so given to dead martyrs that we have little time for living heroes.

Perfume: Any smell that is used to drown a worse one.

Philosophy rests on a proposition that whatever is is right. Preaching begins by assuming that whatever is is wrong.

Piety is the tinfoil of pretense.

Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them.

So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private citizens will occasionally kill theirs.

The great Big Black Things that have loomed against the horizon of my life, threatening to devour me, simply loomed and nothing more. The things that have really made me miss my train have always been sweet, soft, pretty, pleasant things of which I was not in the least afraid.

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

The love we give away is the only love we keep.

The man who has no problems is out of the game.

The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence.

The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia.

The recipe for perpetual ignorance is to be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.

There is no such thing as success in a bad business.

There is something that is much more scarce, something finer far, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.

To remain on earth you must be useful, otherwise Nature regards you as old metal, and is only watching for a chance to melt you over.

We are punished by our sins, not for them.

Wealth: A cunning device of Fate whereby men are made captive, and burdened with responsibilites from which only Death can file their fetters.


I can not say specifically where your father and Mrs. Hubbard were when the torpedoes hit, but I can tell you just what happened after that. They emerged from their room, which was on the port side of the vessel, and came on to the boat-deck.

Neither appeared perturbed in the least. Your father and Mrs. Hubbard linked arms- the fashion in which they always walked the deck- and stood apparently wondering what to do. I passed him with a baby which I was taking to a lifeboat when he said, "Well, Jack, they have got us. They are a damn sight worse than I ever thought they were."

They did not move very far away from where they originally stood. As I moved to the other side of the ship, in preparation for a jump when the right moment came, I called to him, "What are you going to do?" and he just shook his head, while Mrs. Hubbard smiled and said, "There does not seem to be anything to do."

The expression seemed to produce action on the part of your father, for then he did one of the most dramatic things I ever saw done. He simply turned with Mrs. Hubbard and entered a room on the top deck, the door of which was open, and closed it behind him.

It was apparent that his idea was that they should die together, and not risk being parted on going into the water.

-Ernest C. Cowper, a survivor of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, in a letter to Hubbard's son Elbert Hubbard II (March 12, 1916), published in Selected Writings of Elbert Hubbard: His Mintage of Wisdom, Coined from a Life of Love, Laughter and Work (1922).

Categories: Elbert Hubbard, Quotes of the day


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