Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Elbert Hubbard

1856 – 1915 CE

Traveling soap company salesman who invented the “leave on trial” technique, philosopher, artist, trouble-maker and writer; Hubbard identified with the Thoreau, Whitman, Tolstoy lineage and distilled this philosophy in his famous essay, A Message to Garcia. Often mocked for "selling out,” convicted for circulating "obscene" material but pardoned by Woodrow Wilson; he seemed to live his famous adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” He blended philosophy and business, idealism and practicality stretching into the wisdom beyond words. Survivor of the Titanic sinking, he died along with his wife in stoic acceptance on a different ship sunk by a German submarine.

Eras

Sources

A Message to Garcia and Thirteen Other Things

Unlisted Sources

A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

A Thousand and One Epigrams

The Note Book, 1927

Quotes by Elbert Hubbard (61 quotes)

“The line between failure and success is so fine. . . that we are often on the line and do not know it.”

Chapters: 2. The Wordless Teachings

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

Chapters: 23. Nothing and Not

Themes: Appreciation

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

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

Themes: Strategy

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“The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Themes: Teachers

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“Constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping stones to genius.”

Chapters: 43. No Effort, No Trace

Themes: Mistakes

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“Little minds are interested in the extraordinary; great minds in the commonplace.”

Chapters: 45. Complete Perfection

Themes: Ordinary Mind

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“It is easy to get everything you want, provided you first learn to do without the things you cannot get.”

Chapters: 46. Enough

Themes: Letting Go

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

Chapters: 47. Effortless Success

Themes: Mistakes

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“I do not read a book; I hold a conversation with the author.”

Chapters: 48. Unlearning

Themes: Books

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

Chapters: 56. One with the Dust

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“It's a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.”

Chapters: 62. Basic Goodness

Themes: Skillful Means

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“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”

Chapters: 63. Easy as Hard

Themes: Death and Dying

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“The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

Themes: Education

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“Men are only as great as they are kind and the only sin is to be unkind.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

Themes: Kindness

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“Never explain―your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.”

Chapters: 70. Inscrutable

Themes: Inscrutable

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“A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness.”

Chapters: 79. No Demands

Themes: Memory Forget

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

Chapters: 80. A Golden Age

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“We awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold toward them.”

Chapters: 81. Journey Without Goal

Themes: Projection

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“"God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or degrees – but for scars."”

from A Message to Garcia and Thirteen Other Things

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society

Themes: Suffering

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“All good men are Anarchists… all just men are Anarchists. Jesus was an Anarchist.”

from A Message to Garcia and Thirteen Other Things

Chapters: 57. Wu Wei

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“Folks who never do any more than they get paid for, never get paid for any more than they do.”

Chapters: 79. No Demands

Themes: Livelihood

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“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

Themes: Failure

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“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.”

Themes: Confidence

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“This will never be a civilized country until we expend more money for books than we do for chewing gum.”

Themes: Civilization

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“Optimism is a kind of heart stimulant—the digitalis of failure.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

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“A pessimist is a person who has been compelled to live with an optimist.”

from The Note Book, 1927

Themes: Paradox

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“This is a busy world, and no one has time to sit right down and hate you. The only enemies we have are those we conjure up ourselves. The idea that we have enemies is only egotism gone to seed.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

Themes: Hate Conflict

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“If you lend a willing ear to someone's troubles, you make them your own. You do not lessen theirs.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

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“Judges demand precedent to keep in line with public opinion. But since public opinion is constantly changing, precedent is the one thing they should avoid.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

Themes: Law and Order

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“When we remember that some of the best and noblest men that ever lived have been reviled, indicted, and executed by so-called good men, how can we believe stories that revile and discredit anyone?”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

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“Follow your spontaneous inspiration above all gaining ideas. The world will either honor or hate you—the difference is small.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

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“A woman can defend her virtue from men much more easily than she can protect her reputation from women.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

Themes: Competition

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“Punishment should fit the criminal, not the crime.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

Themes: Punishment

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“Those who say, 'Money isn't everything' probably can't pay their rent.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

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“This will never be a civilized country until we spend more money for books than we do for chewing gum.”

Themes: Books

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“A man alone is only half a man—it takes both a man and a woman to complete the circuit... sublime thoughts and great deeds are the children of married minds.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

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“Success is a constant sense of discontent broken by brief periods of satisfaction from a challenging accomplishment.”

from A Thosand and One Epigrams, 1911

Themes: Success

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“Men do not lack strength; they lack the will to concentrate and act... Success is voltage under control”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Inspiration

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“Abolish fear and you can accomplish whatever your wish.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Fear

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“the worst part about making a soldier of a man is not that a soldier kills, but that the soldier loses his own soul.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

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“the aggressor is overcome by the poison of his pride; victory is only another name for defeat; but the Spirit of Gentleness and Truth is eternal.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

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“The Divine Economy is automatic and very simple: we receive only that which we give.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Economics

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“The goal of evolution is self-conquest.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Chapters: 8. The Highest Realization

Themes: Evolution

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“Most poets die young, not because the gods especially love them, but because life is a bank account and to wipe out our balance is to have your checks bounce. The excesses of youth are drafts payable at maturity.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

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

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Pleasure

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“All wrong recoils upon the doer, and the man who makes wrong statements about others is himself to be pitied, not the man he vilifies.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

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“of all the illusions that beset mankind, none is quite so curious a that tendency to suppose that we are mentally and morally superior to those who differ from us in opinion.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Illusion

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“Men who are threatened usually die of old age.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Old Age

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“The original mind is what counts—most people are merely echoes.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Ordinary Mind

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“The man who makes the deepest notches on the Stick of Time is not usually preceded by a brass band.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Anonymity

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“Great and wise men have ever loved laughter. The vain, the ignorant, the dishonest, the pretentious, alone have dreaded or despised it.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

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“Get rid of your regrets. You are what you are because of what you've experienced. And rightly understood and accepted, all experiences are good, bitter ones best of all.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

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“There is a whole round of maladies that can be cured by a new thought, a new sensation, new surroundings. A little excitement or a new experience often clears the cobwebs from the brain.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Medicine

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“To civilize mankind: make marriage difficult and divorce easy.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Marriage

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“There was one who thought himself above me, and he was above me until he had that thought.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

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“Wisdom does not consist in banishing passion, but in purifying it.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Desire

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“New Thought offers you no promise of paradise or eternal bliss... All it offers is unending work, constant effort, new difficulties; beyond each success is a new trial.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Creativity

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“God looked upon His work and saw that it was good. That is where the clergy take issue with Him.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Basic Goodness

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“Civilization: the matter of wearing your shirt in the confines of your trousers.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Conformity

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“If your religion does not change you, then you had better change your religion.”

from A Thousand and One Epigrams

Themes: Religion

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“Polygamy: an endeavor to get more out of life than there is in it.”

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