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Walter Bagehot's Quotes

Walter Bagehot profile photo

Born: 1970-01-01
Profession: Author
Nation: English
Biography of Walter Bagehot

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No great work has ever been produced except after a long interval of still and musing meditation.

Tags: After, Great, Work

No real English gentleman, in his secret soul, was ever sorry for the death of a political economist.

Tags: Death, Political, Sorry

Poverty is an anomaly to rich people; it is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.

Tags: Poverty, Rich, Why

Progress would not have been the rarity it is if the early food had not been the late poison.

Tags: Food, Late, Progress

So long as war is the main business of nations, temporary despotism - despotism during the campaign - is indispensable.

Tags: Business, Nations, War

The being without an opinion is so painful to human nature that most people will leap to a hasty opinion rather than undergo it.

Tags: Human, Nature, Opinion

The greatest mistake is trying to be more agreeable than you can be.

Tags: Greatest, Mistake, Trying

The habit of common and continuous speech is a symptom of mental deficiency. It proceeds from not knowing what is going on in other people's minds.

Tags: Knowing, Minds, Speech

The real essence of work is concentrated energy.

Tags: Energy, Real, Work

The reason that there are so few good books written is that so few people who write know anything.

Tags: Good, Reason, Write

The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.

Tags: Good, Reason, Why

The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards.

Tags: Deadly, History, Whole

We must not let daylight in upon the magic.

Tags: Daylight, Magic

What impresses men is not mind, but the result of mind.

Tags: Men, Mind, Result

Woman absent is woman dead.

Tags: Absent, Dead, Woman

You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor.

Tags: May, Real, Talk

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality - the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.

Tags: Best, Reality, Times

An influential member of parliament has not only to pay much money to become such, and to give time and labour, he has also to sacrifice his mind too - at least all the characteristics part of it that which is original and most his own.

Tags: Mind, Money, Time

Dullness in matters of government is a good sign, and not a bad one - in particular, dullness in parliamentary government is a test of its excellence, an indication of its success.

Tags: Good, Government, Success

In every particular state of the world, those nations which are strongest tend to prevail over the others; and in certain marked peculiarities the strongest tend to be the best.

Tags: Best, Others, State
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The best reason why Monarchy is a strong government is, that it is an intelligible government. The mass of mankind understand it, and they hardly anywhere in the world understand any other.

Tags: Best, Government, Strong

A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

Tags: Cannot, Great, Life

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

Tags: Cannot, Greatest, Life

A family on the throne is an interesting idea. It brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life.

Tags: Family, Life, Pride

An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.

Tags: Mankind, Quiet, Stay

It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations.

Tags: Good, Vices

A man's mother is his misfortune, but his wife is his fault.

Tags: Fault, Mother, Wife

It is often said that men are ruled by their imaginations; but it would be truer to say they are governed by the weakness of their imaginations.

Tags: Men, Often, Said

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.

Tags: Greatest, Nature, Pain

Life is a school of probability.

Tags: Life, School

A slight daily unconscious luxury is hardly ever wanting to the dwellers in civilization; like the gentle air of a genial climate, it is a perpetual minute enjoyment.

Tags: Air, Daily, Enjoyment

So long as there are earnest believers in the world, they will always wish to punish opinions, even if their judgment tells them it is unwise and their conscience that it is wrong.

Tags: Conscience, Wish, Wrong

Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to drink other men's thoughts, to speak other men's words, to follow other men's habits.

Tags: Men, Thoughts, Words

The best history is but like the art of Rembrandt; it casts a vivid light on certain selected causes, on those which were best and greatest; it leaves all the rest in shadow and unseen.

Tags: Art, Best, History

Nothing is more unpleasant than a virtuous person with a mean mind.

Tags: Mean, Mind, Virtuous

The cure for admiring the House of Lords is to go and look at it.

Tags: Admiring, Cure, House

Writers like teeth are divided into incisors and grinders.

Tags: Divided, Teeth, Writers

An element of exaggeration clings to the popular judgment: great vices are made greater, great virtues greater also; interesting incidents are made more interesting, softer legends more soft.

Tags: Great, Greater, Popular

A constitutional statesman is in general a man of common opinions and uncommon abilities.

Tags: Common, General, Opinions

A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people.

Tags: Big, Less, Meeting

A schoolmaster should have an atmosphere of awe, and walk wonderingly, as if he was amazed at being himself.

Tags: Atmosphere, Himself, Walk

A severe though not unfriendly critic of our institutions said that the cure for admiring the House of Lords was to go and look at it.

Tags: House, Said, Though

An ambassador is not simply an agent; he is also a spectacle.

Tags: Agent, Ambassador, Simply

Conquest is the missionary of valor, and the hard impact of military virtues beats meanness out of the world.

Tags: Hard, Impact, Military

Honor sinks where commerce long prevails.

Tags: Commerce, Honor, Prevails

Men who do not make advances to women are apt to become victims to women who make advances to them.

Tags: Become, Men, Women

What does it mean to be Catholic and not a Catholic? I feel adrift, homeless. My Catholic imagination allows me to see the soul as a lit breath, seeking the divine. It persists.

Tags: Divine, Mean, Soul

Writers are socially observant. We find people endlessly fascinating, and real life is mysterious. Sometimes it's hard to stop staring at the strut and squawk of my fellow man. They can be quite inspiring. Sometimes it's hard to stop talking to them to see what in the world they're thinking.

Tags: Hard, Life, Real

I am politically pro-choice, but personally pro-life. I have my faith but refuse to force it on the world at large - especially this world, so brutal and unjust. I cannot make these wrenching personal life and death decisions for others - nor do I believe they should be made by a church run by childless men.

Tags: Faith, Life, Men

A good novel doesn't just transcend the boundaries of its target market - it knows nothing about target markets.

Tags: Boundaries, Good, Knows

As a writer, my main objective is to tell the story urgently - as if whispering it into one ear - and to know the characters intimately.

Tags: Story, Tell, Writer

Basically if you burst into my office the walls themselves will flutter as if alive - maybe that's the reason for all the wings in 'Pure.'

Tags: Alive, Reason, Themselves

Don't shame the young for releasing their pent-up fear.

Tags: Fear, Shame, Young

I am deeply Catholic and always will be, but I'm no longer a member of the church. I left in 2003 because of the sex abuse scandal.

Tags: Church, Left, Sex

I prefer a cluttered workspace.

Tags: Cluttered, Prefer

I write across genres so I see them, more often, as complementary instead of separated by boundaries.

Tags: Boundaries, Often, Write

I'm a woman, but I've been a sexist, too.

Tags: Sexist, Woman

If I'd learned nothing else, it was this: If you want to be a great writer, be a man. If you can't be a man, write like one.

Tags: Else, Great, Learned

No matter what losses happen in a given season, the Red Sox always have next year.

Tags: Happen, Matter, Year

Red Sox fans have been pushed to the brink over the years, but that's how faith grows stronger.

Tags: Faith, Fans, Stronger

The basic rule of storytelling is 'show, don't tell.'

Tags: Rule, Show, Tell

While I was in college becoming a good Catholic I was also becoming a writer - one haunted by Catholicism.

Tags: College, Good, While

Writers aren't born properly labeled so it is hard to know one when one appears.

Tags: Born, Hard, Writers

Writing is my obsession, my passion. My relationship with it is one of the most complex and agonizing and richly vexing that I have in my life.

Tags: Life, Passion, Writing

Writing stories is the habit of lying put to good use.

Tags: Good, Put, Writing

And I know I'm supposed to feel guilty for wanting people to buy my books... and books in general? Novels and poetry, they belong to the realm of art. How dirty of us to try to hawk art! But, after a decade of hand-wringing and apologies, I can't quite muster the guilt anymore.

Tags: After, Art, Poetry

I always think I know the way a novel will go. I write maps on oversized art pads like the kind I carried around in college when I was earnest about drawing. I need to have some idea of the shape of the novel, where its headed, so that I can proceed with confidence. But the truth is my characters start doing and saying things I don't expect.

Tags: Art, Confidence, Truth

I didn't start writing so that I could more deeply know myself. I was bored of myself, my life, my childhood, my hometown. I started writing as a way to know others, to get away from myself.

Tags: Bored, Life, Writing

I'm a writer of faith who worries about the intolerance of religion. I look at the past and fear we haven't learned from it. I believe that humanity is capable of evil as well as great acts of courage and goodness. I have hope. Deep down, I believe in the human spirit, although sometimes that belief is shaken.

Tags: Faith, Great, Religion

I'm not the kind of writer who's able to block out the world around me. I'm mindful of our own haves and have-nots, how our culture often blames and punishes the have-nots. I worry about our precarious economic and political climate.

Tags: Able, Political, Worry

It's not that I bounce ideas off of my children as much as it is that having children has had a profound effect on the way I see the world. They have mined my soul. They've made me a better person and therefore a more empathetic writer.

Tags: Children, Off, Soul

Our imaginations are strong as children. Sometimes they get shoved aside, these imaginations. They get dusty and mildewed with age. The imagination is a muscle that has to be put to use or it shrivels.

Tags: Age, Children, Strong

The truth is that for those 86 long years when the Red Sox went without a World Series win, fans were not only in a recession, but trapped in a longstanding, deeply entrenched sports depression.

Tags: Depression, Sports, Truth
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