The Best Walden Quotes

I like quotes, a lot. Quotes are impressive for their ability to convey meaning concisely and profoundly. One of my favorite American authors for this ability is Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was ahead of his time as a thinker and writer and is one of my great inspirations for minimalism.

So when I recenrly reread Walden: Introduction and Annotations by Bill McKibben (Concord Library), I jotted down some of my favorite quotes and though I would share them. Thoreau gets at the essence of life, at the real base of it and help remind us of what truly matters.  These quotes are the ones that be remind me of that.

The Quotes

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

"It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be a falsehood tomorrow."

"It would be some advantage to live a primitive and frontier life, though in the midst of an outward civilization, if only to learn what are the gross necessaries of life and what methods have been taken to obtain them."

"There is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience."

"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes."

"I am wont to think that men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men, the former are so much the freer."

"My greatest skills has been to want but little"

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone"

"I wanted to live deep and such out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life"

"It is a surprising and memorable, as well as a valuable experience to be lost in the woods any time."

"I was seized and put into jail, because, as I have elsewhere related, I did not pay a tax to, or recognize the authority of, the State which buys and sells men, women, and children, like cattle, at the door of its senate-house."

"No man ever followed his genius till it misled him"

"At the same time that we are earnest to explore  and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable."

"The universe is wider than our views of it."

"I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now."

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will  meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

"In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

"Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts."

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth."

"Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to down. The sun is but a morning star."