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The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,298 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Renowned as a novelist, journalist, and humorist, Mark Twain is not only one of the most widely read and admired American writers, he is also among the most quoted. Wit and repartee permeate his work — from the short, light pieces to his great novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and even later, in dark meditations on the human condition where his humor takes on a cynical, ...more
softcover, thrift, 64 pages
Published December 23rd 1998 by Dover Publications (first published September 1987)
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,298 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: no one ho has a chance to find a better collection of Mark Twain's great wit and wisdom
Shelves: sarcasm
This little booklet is, definitely, not the best of Mark Twain's great wit and wisdom. It seems to be scratched-together delightful stuff that is not under someone else's copyright, watered down with not-so-impressive notes that have not been published before, probably for good reason.

I adore Mark Twain. And I think he would turn in his grave if he saw all those notes published he had not found worthy to get published himself.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, atheism, quotations
Some samples:

I am only human although I regret it.

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Be good and you will be lonesome.

[Man] is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them.

The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little by way of example.

God's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have t
Tammy Schoen
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Such a great book...Mark Twain is one of those authors that I wish I could meet...maybe in the afterlife? He would probably make fun of my wish. Here are some gems:
About boys: "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."

On government: "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

"Irreverence is the champion of liberty."

And my favorite...when talking to a Mormon about polygamy, the Mormon wagered tha
Lesley Looper
Jan 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, humor
I really enjoyed this short book of quotes by Mark Twain! It was a quick and humorous read in front of the fireplace this evening. A couple of my favorites from this collection include:

"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."

"Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is the lightening that does the work."
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, philosophy, satire
 photo ba6ac7fe-cd3b-4225-8913-0c30c73e73f2.jpg

Mark Twain lounging in the garden, ca. 1899-1901, colorized

Samuel Langhorne Clemens aka Mark Twain - An inventor, entrepreneur, comedian, traveler, story teller/writer, family man, philosopher, what couldn’t this man do? All of these areas Twain excelled at are explored in this book making it a highly satisfying read – definitely recommended to all as an avid fan of Twain.
 photo 512a0713-2d50-4230-944a-5f28aee9bf23.jpg
Arthur Graham
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as good as The Devil's Dictionary, IMO, but still quite good as I recall.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
More of a reference for speakers in search of witty quotes than a book to read.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a professor once told me, "If you ever need a quote to pep up a paper, look no further than Mark Twain." This book is illustrative of that comment as he provides critiques and commentary on many different topics. I tend to collect quotations and use them to pep up conversations as well as academic papers and Twain is, indeed, a strong source of such quotes.

Whether commenting on the potential for both good and ill out of people in general or critiquing the works of other authors ranging from
Brenda Knight
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed this book. It's the meat & potatos of Twain's best quotes. Some of the quotes are well known, others, not so known. Simply put, it's Twain at his very best on each and every page.
I highly recommend this book to all fans of Twain's humor and insite.
Amanda Patterson
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you like Mark Twain, you'll like this collection. He is an American icon. It's difficult to dislike him. He's charming, witty and a shameless self-promoter. This means he knows what you want and he gives it to you.
Michael de Percy
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I was surprised by Mark Twain's views on women. I have become accustomed to nineteenth-century authors verging on the misogynistic, but Twain, at least from this collection of quotes, would appear to be the exception to the rule. For instance (p. 6):
No civilization can be perfect until exact equality between man and woman is included.
This is a bit rich, of course, because Twain relied heavily on his wife, Olivia Langdon Clemens, although he seems to have worked hard to keep the family financiall
Tippy Jackson
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, quotes
I actually wished the quotes were't arranged by type. They started to get a bit repetitive that way.

A few favorites:

"Such is the human race. Often it does seem such a pity that Noah didn't miss the boat."

"There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than other savages."

"She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot."

"No civilization can be pe
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mark-twain
I really enjoyed this little book of Twain's quotes and I highly recommend it. Just to share some of my personal favorites are:

Travel is fatal to prejudice bigotry and narrow mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate : when he can't afford it, and when he can.

The phases of the womanly nature are infinite in their variety. Take any type of woman, and you will find in it something to respect, something to adm
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This collection of Mark Twain quotes is not particularly witty or wise. It seems that the author/editor picked up some of Twain’s books and copied random sentences here and there. I took a semester long course at Stanford on the 100th anniversary of Twain’s death, and I know that there is a lot of material to select from. The editors could have perhaps cast a wider net to gather more interesting quotes. Nevertheless, there are some gems here and there in this book, and they are organized by topi ...more
Edwin Setiadi
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Twain’s greatest hits

Mark Twain was a witty and wise man. This book is perfect for those who wants to read his wits and gain his wisdom without having to read his novels.

The book is neatly categorised into topics, it forms to be a light reading of only the core wit and wisdom without the additional anecdotes.

Can you possibly tell me a better way to learn from Mark Twain?
Fred Klein
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Amusing quote of humor and wisdom from Mark Twain.
Short be effective1
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Reading through this would often put a smile on my face.
Ryan O'Laughlin
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yeah, I've bought this 2 or 3 times already, just a collection of crazy Twain quotes, grouped by subject. Brilliant!
Serena W. Sorrell
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017tbr
Oh, Mark Twain, you're such a lovable ass.
Reading 'The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain developed my disinterest for Mark Twain. He was very witty and somewhat wise but cynical without any realistic justification.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of our great American authors, what incredible wit & humor! Timeless!
Nex Juice
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first started reading this one, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it. I set it down for a few weeks without picking it back up. Now that I've finished it (in just a couple of days) - I actually quite enjoyed it!

Mark Twain was a very interesting man. He is one of the most prolific writers and speakers of all time. I found it interesting to learn that, some years, he earned more from his speaking than from his writing. I also found it interesting to learn that he had a violent temper and believed hi
Melinda Flaugher
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A nice short read that had me in the giggles. I enjoyed reading this book a hundred times better compared to the news.

"Of course, no man is entirely in his right mind at any time."

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself"
Book #3 for 2016
PopSugar Challenge Categories:
- A book that is under 150 pages
- A book written by a comedian
Personal Challenge Category:
- A book whose author has died

I'm a Missouri girl, so I was raised on Twain. Still, I have not read as much of his work as I would have liked, so this collection was good for helping me identify which works I am most anxious to read. I think Following the Equator is probably the next one I will search for.

Though very small, this is a nice edition, ideal for keep
Joel Gray
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it

Good books are a great, an inestimable, an unspeakable blessing means of improvement.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

I never let my schooling interfere with my education.

It is human to exaggerate the merits of the dead.

As soon as the novelty of happiness is over and the force of contrast dulled, it aint happiness any longer, and you have to get something fresh.

Dont undervalue a headache. The relief afterwards is
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The 2-star rating here is entirely due to the editor's choices and not Mark Twain. I still love Mark Twain. I've read several compilation pieces and this one just didn't work for me. Anecdotes about Twain were interspersed with his own quotes and excerpts from autobiographies and other things written on Twain. It was also organized as a dictionary seemingly for easy reference but with the lack of specificity to the origins of the quotes, I can't imagine it being used that way either. So, pretty ...more
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic quick read called the Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain - A Book of Quotations. I won it in a GoodReads giveaway and read it in a day. Perfect for the person who wanted to know a little more about the man which I am embarrassed to admit I had not read much about or by him for that matter. Not even Tom Sawyer. Sad but true. Now, thanks to this quick book of quotes I realized I must now read everything I can about and by the man. Thank you for sharing this with me.
Kadijah Coleman
The book itself had a lot of opinions,facts, or challenges that Mark Twain went through and much other's. I think the book was all about facts and opinions and how mark twain saw the world and everything in it. I think he can fix it and make it about more than himself but others opinions and facts, i love how he gave his opinion but how is opinion was also very true in many ways.
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

I shall never tire of, nor finish reading Mark Twain -- something this collection proved again and again; the above gem is one of many that were new to me. It was a great follow up to the "Handbook for the Damned Human Race."
Brian Eshleman
Dec 25, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was the perfect stocking-stuffer. 1) It allowed me to start reading immediately, as is my bookish nature. 2) I could actually share the quotes which had enough humor in them to engage conversation in a holiday mood. 3) It allowed me to pad my total of books read for 2011 as we near the year's end.
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” 5982 likes
“Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any.” 134 likes
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