Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain” as Want to Read:
The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,411 ratings  ·  83 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,411 ratings  ·  83 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain
Lilo
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.
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
...more
Jimmy
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: atheism, quotations, humor
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
...more
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."
Amanda
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, memoir, 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
...more
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.
...more
Lola
Look at what you find when you clean out your office! I think my friend gave this to me as a souvenir from a trip she went on.

Mark Twain is always delightful, but I'm not sure his best lines are all included here. Still, there are some good ones here, and I like how the quotes are attributed to their original publication. Plus, my copy can fit in the palm of my hand, so it's convenient if you always want to travel with Twain.
Rick
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
More of a reference for speakers in search of witty quotes than a book to read.
James
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
...more
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.
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.
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.
...more
Adam Bricker
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Tid bits of genius that apply to multiple aspects of life!
Dennis Littrell
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tidy collection

Mr. Mark Twain has done a considerable amount of writing about stuff and such and so it don't much surprise a body to see that some publishing people have come out with a book about his "wit and wisdom." I don't see any harm in it, considering that he is long dead and gone and all, and so there is no danger that it might go to his head.

Anyway, this book is a small one, for which I am thankful, not being a great reader of books and whatnot. All the words of wit and wisdom are arran
...more
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
...more
Tippy Jackson
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: quotes, 2017
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
...more
Edwin Lowe
A Fun Read!!

Book Review Written
The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations, By Mark Twain, Edited By Paul Negri
Kindle Edition (66 Pages)

This is a curated compilation of quotations from Mark Twain drawn from his novels, stories, essays, travel writings, letters and speeches, and are representative of the essence of Twain’s thought and style. Mark Twain, the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, is not only considered one of America’s most important writers, but also among its funniest.
...more
Sharif
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
...more
Jill
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
Shelves: amusing
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?
william wolfe
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly Enjoyed

I gave this a 5-star because I was able to relate to his wit. I found this to be a quick read however, highly enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone, of any age looking for a fast read.
Paul B. Soper
The Best of the Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

This collection of Twain quotes is arranged alphabetically by subject so you can look up one of his pithy comments about anything with ease.
Serena W. Sorrell
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017tbr
Oh, Mark Twain, you're such a lovable ass.
Amanda
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.
Michael
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.
Fred Klein
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Amusing quote of humor and wisdom from Mark Twain.
Short be effective1
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!
Lorraine
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of our great American authors, what incredible wit & humor! Timeless! ...more
Laurabeth
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My, what a brain.
Sarah McConahy
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fun collection of quotations from Twain, broken down topically for quick reference.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Mark Twain
  • The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill
  • The Witches Are Coming
  • The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln: A Book of Quotations
  • The Garden of The Prophet
  • Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls (Dog Man, #7)
  • The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire
  • The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature
  • Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future!
  • The Beautiful Ones
  • CRUSH: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing, and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush
  • Mother Goose: Old Nursery Rhymes (Wordsworth Collection)
  • The Prized Girl
  • In the Balance (Worldwar, #1)
  • Striking the Balance (Worldwar, #4)
  • It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great
  • The Poet's Dog
  • The Art of Money Getting: Golden Rules for Making Money
See similar books…
15,006 followers
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
...more

Related Articles

You might know comedian Colin Jost from his work as the co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or perhaps you know him as Scarlett Joha...
14 likes · 1 comments
“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.” 6065 likes
“Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any.” 137 likes
More quotes…