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George Bernard Shaw Quotations

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Dublin-born playwright, novelist, and socialist, lived in England after he was about twenty.

Here are quite well annotated Shaw quotations from many sources, with some toned-down adaptations added here and there, and all are put into a mold that suggests advancements or waking up (eye-openings too).


1. Taking advice from George Bernard Shaw and ceasing to be a musical amateur (or dropping dead) through it, seems like no small error

When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth. - George Bernard Shaw

The philosopher is Nature's pilot. - George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (act III)]

Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't! - George Bernard Shaw

The balance sheet of a city's welfare cannot be stated in figures. Counters of a much more spiritual kind are needed, and some imagination and conscience to add them up, as well. - George Bernard Shaw, The Common Sense of Municipal Trading, p. v.

Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there was a fire? The one nearest the door of course. - George Bernard Shaw

I am a Millionaire. That is my religion. - George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara (1907) act 2]

In my experience the men who want something for nothing are invariably Christians. - George Bernard Shaw, The Nobleman, in Saint Joan, sc. 4]

What is the matter with the rich is Uselessness. - George Bernard Shaw

We can learn from history that we seem to learn nothing from history. - With George Bernard Shaw

There are few loves sincerer than the love of food. - Cf. George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) act 1]

2. Reputation depends on people who give it

Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same. - George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903), Maxims for Revolutionists]

Seemingly unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. Much progress, therefore, depends on such people. - With George Bernard Shaw

Lack of money is the root of much evil. - With George Bernard Shaw

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. - George Bernard Shaw

The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurement anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me. - George Bernard Shaw

I dream things that never were; and I say, Why not? - George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah (1921), part 1, act 1

3. Observe that managing "ten things in the sky" (including coming projects) can give rise to very hard work

When I was young I observed that nine out of every ten things I did were failures, so I did ten times more work. - George Bernard Shaw

I know of no dramatist dependent on his profession who has not been very seriously influenced by his market. - George Bernard Shaw, in Shaw 1913, 35

Education: A succession of eye-openers each involving the repudiation of some previously held belief. - George Bernard Shaw, attributed ✪ 

Progress is not achieved by panic-stricken rushes back and forward between one folly and another. - George Bernard Shaw, in Shaw 1913, 40.


Taking advice from someone marked by much and hard work depends on trust put in him or her, which may be unwise in its way. If the work is skilled and sound, though, it may be different.


George Bernard Shaw quotations, Literature  

Bloom, Harold, ed. 2011. George Bernard Shaw. New ed. New York: Infobase Publishing.

Shaw, Charlotte F. 1913. The Wisdom of Bernard Shaw, Being Passages from the Works of Bernard Shaw. New York. Brentano's.

Wilson, Colin. 1981. George Bernard Shaw: A Reassessment. London: The Macmillan Press.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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