Literary Birthday – 25 July – Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer was born 25 July 1902, and died 21 May 1983.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

  1. Good writing, like gold, combines lustrous lucidity with high density. What this means is good writing is packed with hints.
  2. What counts most is holding on. The growth of a train of thought is not a direct forward flow. There is a succession of spurts separated by intervals of stagnation, frustration, and discouragement. If you hold on, there is bound to come a certain clarification. The unessential components drop off and a coherent, lucid whole begins to take shape.
  3. Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
  4. If anybody asks me what I have accomplished, I will say all I have accomplished is that I have written a few good sentences.
  5. My writing is done in railroad yards while waiting for a freight, in the fields while waiting for a truck, and at noon after lunch. Towns are too distracting.
  6. Wordiness is a sickness of American writing. Too many words dilute and blur ideas.
  7. There is not an idea that cannot be expressed in 200 words. But the writer must know precisely what he wants to say. If you have nothing to say and want badly to say it, then all the words in all the dictionaries will not suffice.
  8. Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.
  9. Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
  10. The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.
  11. We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
  12. No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion; it is an evil government.
  13. The hardest thing to cope with is not selfishness or vanity or deceitfulness, but sheer stupidity.
  14. The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
  15. Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.
  16. Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy – the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.
  17. To know a person’s religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
  18. What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people’s faces as unfinished as their minds.
  19. In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
  20. Our greatest weariness comes from work not done.

Eric Hoffer was an American moral and social philosopher who wrote 10 books. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983. He is the author of The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 25th July 2013