Henry David Thoreau was a naturalist, poet, essayist, and philosopher from the United States.

He is most known for his book Walden, which is a reflection on simple life in natural settings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”), which is an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Thoreau published almost 20 volumes of books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry.

We have made a list of the top quotes from Henry David Thoreau for you.


Best Henry David Thoreau Quotes

1. “All good things are wild and free.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

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2. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

3. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

4. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

5. “Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself. So live the life you imagined.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

6. “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

7. “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

8. “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

9. “This world is but a canvas for our imagination.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

10. “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

11. “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

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12. “You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

13. “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.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

Popular Henry David Thoreau Quotes

14. “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that 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.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

15. “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

16. “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

17. “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

18. “We are constantly invited to be who we are.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

19. “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

20. “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.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

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21. “We are born as innocents. We are polluted by advice.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

22. “A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

23. “Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

Top Henry David Thoreau Quotes

24. “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

25. “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

26. “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

27. “That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

28. “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

29. “Enthusiasm is a supernatural serenity.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

30. “A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

31. “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

32. “In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

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33. “There is no remedy for love, but to love more.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

34. “Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

35. “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.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

Famous Henry David Thoreau Quotes

36. “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

37. “My greatest skill in life has been to want but little.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

38. “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

39. “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

40. “Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

41. “The heart is forever inexperienced.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

Short Henry David Thoreau Quotes

42. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

43. “What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

44. “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

45. “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

46. “I make myself rich by making my wants few.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

47. “Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

48. “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

49. “When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).

50. “Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.” ~ (Henry David Thoreau).


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