Leo Tolstoy was a Russian novelist who is often considered as one of history’s finest writers. From 1902 until 1906, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year.

Tolstoy was born in 1828 to an aristocratic Russian family and is best known for his books War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1878), which are often considered to be the pinnacles of realism fiction.

We have shortlisted some of the best quotes from Leo Tolstoy for you.


Best Leo Tolstoy Quotes on Love, Happiness, War and Peace

1. “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

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2. “If you want to be happy, be.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

3. “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

4. “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

5. “When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

6. “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

7. “We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

8. “The strongest of all warriors are these two – Time and Patience.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

9. “We are asleep until we fall in love.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

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10. “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

11. “Love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

12. “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

13. “Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

14. “Boredom: the desire for desires.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

15. “Happy people have no history.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

16. “Music is the shorthand of emotion.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

17. “A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

18. “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

19. “Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

20. “There is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

21. “If you’re not enjoying your work, you should either change your attitude, or change your job.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

22. “He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

23. “It’s hard to love a woman and do anything.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

24. “All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

25. “Read less, study less, but think more.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

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26. “The most important time is Now.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

27. “If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

28. “The key to success in life is using the good thoughts of wise people.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

29. “There are no conditions to which a person cannot grow accustomed, especially if he sees that everyone around him lives in the same way.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

30. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

Top Leo Tolstoy Quotes

31. “Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

32. “An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

33. “There is something in the human spirit that will survive and prevail, there is a tiny and brilliant light burning in the heart of man that will not go out no matter how dark the world becomes.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

34. “The only purpose of education is freedom; the only method is experience.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

35. “Many people have ideas on how others should change; few people have ideas on how they should change.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

36. “A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

37. “It is not enough to be a hardworking person. Think: what do you work at?” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

38. “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

39. “Life is fragile and absurd.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

40. “As long as there are slaughterhouses there will always be battlefields.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

41. “Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

42. “Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

43. “Every lie is a poison; there are no harmless lies. Only the truth is safe. Only the truth gives me consolation – it is the one unbreakable diamond.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

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44. “In the midst of winter, I find within me the invisible summer…” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

45. “Upon meeting, you’re judged by your clothes, upon parting you’re judged by your wits.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

46. “Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

47. “The legislation of Quran will spread all over the world, because it agrees with the mind, logic and wisdom.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

48. “Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

49. “When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to her who suffers, and try to help her.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

50. “Just as one candle lights another and can light thousands of other candles, so one heart illuminates another heart and can illuminate thousands of other hearts.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

51. “For man to be able to live he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

52. “Perfection is impossible without humility. Why should I strive for perfection, if I am already good enough?” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

53. “Knowledge is real knowledge only when it is acquired by the efforts of your intellect, not by memory.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

54. “Man discovers truth by reason only, not by faith.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

55. “To abolish war it is necessary to abolish patriotism and to abolish patriotism it is necessary first to understand that it is an evil. Tell people that patriotism is bad and most will reply, ‘Yes, bad patriotism is bad, but mine is good patriotism.’” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

56. “Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

57. “Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

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58. “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

59. “But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

60. “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

Famous Leo Tolstoy Quotes

61. “The hero of my tale, whom I love with all the power of my soul, whom I have tried to portray in all his beauty, who has been, is, and will be beautiful, is Truth.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

62. “Our whole life is taken up with anxiety for personal security, with preparations for living, so that we really never live at all.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

63. “Life could be limitless joy, if we would only take it for what it is, in the way it is given to us.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

64. “Art lifts man from his personal life into the universal life.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

65. “The most important knowledge is that which guides the way you lead your life.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

66. “It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable – he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

67. “Happiness consists of living each day as if it were the first day of your honeymoon and the last day of your vacation.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

68. “God is the same everywhere.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

69. “It is easier to produce ten volumes of philosophical writings than to put one principle into practice.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

70. “Effort is not a means to lead us to happiness. Effort itself is happiness.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

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71. “Faith is the force of life.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

72. “Art is not a pleasure, a solace, or an amusement; art is a great matter. Art is an organ of human life, transmitting man’s reasonable perception into feeling.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

73. “The kinder and more thoughtful a person is, the more kindness they can find in other people.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

74. “If you make it a habit not to blame others, you will feel the growth of the ability to love in your soul, and you will see the growth of goodness in your life.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

75. “Music is the shorthand of emotion. Emotions, which let themselves be described in words with such difficulty, are directly conveyed to man in music, and in that is its power and significance.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

76. “The most mentally deranged people are certainly those who see in others indications of insanity they do not notice in themselves.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

77. “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

78. “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity by contributing to the establishment of the kingdom of God, which can only be done by the recognition and profession of the truth by every man.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

79. “History would be an excellent thing if only it were true.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

80. “To say that you can love one person all your life is just like saying that one candle will continue burning as long as you live.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

Short Leo Tolstoy Quotes

81. “What is important is not the length of life, but the depth of life. What is important is not to make life longer, but to take your soul out of time, as every sublime act does.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

82. “There is only one way to put an end to evil, and that is to do good for evil.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

83. “In all history, there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

84. “God cannot be understood by logical reasoning but only by submission.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

85. “Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

86. “The goal of our life should not be to find joy in marriage, but to bring more love and truth into the world.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

87. “He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

88. “Am I mad, to see what others do not see, or are they mad who are responsible for all that I am seeing?” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

89. “My principal sin is doubt. I doubt everything, and am in doubt most of the time.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

90. “But I’m glad you’ll see me as I am. Above all, I wouldn’t want people to think that I want to prove anything. I don’t want to prove anything, I just want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself. I have that right, haven’t I?” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

91. “Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

92. “Here I am alive, and it’s not my fault, so I have to try and get by as best I can without hurting anybody until death takes over.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

93. “I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

94. “I have now understood that though it seems to men that they live by care for themselves, in truth it is love alone by which they live. He who has love, is in God, and God is in him, for God is love.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

95. “If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

96. “He never chooses an opinion; he just wears whatever happens to be in style.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

97. “The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

98. “It’s not given to people to judge what’s right or wrong. People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

99. “A holy spirit lives within you.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

100. “Kings are the slaves of history.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

101. “Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

102. “One can live magnificently in this world if one knows how to work and how to love.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

103. “Act as if you are, and you will become such.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

104. “Since corrupt people unite amongst themselves to constitute a force, then honest people must do the same.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

105. “The highest wisdom has but one science – the science of the whole – the science explaining the whole creation and man’s place in it.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

106. “Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

107. “Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul, and shows to people these secrets which are common to all.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

108. “The kinder and more intelligent a person is, the more kindness he can find in other people. Kindness enriches our life; with kindness mysterious things become clear, difficult things become easy and dull things become cheerful.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

109. “To sin is a human business, to justify sins is a devilish business.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

110. “All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

Inspiring Leo Tolstoy Quotes

111. “Happiness is in your ability to love others.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

112. “If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

113. “I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

114. “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

115. “Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

116. “The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

117. “All art has this characteristic-it unites people.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

118. “It is not beauty that endears, it’s love that makes us see beauty.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

119. “All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

120. “Art is the uniting of the subjective with the objective, of nature with reason, of the unconscious with the conscious, and therefore art is the highest means of knowledge.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

121. “If you do not know your place in the world and the meaning of your life, you should know there is something to blame; and it is not the social system, or your intellect, but the way in which you have directed your intellect.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

122. “Music is love in search of a voice.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

123. “Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

124. “Why should I live? Why should I do anything? Is there in life any purpose which the inevitable death that awaits me does not undo and destroy?” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

125. “Very often, all the activity of the human mind is directed not in revealing the truth, but in hiding the truth.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

126. “The most important person is the one you are within this moment.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

127. “Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

128. “Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking…” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

129. “Perhaps it’s because I appreciate all I have so much that I don’t worry about what I haven’t got.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

130. “There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

131. “He in his madness prays for storms, and dreams that storms will bring him peace.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

132. “The whole world is divided for me into two parts: one is she, and there is all happiness, hope, light; the other is where she is not, and there is dejection and darkness…” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

133. “Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

134. “Human science fragments everything in order to understand it, kills everything in order to examine it.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

135. “And where love ends, hate begins.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

136. “Men need only trust in Christ’s teaching and obey it, and there will be peace on earth.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

137. “Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal – that there is no human relation between master and slave.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

138. “Happiness is pleasure without regret.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

139. “It’s all God’s will: you can die in your sleep, and God can spare you in battle.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

140. “By words one transmits thoughts to another, by means of art, one transmits feelings.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

141. “Wealth brings a heavy purse; poverty, a light spirit.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

142. “For a few seconds they looked silently into each other’s eyes, and the distant and impossible suddenly became near, possible, and inevitable.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

143. “Joy can only be real if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

144. “In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning and cruelty.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

145. “Once we’re thrown off our habitual paths, we think all is lost, but it’s only here that the new and the good begins.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

146. “Pierre was right when he said that one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury the dead, but while I’m alive, I must live and be happy.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

147. “Anything is better than lies and deceit!” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

148. “Music makes me forget myself, my true condition, it carries me off into another state of being, one that isn’t my own.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

149. “Until you do what you believe in, you don’t know whether you believe it or not.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).

150. “From the child of five to myself is but a step. But from the newborn baby to the child of five is an appalling distance.” ~ (Leo Tolstoy).


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