108 Thomas Carlyle Quotes on Leadership, Life & Success

Thomas Carlyle, the revered Scottish historian and sociological writer, is renowned for his impactful philosophies and stirring quotes on leadership, life and success.

Born into a puritan family in Ecclefechan, Carlyle’s character was shaped by rigorous education and a challenging upbringing.

His deep studies in German, profound connection with Edward Irving and philosophical exploration of life in his masterpiece “Sartor Resartus,” contributed to his distinctive viewpoints on leadership and life.

Thomas Carlyle

Carlyle’s tumultuous journey of self-discovery, encapsulated by a spiritual rebirth in 1821, resulted in a powerful belief in the “Everlasting Yes” that promoted free thinking and hard work.

His complex philosophy, while replete with contradictions, revered strength and endurance, embodying a unique balance between despising utilitarian legislation and showing a proclivity towards despotism.

Despite his controversial approach, Carlyle left an indelible mark on literature and history, capturing the essence of characters like Voltaire, Burns and Johnson with remarkable insight.

Related: Howard Zinn Quotes from American Historian & Playwright and Andre Breton Quotes from the French Writer and Poet

His innovative, fiery style breathed life into historical narratives, solidifying his reputation as a brilliant historian and seer.

Ultimately, Carlyle’s multifaceted genius uplifted a generation from materialism and orthodoxy into the realm of the ideal, emphasizing the absolute reality of the spiritual realm.

I have selected the best quotes by Thomas Carlyle for you.

Best Thomas Carlyle Quotes

1. “A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).


2. “No pressure, no diamonds.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

3. “A person with a clear purpose will make progress, even on the roughest road. A person with no purpose will make no progress, even on the smoothest road.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

4. “He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

5. “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

6. “Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

7. “I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).


8. “Endurance is patience concentrated.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

9. “A sad spectacle. If they be inhabited, what a scope for misery and folly. If they be not inhabited, what a waste of space.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

10. “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

11. “Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

Powerful Thomas Carlyle Quotes

12. “Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

13. “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

14. “The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, became a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

15. “Rest is for the dead.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

16. “Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).


17. “Every noble work is at first impossible.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

18. “Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

19. “My books are friends that never fail me.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

20. “What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

21. “Once the mind has been expanded by a big idea, it will never go back to its original state.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

22. “Teach a parrot the terms ‘supply and demand’ and you’ve got an economist.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

23. “The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Karbala is that Husain and his companions were rigid believers in God. They illustrated that the numerical superiority does not count when it comes to the truth and the falsehood. The victory of Husain, despite his minority, marvels me!” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

24. “Silence is more eloquent than words.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

25. “The universe is but one vast Symbol of God.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

26. “A fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

27. “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

28. “He who would write heroic poems should make his whole life a heroic poem.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

29. “Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

30. “The true university of these days is a collection of books.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

31. “For every one hundred men who can stand adversity there is only one who can withstand prosperity.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).


32. “The genuine essence of truth never dies.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

33. “Out of Eternity the new day is born; Into Eternity at night will return.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

34. “No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

35. “Books are a triviality. Life alone is great.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

36. “Be not a slave of words.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

37. “The sincere alone can recognize sincerity.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

38. “Habit is the deepest law of human nature.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

39. “Show me the man you honor, and I will know what kind of man you are.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

40. “The meaning of song goes deep. Who in logical words can explain the effect music has on us? A kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for a moment gaze into that!” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

Top Thomas Carlyle Quotes

41. “The first duty of man is to conquer fear; he must get rid of it, he cannot act till then.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

42. “Once turn to practice, error and truth will no longer consort together.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

43. “Worship is transcendent wonder.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).


44. “Speech is of time, silence is of eternity.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

45. “Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

46. “Who is it that loves me and will love me forever with an affection which no chance, no misery, no crime of mine can do away? It is you, my mother.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

47. “Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

48. “He who has no vision of eternity has no hold on time.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

49. “No person is important enough to make me angry.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

50. “History is the essence of innumerable biographies.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

51. “Wonder is the basis of worship.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

52. “Of all acts of man repentance is the most divine. The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

53. “One life; a little gleam of Time between two Eternities; no second chance to us for evermore!” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

54. “A thought once awakened does not again slumber.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

55. “Properly speaking, all true work is religion.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

56. “For suffering and enduring there is no remedy, but striving and doing.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

57. “In the long-run every Government is the exact symbol of its People, with their wisdom and unwisdom; we have to say, Like People like Government.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

Famous Thomas Carlyle Quotes

58. “Not brute force but only persuasion and faith are the kings of this world.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

59. “The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

60. “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

61. “Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

62. “Quackery gives birth to nothing; gives death to all things.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

63. “Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

64. “The Present is the living sum-total of the whole Past.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

65. “Silence, the great Empire of Silence: higher than all stars; deeper than the Kingdom of Death! It alone is great; all else is small.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

66. “Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the delight of life, which they are thenceforth to rule.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

67. “Without kindness there can be no true joy.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

Wise Thomas Carlyle Quotes

68. “If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

69. “Nature is the time-vesture of God that reveals Him to the wise, and hides him from the foolish.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

70. “Happy the people whose annals are blank in the history books!” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

71. “Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

72. “We remove mountains, and make seas our smooth highway; nothing can resist us. We war with rude Nature; and, by our resistless engines, come off always victorious, and loaded with spoils.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

73. “A man lives by believing something: not by debating and arguing about many things.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

74. “Great is journalism. Is not every able editor a ruler of the world, being the persuader of it?” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

75. “May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

76. “A good book is the purest essence of a human soul.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

77. “Let each become all that he was created capable of being.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

78. “Do not be embarrassed by your mistakes. Nothing can teach us better than our understanding of them. This is one of the best ways of self-education.”   Thomas Carlyle

79. “Men do less than they ought, unless they do all they can.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

80. “Experience takes dreadfully high school-wages, but he teaches like no other.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

81. “Sarcasm I now see to be, in general, the language of the devil; for which reason I have long since as good as renounced it.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

82. “Close thy Byron ; open thy Goethe.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

Short Thomas Carlyle Quotes

83. “Clever men are good, but they are not the best.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

84. “Today is not yesterday: we ourselves change; how can our works and thoughts, if they are always to be the fittest, continue always the same? Change, indeed is painful; yet ever needful; and if memory have its force and worth, so also has hope.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

85. “Speech is human, silence is divine, yet also brutish and dead: therefore we must learn both arts.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

86. “True humor springs not more from the head than from the heart. It is not contempt; its essence is love. It issues not in laughter, but in still smiles, which lie far deeper.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

87. “A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

88. “Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

89. “Nothing ever happens but once in all this world. What I do now I do once for all. It is over and gone, with all its eternity of solemn meaning.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

90. “All work of man is as the swimmer’s: a vast ocean threatens to devour him; if he front it not bravely, it will keep its word.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

91. “The times are very bad. Very well, you are there to make them better.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

92. “A laugh, to be joyous, must flow from a joyous heart, for without kindness, there can be no true joy.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

93. “The person who cannot laugh is not only ready for treason, and deceptions, their whole life is already a treason and deception.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

94. “Biography is the only true history.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

95. “Silence is as deep as eternity, speech a shallow as time.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

96. “Not what you possess but what you do with what you have, determines your true worth.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

97. “The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

98. “Writing is a dreadful labor, yet not so dreadful as Idleness.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

99. “The archenemy is the arch stupid!” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

100. “Music is well said to be the speech of angels.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

101. “O poor mortals, how ye make this earth bitter for each other.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

102. “The outer passes away; the innermost is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

103. “All great peoples are conservative.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

104. “History: A distillation of rumor.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

105. “All true work is sacred.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

106. “Before philosophy can teach by Experience, the Philosophy has to be in readiness, the Experience must be gathered and intelligibly recorded.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

107. “Every noble crown is, and on Earth will forever be, a crown of thorns.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

108. “One is hardly sensible of fatigue while he marches to music.” ~ (Thomas Carlyle).

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar