Best quotes by the American Writer Eric Hoffer

Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
  • Strength

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
  • change

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.
  • Mistakes

Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength.
  • strength



You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
  • Fear

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
  • Happiness

Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.
  • Kindness

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
  • DeceptionLying

When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
  • Imitation

To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.
  • Change

There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.
  • Freedom

Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.
  • Propaganda

We do not really feel grateful toward those who make our dreams come true; they ruin our dreams.
  • Dreams

It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak.
  • Evil

It sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
  • Opportunity

Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart.
  • power

The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves.
  • Dissent

The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.
  • Freedom

The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.
  • History

An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.
  • Ignorance

There would be no society if living together depended upon understanding each other.
  • Marriage

The real antichrist is he who turns the wine of an original idea into the water of mediocrity.
  • Mediocrity

Where everything is possible miracles become commonplaces, but the familiar ceases to be self-evident.
  • Science

Many of the insights of the saint stem from their experience as sinners.
  • Sin

Our greatest weariness comes from work not done.
  • Work

Self-esteem and self-contempt have specific odors; they can be smelled.
  • Identity

It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor.
  • Neighbors

We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.
  • absolutely

We can remember minutely and precisely only the things which never really happened to us.

Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself, and yearns for the impossible.
  • Ambition


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Eric Hoffer Quotes About

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Eric Hoffer power quotes

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Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart.
  • power

Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from the sense of their inadequacy and impotence. They hate not wickedness but weakness. When it is in their power to do so, the weak destroy weakness wherever they see it.
  • Power

Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart. For we can win a man's heart one day and lose it the next. But when we break a proud spirit we achieve something that is final and absolute.
  • Power

Freedom means freedom from forces and circumstances which would turn man into a thing, which would impose on man the passivity and predictability of matter. By this test, absolute power is the manifestation most inimical to human uniqueness. Absolute power wants to turn people into malleable clay.
  • Power

To the excessively fearful the chief characteristic of power is its arbitrariness. Man had to gain enormously in confidence before he could conceive an all-powerful God who obeys his own laws.
  • Power

The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.
  • power

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Eric Hoffer prejudice quotes

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We are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about.
  • Prejudice

Sometimes we feel the loss of a prejudice as a loss of vigor.
  • Prejudice

That which corrodes the souls of the persecuted is the monstrous inner agreement with the prevailing prejudice against them.
  • Prejudice

When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths.
  • Prejudice

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Eric Hoffer people quotes

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There is probably an element of malice in our readiness to overestimate people - we are, as it were, laying up for ourselves the pleasure of later cutting them down to size.
  • cutting

When people are bored it is primarily with themselves.
  • bored

It is the around-the-corner brand of hope that prompts people to action, while the distant hope acts as an opiate.
  • action

It is not actual suffering but the taste of better things which excites people to revolt.
  • actual

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Eric Hoffer change quotes

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In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
  • change

To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.
  • Change

In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
  • learning

The well adjusted make poor prophets. A pleasant existence blinds us to the possibilities of drastic change. We cling to what we call our common sense, our practical point of view. Actually, these are names for an all-absorbing familiarity with things as they are.... Thus it happens that when the times become unhinged, it is the practical people who are caught unaware...still clinging to things that no longer exist.
  • Change

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Eric Hoffer age quotes

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The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness.
  • Age

Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
  • Age

To grow old is to grow common. Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
  • Age

It is the malady of our age that the young are so busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn.
  • teacher

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More quotes by Eric Hoffer

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How frighteningly few are the persons whose death would spoil our appetite and make the world seem empty.
  • Death

There is always a chance that he who sets himself up as his brother's keeper will end up by being his jail-keeper.
  • Fellowship

We are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about.
  • Prejudice

In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
  • learning



The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness.
  • Age

Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy -- the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.
  • Belief

The self-styled intellectual who is impotent with pen and ink hungers to write history with sword and blood.
  • Books

Death has but one terror, that it has no tomorrow.
  • Death

Facts are counterrevolutionary.
  • Facts

We are more prone to generalize the bad than the good. We assume that the bad is more potent and contagious.
  • Generalize

Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience.
  • Glory

The pleasure we derive from doing favors is partly in the feeling it gives us that we are not altogether worthless. It is a pleasant surprise to ourselves.
  • Kindness

It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.
  • Opportunity

The passion to get ahead is sometimes born of the fear lest we be left behind.
  • Passion

A man by himself is in bad company.
  • Solitude

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
  • empty

Retribution often means that we eventually do to ourselves what we have done unto others.

It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise. This is as true of men as of dogs.

We have perhaps a natural fear of ends. We would rather be always on the way than arrive. Given the means, we hang on to them and often forget the ends.
  • Corruption

The greatest weariness comes from work not done.
  • Discontent

It is the awareness of unfulfilled desires which gives a nation the feeling that it has a mission and a destiny.
  • Discontent

Man was nature's mistake --she neglected to finish him -- and she has never ceased paying for her mistake.
  • Humanity

It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents.
  • PlayGames

We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
  • Talent

There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.
  • Chastity

A successful social technique consists perhaps in finding unobjectionable means for individual self-assertion.
  • Communism

Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.
  • DeceptionLying

A great man's greatest good luck is to die at the right time.
  • Greatness

A heresy can spring only from a system that is in full vigor.
  • Heresy

It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.
  • Leadership

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
  • Learning

The individual who has to justify his existence by his own efforts is in eternal bondage to himself.
  • Life

Sometimes we feel the loss of a prejudice as a loss of vigor.
  • Prejudice

Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.
  • Work

How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization!

There is probably an element of malice in the readiness to overestimate people; we are laying up for ourselves the pleasure of later cutting them down to size.

Action is at bottom a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one's balance and keep afloat.
  • Actions

The link between ideas and action is rarely direct. There is almost always an intermediate step in which the idea is overcome. De Tocqueville points out that it is at times when passions start to govern human affairs that ideas are most obviously translated into political action. The translation of ideas into action is usually in the hands of people least likely to follow rational motives. Hence, it is that action is often the nemesis of ideas, and sometimes of the men who formulate them. One of the marks of the truly vigorous society is the ability to dispense with passion as a midwife of action the ability to pass directly from thought to action.
  • Actions

A grievance is most poignant when almost redressed.
  • Business

To spell out the obvious is often to call it in question.
  • Communication

It is a sign of a creeping inner death when we no longer can praise the living.
  • Death

The world leans on us. When we sag, the whole world seems to droop.
  • Depression

The suspicious mind believes more than it doubts. It believes in a formidable and ineradicable evil lurking in every person.
  • Doubt

There is no loneliness greater than the loneliness of a failure. The failure is a stranger in his own house.
  • Failure

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
  • Faith

To the old, the new is usually bad news.
  • Fashion

The fear of becoming a 'has-been' keeps some people from becoming anything.
  • Fashion

A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.
  • Minorities

There is in most passions a shrinking away from ourselves. The passionate pursuer has all the earmarks of a fugitive.
  • Passion

The unpredictability inherent in human affairs is due largely to the fact that the by-products of a human process are more fateful than the product.
  • Prophecy

We all have private ails. The troublemakers are they who need public cures for their private ails.
  • Protest

To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
  • Religion

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
  • Self

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains.
  • Technology

What greater reassurance can the weak have than that they are like anyone else?
  • Tradition

Youth itself is a talent -- a perishable talent.
  • Youth

There is probably an element of malice in our readiness to overestimate people - we are, as it were, laying up for ourselves the pleasure of later cutting them down to size.
  • cutting

We feel free when we escape - even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire.
  • escape

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.
  • enough

Charlatanism of some degree is indispensable to effective leadership.
  • degree

Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us.
  • alone

The misery of a child is interesting to a mother, the misery of a young man is interesting to a young woman, the misery of an old man is interesting to nobody.
  • child

Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know.
  • crucial

The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.
  • idealist

The nature of a society is largely determined by the direction in which talent and ambition flowby the tilt of the social landscape.

The compulsion to take ourselves seriously is in inverse proportion to our creative capacity. When the creative flow dries up, all we have left is our importance.

It is probably true that business corrupts everything it touches. It corrupts politics, sports, literature, art, labor unions and so on. But business also corrupts and undermines monolithic totalitarianism. Capitalism is at its liberating best in a noncapitalist environment.

There are similarities between absolute power and absolute faith: a demand for absolute obedience, a readiness to attempt the impossible, a bias for simple solutionsto cut the knot rather than unravel it, the viewing of compromise as surrender. Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence, absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

One of the marks of a truly vigorous society is the ability to dispense with passion as a midwife of action --the ability to pass directly from thought to action.
  • Actions

The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause... A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding; when it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.
  • Advice

Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
  • Age

To grow old is to grow common. Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
  • Age

The superficiality of the American is the result of his hustling. It needs leisure to think things out; it needs leisure to mature. People in a hurry cannot think, cannot grow, nor can they decay. They are preserved in a state of perpetual puerility.
  • America

Animals often strike us as passionate machines.
  • Animals

Our credulity is greatest concerning the things we know least about. And since we know least about ourselves, we are ready to believe all that is said about us. Hence the mysterious power of both flattery and calumny.
  • Belief

The effectiveness of a doctrine does not come from its meaning but from its certitude. No doctrine however profound and sublime will be effective unless it is presented as the embodiment of the one and only truth
  • Belief

Capitalism is at its liberating best in a noncapitalist environment. The crypto-businessman is the true revolutionary in a Communist country.
  • Capitalism

The well adjusted make poor prophets. A pleasant existence blinds us to the possibilities of drastic change. We cling to what we call our common sense, our practical point of view. Actually, these are names for an all-absorbing familiarity with things as they are.... Thus it happens that when the times become unhinged, it is the practical people who are caught unaware...still clinging to things that no longer exist.
  • Change

We can never really be prepared for that which is wholly new. We have to adjust ourselves, and every radical adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem: we undergo a test, we have to prove ourselves. It needs inordinate self-confidence to face drastic change without inner trembling.
  • Confidence

Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.
  • Conformity

We never say so much as when we do not quite know what we want to say. We need few words when we have something to say, but all the words in all the dictionaries will not suffice when we have nothing to say and want desperately to say it.
  • Conversation

When cowardice is made respectable, its followers are without number both from among the weak and the strong; it easily becomes a fashion.
  • CowardiceWeakness

Dissipation is a form of self-sacrifice.
  • Despair

The pre-human creature from which man evolved was unlike any other living thing in its malicious viciousness toward its own kind. Humanization was not a leap forward but a groping toward survival.
  • Evolution

Thought is a process of exaggeration. The refusal to exaggerate is not infrequently an alibi for the disinclination to think or praise.
  • Exaggeration

It is not so much the example of others we imitate as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.
  • Example

They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor.
  • Failure

All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance.
  • Fanaticism

The birth of the new constitutes a crisis, and its mastery calls for a crude and simple cast of mind -- the mind of a fighter -- in which the virtues of tribal cohesion and fierceness and infantile credulity and malleability are paramount. Thus every new beginning recapitulates in some degree man's first beginning.
  • Fashion

Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear. Thus a feeling of utter unworthiness can be a source of courage.
  • Fear

Friendship Never explain -- your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe it anyway. A real friend never gets in your way, unless you happen to be on the way down. A friend is someone you can do nothing with and enjoy it. However much we guard ourselves against it, we tend to shape ourselves in the image others have of us. It is not so much the example of others we imitate, as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.
  • Friends

However much we guard ourselves against it, we tend to shape ourselves in the image others have of us. It is not so much the example of others we imitate, as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.
  • Friends

Our present addiction to pollsters and forecasters is a symptom of our chronic uncertainty about the future... We watch our experts read the entrails of statistical tables and graphs the way the ancients watched their soothsayers read the entrails of a chicken.
  • Future

To make of human affairs a coherent, precise, predictable whole one must ignore or suppress man as he really is. It is by eliminating man from their equation that the makers of history can predict the future, and the writers of history can give a pattern to the past.
  • Future

There is sublime thieving in all giving. Someone gives us all he has and we are his.
  • Generosity

Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.
  • Habits

It is remarkable by how much a pinch of malice enhances the penetrating power of an idea or an opinion. Our ears, it seems, are wonderfully attuned to sneers and evil reports about our fellow men.
  • Hate

No matter what our achievements might be, we think well of ourselves only in rare moments. We need people to bear witness against our inner judge, who keeps book on our shortcomings and transgressions. We need people to convince us that we are not as bad as we think we are.
  • Identity

Naivete in grownups is often charming; but when coupled with vanity it is indistinguishable from stupidity.
  • Ignorance

It almost seems that nobody can hate America as much as native Americans. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it.
  • Immigration

It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations -- past and present -- are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual's hungers, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millenia.
  • Individuality

Perhaps our originality manifests itself most strikingly in what we do with that which we did not originate. To discover something wholly new can be a matter of chance, of idle tinkering, or even of the chronic dissatisfaction of the untalented.
  • Innovation

We find it hard to apply the knowledge of ourselves to our judgment of others. The fact that we are never of one kind, that we never love without reservations and never hate with all our being cannot prevent us from seeing others as wholly black or white.
  • Judging

Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.
  • Kindness

The remarkable thing is that it is the crowded life that is most easily remembered. A life full of turns, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and crises is a life full of landmarks. The empty life has even its few details blurred, and cannot be remembered with certainty.
  • Legacy

Marriage has for women many equivalents of joining a mass movement. It offers them a new purpose in life, a new future and a new identity (a new name). The boredom of spinsters and of women who can no longer find joy and fulfillment in marriage stems from an awareness of a barren, spoiled life. By embracing a holy cause and dedicating their energies and substance to its advancement, they find a new life full of purpose and meaning.
  • Marriage

There is a grandeur in the uniformity of the mass. When a fashion, a dance, a song, a slogan or a joke sweeps like wildfire from one end of the continent to the other, and a hundred million people roar with laughter, sway their bodies in unison, hum one song or break forth in anger and denunciation, there is the overpowering feeling that in this country we have come nearer the brotherhood of man than ever before.
  • Masses

When you automate an industry you modernize it; when you automate a life you primitivize it.
  • Modern

A soul that is reluctant to share does not as a rule have much of its own. Miserliness is here a symptom of meagerness.
  • Money

It is the stretched soul that makes music, and souls are stretched by the pull of opposites --opposite bents, tastes, yearnings, loyalties. Where there is no polarity --where energies flow smoothly in one direction --there will be much doing but no music.
  • Music

Nationalist pride, like other variants of pride, can be a substitute for self-respect.
  • Nation

Nature is a self-made machine, more perfectly automated than any automated machine. To create something in the image of nature is to create a machine, and it was by learning the inner working of nature that man became a builder of machines.
  • Nature

The necessary has never been man's top priority. The passionate pursuit of the nonessential and the extravagant is one of the chief traits of human uniqueness. Unlike other forms of life, man's greatest exertions are made in the pursuit not of necessities but of superfluities.
  • Necessity

More significant than the fact that poets write abstrusely, painters paint abstractly, and composers compose unintelligible music is that people should admire what they cannot understand; indeed, admire that which has no meaning or principle.
  • Obscurity

The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders.
  • Persuasion

Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from the sense of their inadequacy and impotence. They hate not wickedness but weakness. When it is in their power to do so, the weak destroy weakness wherever they see it.
  • Power

Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart. For we can win a man's heart one day and lose it the next. But when we break a proud spirit we achieve something that is final and absolute.
  • Power

Freedom means freedom from forces and circumstances which would turn man into a thing, which would impose on man the passivity and predictability of matter. By this test, absolute power is the manifestation most inimical to human uniqueness. Absolute power wants to turn people into malleable clay.
  • Power

To the excessively fearful the chief characteristic of power is its arbitrariness. Man had to gain enormously in confidence before he could conceive an all-powerful God who obeys his own laws.
  • Power

That which corrodes the souls of the persecuted is the monstrous inner agreement with the prevailing prejudice against them.
  • Prejudice


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Part 2
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Eric Hoffer's Quotes About ...
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Change
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Part 4
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