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50 George Bernard Shaw Quotes on Life, Love and Change



George Bernard Shaw quotes on Everyday Power Blog!

Who is George Bernard Shaw?

George Bernard Shaw was a playwright who was born on July 26, 1856 in Dublin, Ireland. Under his mother’s guidance and regular visits to the National Gallery of Ireland, his exploration of the world of the arts began extremely early in his life.

By 1876, George Bernard Shaw had decided to become a writer, but he struggled financially – so much so, that his mother was essentially supporting him while he spent time working on his first novels in the British Museum reading room.

Despite the amount of time he spent working on writing his novels, they were widely rejected by publishers and became dismal failures.

Because of this, Shaw turned to politics and the activities of the British intelligentsia – he even joined and became actively involved in the Fabian Society – a socialist group whose goal was to transform England through a more vibrant political and intellectual base – in 1884.

The next year, Shaw began writing book reviews and art, music, and theater criticism, and he was even brought on to the Sunday Review as its theater critic in 1895. At this point, he finally found his creative writing calling – writing plays.

Shaw’s first plays were published in two volumes: “Plays Unpleasant” (which included Widowers’ Houses, The Philanderer and Mrs. Warren’s Profession) and “Plays Pleasant” (which included Arms and the Man, Candida, The Man of Destiny and You Never Can Tell).

These plays were filled with Shaw’s signature wit and social criticism, but they would not end up being his best remembered.

However, towards the end of the 19th Century, Shaw finally found his niche with Caesar and Cleopatra (written in 1898), Man and Superman (1903), Major Barbara (1905), The Doctor’s Dilemma (1906), Androcles and the Lion (1912), Pygmalion (1912), and Saint Joan (1923).

Pygmalion’s screenplay won an Academy Award, and since Shaw had won the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature, his Oscar win made him the only person to receive both awards.

Shaw is an extremely inspirational writer and historical figure because no matter how many times he failed at writing, he kept trying until he found success, and stayed with his passion until he died in 1950 at age 94 – when he was working on yet another play.

George Bernard Shaw quotes on communication, love, and change



1.) If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”  – George Bernard Shaw


2.) “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. – George Bernard Shaw

3.) “[The] power of accurate observation … is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”  – George Bernard Shaw


4.) “The unconscious self is the real genius. Your breathing goes wrong the moment your conscious self meddles with it.”  – George Bernard Shaw


George Bernard Shaw quotes on communication


5.) “There are no secrets better kept than the secrets everybody guesses. – George Bernard Shaw


6.) “We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.” — via Columbia University Press – George Bernard Shaw

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7.) “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.” – George Bernard Shaw


8.) “He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – George Bernard Shaw


9.) “There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw quotes on life

10.) “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It’s the funniest joke in the world.” – George Bernard Shaw


11.) As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death – George Bernard Shaw


12.) The first prison I ever saw had inscribed on it CEASE TO DO EVIL: LEARN TO DO WELL; but as the inscription was on the outside, the prisoners could not read it.  – George Bernard Shaw


13.) Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.  – George Bernard Shaw


14.) A day’s work is a day’s work, neither more nor less, and the man who does it needs a day’s sustenance, a night’s repose and due leisure, whether he be painter or ploughman. – George Bernard Shaw


15.) A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic. – George Bernard Shaw


16.) A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education. – George Bernard Shaw


17.) A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. – George Bernard Shaw


George Bernard Shaw quotes on happiness


18.) A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth. – George Bernard Shaw


19.) Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them. – George Bernard Shaw


20.) An American has no sense of privacy. He does not know what it means.There is no such thing in the country. – George Bernard Shaw


21.) Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men. – George Bernard Shaw


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22.) Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. – George Bernard Shaw


23.) England and America are two countries separated by a common language. – George Bernard Shaw


More George Bernard Shaw quotes


24.) Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough. – George Bernard Shaw


25.) Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week. – George Bernard Shaw


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26.) Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich–something for nothing. – George Bernard Shaw


27.) Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history. – George Bernard Shaw


28.) Hell is full of musical amateurs. – George Bernard Shaw


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29.) I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation. – George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw quotes about life

30.) If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion. – George Bernard Shaw


31.) If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” – George Bernard Shaw


32.) If the lesser mind could measure the greater as a foot rule can measure a pyramid, there would be finality in universal suffrage. As it is, the political problem remains unsolved – George Bernard Shaw

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33.) There is no love sincerer than the love of food. – George Bernard Shaw


34.) When a man of normal habits is ill, everyone hastens to assure him that he is going to recover. When a vegetarian is ill (which fortunately very seldom happens), everyone assures him that he is going to die, and that they told him so, and that it serves him right. They implore him to take at least a little gravy, so as to give himself a chance of lasting out the night. – George Bernard Shaw


35.) A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows. – George Bernard Shaw

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36.) Better see rightly on a pound a week than squint on a million – George Bernard Shaw


37.) Cruelty would be delicious if one could only find some sort of cruelty that didn’t really hurt. – George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw quotes

38.) The censorship method … is that of handing the job over to some frail and erring mortal man, and making him omnipotent on the assumption that his official status will make him infallible and omniscient. – George Bernard Shaw


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39.) Reminiscences make one feel so deliciously aged and sad. – George Bernard Shaw


40.) There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it. – George Bernard Shaw


41.) All great truths begin as blasphemies. – George Bernard Shaw

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42.) The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw


43.) Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny. They have only shifted it to another shoulder. – George Bernard Shaw


44.) When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. – George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw quotes

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45.) We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it. – George Bernard Shaw


46.) Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity. – George Bernard Shaw


47.) The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for a living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art. – George Bernard Shaw


48.) A love affair should always be a honeymoon. And the only way to make sure of that is to keep changing the man; for the same man can never keep it up. – George Bernard Shaw


49.) Christianity as a specific doctrine was slain with Jesus, suddenly and utterly. He was hardly cold in his grave, or high in his heaven (as you please), before the apostles dragged the tradition of him down to the level of the thing it has remained ever since. – George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw Quotes