We are Home sapiens. It is the scientific name of our species and means “wise man”. Some of this wisdom is reflected in this collection of proverbs and quotes.

The Thinker – Photo by Mark B. Schlemmer

” … perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling

” … there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling

” … you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist!”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling

“There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!”

The Hobbit – Chapter 18 – The Return Journey
J.R.R. Tolkien

A beard signifies lice, not brains.

A big heart is better than a big brain.

A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world.

Louis Pasteur

A brain is worth little without a tongue.

A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.


A clever person turns great troubles into little ones and little ones into none at all.

Chinese proverb

A clever wife often sleeps with a stupid husband.

Chinese proverb

A drop of wisdom is better than a sea of gold.

A fool’s mind is at the mercy of his tongue and a wise man’s tongue is under the control of his mind.


A generalist knows nothing about everything. A specialist knows everything about nothing. Most people are both: they know nothing about nothing.


A handful of patience is worth a bushel of brains.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

George Bernard Shaw

A man likes his wife to be just clever enough to appreciate his cleverness, and just stupid enough to admire it.

Israel Zangwil

A proverb is one man's wit and all men's wisdom.

Lord John Russell

A single conversation across a table with a wise man is worth a month’s study of books.

Chinese proverb

A single moment of understanding can flood a whole life with meaning.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

Greek proverb

A stupid friend is a greater plague than a wise enemy.

A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.

Bertrand Russell

A wise man cares not for that which he cannot have


A wise man is he who does not grieve for the thing which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.


A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.

David Hume

A wise man remembers his friends at all times; a fool, only when he has need of them


A wise woman puts a grain of sugar into everything she says to a man, and takes a grain of salt with everything he says to her.

Helen Rowland

A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.

Bill Cosby

A word to the wise ain’t necessary, it is the stupid ones who need all the advice.

Bill Cosby

Actually, it takes only very few brain cells to be stupid.


After all, to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
J.K. Rowling

Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.

Thomas Jefferson

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.

Friedrich Nietzsche

An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

When you work you avoid temptation to do bad things.

An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend.

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.

Victor Hugo

An ounce of luck is better than a pound of wisdom.

To succeed, you often just need a bit of luck.

An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.

And the worms ate into his brain.

Hey You
Roger Waters – Pink Floyd

Angry people are not always wise.

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

Any fool can get into a fight, but a wise man knows how to stay out of them.

The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett

Any problem can be solved.

Aristotle taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.

Will Cuppy

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity


As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.

Ecclesiastes 10:1

As one grows older, one becomes wiser and more foolish.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Be happy. It’s one way of being wise.

Sidonie Gabrielle

Beauty is the wisdom of women. Wisdom is the beauty of men.


Beauty passes, wisdom remains


Beetle brain.

Not too clever

Beneath all old sayings lies the truth.


Between a fellow who is stupid and honest and one who is smart and crooked, I will take the first. I won’t get much out of him, but with that other guy I can’t keep what I’ve got.

Gen Lewis B Hershey

Boasting begins where wisdom stops.

Brain is worth more than brawn.

By others faults the wise correct their own.

Cabbage: A vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head.

Ambrose Bierce

Children and fools tell the truth.

Cleverness is not wisdom.


Continual cheerfulness is a sign of wisdom.

Crazy, Over the rainbow, I am crazy

Pink Floyd
The Trial (The Wall)

Deal with the faults of others as gently as your own.

Chinese proverb

Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.


Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition in knowledge you forget something that you knew before.

Sherlock Holmes
A Study in Scarlet
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again?

Winnie the Pooh

Don't you think it's sometimes wise not to grow up.

Mick Jagger

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Even if I know nothing, I will still say something.


Every problem can be solved.

Everyone thinks he has more than his share of brain.

Everything I know I learned after I was thirty.

Georges Clemenceau

Experience is the father of wisdom.

Through experience you will gain better judgement.

Eyes that see do not grow old


Find enough clever things to say, and you’re a Prime Minister; write them down and you’re a Shakespeare.

George Bernard Shaw

Fools are wise until they speak.

Randle Cotgrave

Fools speak while the wise listen


For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.

Stephen Hawking

Friendship is love with understanding.

From the pine tree, learn of the pine tree.
From the bamboo, learn of the bamboo.


Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.

Elbert Hubbard

Go to the ant thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

Proverbs 6:6

God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.

The Fly
Ogden Nash

Good to know that when I die everybody’s IQ will go up.


Gray hair is a sign of age, not wisdom.

Great minds think alike.

You say this when you have the same opinion as another person.

Half a brain is too much for him who says little.

Half the world is composed of idiots, the other half of people clever enough to take indecent advantage of them.

Walter Kerr

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.

Ernest Hemingway

He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.

The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien

He was a wise man who invented beer.


He was as noble and fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer.

The Hobbit – Chapter 3 – A Short Rest
J.R.R. Tolkien
About Elrond.

He who deals with a blockhead will need a lot of brains.

He who knows nothing, doubts nothing.

He who rises early will gather wisdom.

He’s a nitwit.

He’s a stupid person. A foolish person.

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

Oscar Wilde

I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man.

Henry David Thoreau

I have the brain of a dung beetle. It’s full of shit.


I mused for a few moments on the question of which was worse, to lead a life so boring that you are easily enchanted or a life so full of stimulus that you are easily bored.
But then it occured to me that musing is a pointless waste of anyone’s time, …

Lost Continent
Bill Bryson

I never argue, I just explain why I'm right.


I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones.

John Peel

I think, one seldom regrets something one has done as much as one regrets what one might have done, and did not.

A Presumption of Death
Dorothy L. Sayers

I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.

The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien

I would rather have an average weight or an average income than an average intelligence.


If a rich man ate a snake, they would say it was because of his wisdom; if a poor man ate it, they would say it was because of his stupidity.

Saudi Arabian proverb

If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.


If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought.

Dennis Roch

If the brain sows not corn, it plants thistles.

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

William Blake

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.

Mark Twain

If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

Sirius Black
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
J.K. Rowling

If you wish good advice, consult an old man.

Old people have more experience than younger ones.

If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.


Ignorance is bliss.

Illusion is the dust the devil throws in the eyes of the foolish.

Naked Truth and Veiled Allusions
Minna Thomas Antrim

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

John Lennon

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.

John Adams

In the olive grove, a wise man at the feet and a wild man at the head.


In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria.

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Stephen Hawking

It is from listening to old men that you learn wisdom.

It is great cleverness to known when to conceal one’s cleverness.

Francois de la Rochefoucauld

It is more easy to be wise for others than for ourselves.

François de La Rochefoucauld

It is much easier for good to deal with evil than it is for good to deal with stupidity.

Unknown source

It is not fit that every man should travel; it makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.

William Hazlitt

It is one of my rules in life, never to notice what I don’t understand.

Gabriel Betteredge
The Moonstone
Wilkie Collins

It takes great wisdom to play the fool.

It’s a miracle that brainless people can talk.


It’s good to be clever, but not to show it.

French proverb

Jealousy is a strange transformer of characters.

Sherlock Holmes
The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Just found out what ‘sublimation’ means … it happens to my brain all the time.


Knowledge in youth is wisdom in age.

Early experiences will be very valuable later.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.

Jimi Hendrix

Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery.

Life is sexually transmitted.

Long on hair, short on brains.

Long whiskers cannot take the place of brains.

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in 'just being'. Allow nature to teach you stillness. When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself.

Eckhart Tolle

Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.

Albert Schweitzer

Many complain of their looks, but none of their brains.

Memory is the treasure of the mind.

My mind's made up. Don't confuse me with the facts.

Never call a meeting until the outcome is a foregone conclusion

World Without End
Ken Follett

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.


Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

Robert A. Heinlein

No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does.

Francois de la Rochefoucauld

No wisdom like silence.

Non-intellectual people overestimate the power of reason among intellectuals.

The Late Scholar: Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane Investigate
Jill Paton Walsh, Dorothy L.Sayers

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.


Of what significance are the things you can forget.

Henry David Thoreau

Old is gold.

There are important lessons to be learned from the past.

One always has the idea of a stupid man as perfectly healthy and ordinary, and of illness as making one refined and clever and unusual.

Thomas Mann

One is wise to cultivate the tree that bears fruit in our soul.

Henry David Thoreau

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

Will Durant

One stupid person asks more than ten wise ones can spare time answering.

Only in Britain could it be thought a defect to be ‘too clever by half.’ The probability is that too many people are too stupid by three-quarters.

John Major

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.


Our greatest stupidities may be very wise.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Patience is the companion of wisdom.

Saint Augustine

Penny wise, pound foolish.

This refers to someone who is careful about spending small amounts of money, but not careful about spending large amounts.

People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.

Stephen Hawking

Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.

Stephen Hawking

Question everything!

Rack your brains.

Try hard to remembers something or to figure something out.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

Seneca the Younger

Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the future.

Native American

Silence is music to a wise man.

Turkish proverb

Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.

Francis Bacon

Smart who smiles, stupid who laughs.

Some people should come with a ‘brains not included’ sticker.

Laurel Clive

Strange as it may seem, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it.

Stephen Vizinczey

Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice.

Stupid solutions that succeed are still stupid solutions.

Stupidity is a form of wisdom.


Television may insult your intelligence, but nothing rubs it in like a computer


Tell me I’m clever, Tell me I’m kind, Tell me I’m talented, Tell me I’m cute, Tell me I’m sensitive, Graceful and wise, Tell me I’m perfect, – But tell me the truth.

Shel Silverstein

The believer is happy; the doubter is wise.

Hungarian proverb

The brain is not in the pocket, but in the head.

The brains of a fox will be of little service if you play with the paw of a lion.

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

The fool needs company, the wise solitude.


The foolish slogans of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him.


The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.

Proverbs 11:30

The greatest poorness is the lack of brains.

The halfwit spoke, and the brainless believed.

The less the brains, the bigger the hat.

The mob has many heads but no brains.

The mouth of an elderly man is without teeth, but never without words of wisdom.

The next best thing to being clever is being able to quote someone who is.

Mary Pettibone Poole

The nuclear generator of brain sludge is television.

Dave Barry

The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.

The only stupid question is the question you don’t ask.

The question now is: Can we understand our stupidity? This is a test of intellect, not of character.

John King Fairbank

The silliest woman can manage a clever man; but it needs a clever woman to manage a fool.

Rudyard Kipling

The stone age was marked by man’s clever use of crude tools; the information age, to date, has been marked by man’s crude use of clever tools.

Unknown source

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

Thomas Szasz

The thing about smart people is that they seem like crazy people to dumb people.

Stephen Hawking

The three most difficult to understand; the mind of a woman, the labor of the bees and the ebb and flow of the tide.

Unknown source

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

Bertrand Russell

The wise bee does not sip from a flower that has fallen.


The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.


The words of elders are like the gooseberry: bitter at first, then sweet.

There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.

Josh Billings

There are only two races on this planet-the intelligent and the stupid.

John Fowles

There's a lot of wisdom in backing up


Three humble shoemakers brainstorming will make a great statesman.

Chinese proverb

To a great mind, nothing is little.

Sherlock Holmes
A Study in Scarlet
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

To be clever enough to get all the money, one must be stupid enough to want it.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Bertrand Russell

To question a wise man is the beginning of wisdom.

Too clever is stupid.

Trouble brings experience, and experience brings wisdom.

Unknown source

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.


We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands the wise is wise already.

G.C. Lichtenberg

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.


We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet

Stephen Hawking

Wealth gets in the way of wisdom.

What I look forward to is continued immaturity followed by death.

Dave Barry

What is life but a series of moments?

Unknown source

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

Jean Jacques Rousseau

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.


Where there are no brains, there is no feeling.

Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions.

Eckhart Tolle

Wisdom consists of ten parts; nine parts of silence and one part with few words.

Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.

Tom Wilson

Wisdom is a form of stupidity.


Wisdom is better than strength.

Wisdom is born; stupidity is learned.

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.


Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be.


Wise men create proverbs and fools repeat them.

Samuel Palmer

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.


Wise people are foolish if they cannot adapt to foolish people.


With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Steven Weinberg

Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook.

Words are like the spider’s web: a shelter for the clever ones and a trap for the not-so-clever.


You are ushered in according to your dress; shown out according to your brains.

You can borrow brains, but you can’t borrow character.

You can buy education, but wisdom is a gift from God.


You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.

Naguib Mahfouz

Youth has its romance, and maturity its wisdom, as morning and spring have their freshness, noon and summer their power, night and winter their repose.

The Life of Charlotte Brontë — Volume 2
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell