The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell: Summary and Quotes


“The Conquest of Happiness” is a self-help book written by the philosopher Bertrand Russell. The book explores the different factors that contribute to happiness, such as personal relationships, work, and leisure activities.

Russell argues that many people are unhappy because they focus too much on external factors, such as money and status, and neglect their internal state of mind. He suggests that individuals should focus on cultivating inner happiness by developing a sense of purpose and cultivating positive relationships with others.

Russell also discusses the role of work and leisure in contributing to happiness, arguing that individuals should seek work that they find meaningful and engaging and that they should cultivate hobbies and interests that bring them pleasure.

Overall, “The Conquest of Happiness” provides practical advice and insights into the nature of happiness, making it a valuable resource for anyone seeking to improve their well-being and quality of life.


“It is held that drink and petting are the gateways to joy, so people get drunk quickly and try not to notice how much their partners disgust them.”

“To prevent the perpetuation of poverty is necessary if the benefits of machine production are to accrue in any degree to those most in need of them; but what is the use of making everybody rich if the rich themselves are miserable?”

As a child, my favorite hymn was: “Weary of earth and laden with my sin.”

“I had the habit of meditating on my sins, follies, and shortcomings.”

“External discipline is the only road to happiness for those unfortunates whose self-absorption is too profound to be cured in any other way.”

“Self-absorption is of various kinds. We may take the sinner, the narcissist, and the megalomaniac as three very common types.”

“When I speak of “the sinner,” I do not mean the man who commits sins: sins are committed by every one or no one, according to our definition of the word. I mean the man who is absorbed in the consciousness of sin.”

“What drives them astray is devotion to an unattainable object (mother or mother-substitute) together with the inculcation, in early years, of a ridiculous ethical code.”

“Liberation from the tyranny of early beliefs and affections is the first step towards happiness for these victims of maternal “virtue.””

“In many women, especially rich society women, the capacity for feeling love is completely dried up, and is replaced by a powerful desire that all men should love them. When a woman of this kind is sure that a man loves her, she has no further use for him.”

“When vanity is carried to this height, there is no genuine interest in any other person, and therefore no real satisfaction to be obtained from love.”

“The man who is only interested in himself is not admirable, and is not felt to be so.”

“Vanity, when it passes beyond a point, kills pleasure in every activity for its own sake, and thus leads inevitably to listlessness and boredom.”

“The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved.”

“The typical unhappy man is one who, having been deprived in youth of some normal satisfaction, has come to value this one kind of satisfaction more than any other, and has therefore given to his life a one-sided direction, together with a quite undue emphasis upon the achievement as opposed to the activities connected with it.”

“Drunkenness, for example, is temporary suicide: the happiness that it brings is merely negative, a momentary cessation of unhappiness.”

“Their pride in their unhappiness makes less sophisticated people suspicious of its genuineness: they think that the man who enjoys being miserable is not miserable.”

“If he is of a philosophic disposition, he concludes that human life is essentially wretched, since the man who has all he wants is still unhappy. He forgets that to be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

“As for the painfulness of leaving things to one’s heir, that is a matter that may be looked at from two points of view: from the point of view of the heir it is distinctly less disastrous. Nor is the fact that all things pass in itself any ground for pessimism. If they were succeeded by worse things, that would be a ground, but if they are succeeded by better things, that is a reason for optimism.”

“There can be no value in the whole unless there is value in the parts.”

“Life is not to be conceived on the analogy of a melodrama in which the hero and heroine go through incredible misfortunes for which they are compensated by a happy ending.”

“There was more sex hunger than there is now, and this no doubt caused people to exaggerate the importance of ex, just as the ascetics have always done.”

“The cure lies not in lamentation and nostalgia for the past, but in a more courageous acceptance of the modern outlook and a determination to root out nominally discarded superstitions from all their obscure hiding places.”

“And not only is love a source of delight, but its absence is a source of pain.”

“A man who has never enjoyed beautiful things in the company of a woman whom he loved has not experienced to the full the magic power of which such things are capable.”

“Love is able to break down the hard shell of the ego, since it is a form of biological coöperation in which the emotions of each are necessary to the fulfillment of the other’s instinctive purposes.”

“Love is the first and commonest form of emotion leading to coöperation, and those who have experienced love with any intensity will not be content with a philosophy that supposes their highest good to be independent of that of the person loved.”

“To write tragedy, a man must feel tragedy. To feel tragedy, a man must be aware of the world in which he lives, not only with his mind but with his blood and sinews.”

“Everybody knows that a business man who has been ruined is better off so far as material comforts are concerned than a man who has never been rich enough to have the chance of being ruined.”

“What people mean, therefore, by the struggle for life is really the struggle for success.”

“What people fear when they engage in the struggle is not that they will fail to get their breakfast next morning, but that they will fail to outshine their neighbors.”

“The root of the trouble springs from too much emphasis upon competitive success as the main source of happiness.”

“Unless a man has been taught what to do with success after getting it, the achievement of it must inevitably leave him a prey to boredom.”

“There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.”

“Men and women appear to have become incapable of enjoying the more intellectual pleasures.”

“The trouble arises from the generally received philosophy of life, according to which life is a contest, a competition, in which respect is to be accorded to the victor.”

“Animals in captivity, it is true, become listless, pace up and down, and yawn, but in a state of nature I do not believe that they experience anything analogous to boredom.”

“One of the essentials of boredom consists in the contrast between present circumstances and some other more agreeable circumstances which force themselves irresistibly upon the imagination.”

“Boredom is essentially a thwarted desire for events, not necessarily pleasant ones, but just occurrences such as will enable the victim of ennui to know one day from another. The opposite of boredom, in a word, is not pleasure, but excitement.”

“We are less bored than our ancestors were, but we are more afraid of boredom.”

“As we rise in the social scale the pursuit of excitement becomes more and more intense. Those who can afford it are perpetually moving from place to place, carrying with them as they go gayety, dancing, and drinking, but for some reason always expecting to enjoy these more in a new place.”

“Wars, pogroms, and persecutions have all been part of the flight from boredom; even quarrels with neighbors have been found better than nothing.”

“Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.”

“Boredom, however, is not to be regarded as wholly evil. There are two sorts, of which one is fructifying, while the other is stultifying. The fructifying kind arises from the absence of drugs, and the stultifying kind from the absence of vital activities.”

“A life too full of excitement is an exhausting life, in which continually stronger stimuli are needed to give the thrill that has come to be thought an essential part of pleasure.”

“A certain power of enduring boredom is therefore essential to a happy life, and is one of the things that ought to be taught to the young.”

“The pleasures of childhood should in the main be such as the child extracts himself from his environment by means of some effort and inventiveness.”

“A child develops best when, like a young plant, he is left undisturbed in the same soil.”

“Whatever we may wish to think, we are creatures of Earth; our life is part of the life of the Earth, and we draw our nourishment from it just as the plants and animals do.”

“Love is an experience in which our whole being is renewed and refreshed as is that of plants by rain after drought. In sex intercourse without love there is nothing of this. When the momentary pleasure is ended, there is fatigue, disgust, and a sense that life is hollow. Love is part of the life of Earth; sex without love is not.”

“A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live.”

“Peasant women in all but the most advanced communities are old at thirty, worn out with excessive toil.”

“Physical labor carried beyond a certain point is atrocious torture, and it has very frequently been carried so far as to make life all but unbearable.”

“What the fear of dismissal is to the employee, the fear of bankruptcy is to the employer.”

“Voluntarily or involuntarily, of choice or of necessity, most moderns lead a nerve-racking life and are continually too tired to be capable of enjoyment without the help of alcohol.”

“Most men and women are very deficient in control over their thoughts.”

“Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.”

“What might be called hygiene of the nerves has been much too little studied. Industrial psychology, it is true, has made elaborate investigations into fatigue, and has proved by careful statistics that if you go on doing something for a sufficiently long time you will ultimately get rather tired—a result which might have been guessed without so much parade of science.”

“The trouble with emotional fatigue is that it interferes with rest.”

“One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important and that to take a holiday would bring all kinds of disaster.”

“When some misfortune threatens, consider seriously and deliberately what is the very worst that could possibly happen. Having looked this possible misfortune in the face, give yourself sound reasons for thinking that after all it would be no such very terrible disaster.”

“This is part of a more general technique for the avoidance of fear. Worry is a form of fear, and all forms of fear produce fatigue.”

“At odd moments horrible thoughts dart into our minds; what they are depends upon the person, but almost everybody has some kind of lurking fear.”

“The effort of turning away one’s thoughts is a tribute to the horribleness of the specter from which one is averting one’s gaze; the proper course with every kind of fear is to think about it rationally and calmly, but with great concentration, until it has been completely familiar.”

“Given more courage there would be less worry, and therefore less fatigue; for a very large proportion of the nervous fatigues from which men and women suffer at present are due to fears, conscious or unconscious.”

“A very frequent source of fatigue is love of excitement.”

“The trouble is that the pleasures which are easiest to obtain and most superficially attractive are mostly of a sort to wear out the nerves.”

“Envy is the basis of democracy. Heraclitus asserts that the citizens of Ephesus ought all to be hanged because they said, “There shall be none first among us.””

“Of all the characteristics of ordinary human nature envy is the most unfortunate; not only does the envious person wish to inflict misfortune and do so whenever he can with impunity, but he is also himself rendered unhappy by envy.”

“Whoever wishes to increase human happiness must wish to increase admiration and to diminish envy.”

“The habit of thinking in terms of comparison is a fatal one. When anything pleasant occurs it should be enjoyed to the full, without stopping to think that it is not so pleasant as something else that may possibly be happening to some one else.”

“For all this the proper cure is mental discipline, the habit of not thinking profitless thoughts.”

“If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon. But Napoleon envied Cæsar, Cæsar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I dare say, envied Hercules, who never existed.”

“You can get away from envy by enjoying the pleasures that come your way, by doing the work that you have to do, and by avoiding comparisons with those whom you imagine, perhaps quite falsely, to be more fortunate than yourself.”

“Unnecessary modesty has a great deal to do with envy. Modesty is considered a virtue, but for my part I am very doubtful whether, in its more extreme forms, it deserves to be so regarded.”

“Modest people believe themselves to be outshone by those with whom they habitually associate. They are therefore particularly prone to envy, and through envy, to unhappiness and ill will.”

“Envy is of course closely connected with competition. We do not envy a good fortune which we conceive as quite hopelessly out of our reach. In an age when the social hierarchy is fixed, the lowest classes do not envy the upper classes so long as the division between rich and poor is thought to be ordained by God.”

“Beggars do not envy millionaires, though of course they will envy other beggars who are more successful.”

“The poor envy the rich, the poorer nations envy the richer nations, women envy men, virtuous women envy those who, though not virtuous, remain unpunished.”

“Passions which work havoc in private life work havoc in public life also.”

“All bad things are interconnected, and any one of them is liable to be the cause of any other; more particularly, fatigue is a very frequent cause of envy.”

“When a man feels inadequate to the work he has to do, he feels a general discontent which is exceedingly liable to take the form of envy towards those whose work is less exacting.”

“In old days people only envied their neighbors, because they knew little about any one else. Now through education and the press they know much in an abstract way about large classes of mankind of whom no single individual is among their acquaintances.”

“There is a traditional religious psychology of sin which no modern psychologist can accept. It was supposed, especially by Protestants, that conscience reveals to every man when an act to which he is tempted is sinful, and that after committing such an act he may experience either of two painful feelings: one called remorse, in which there is no merit, and the other called repentance, which is capable of wiping out his guilt.”

“If a child has been conventionally educated by somewhat stern parents or nurses, the association between sin and the sex organs is so firmly established by the time he is six years old that it is unlikely ever to be completely undone throughout the rest of his life.”

“The sense of sin is especially prominent at moments when the conscious will is weakened by fatigue, by illness, by drink, or by any other cause.”

“Whenever it thrusts foolish thoughts or feelings into your consciousness, pull them up by the roots, examine them, and reject them.”

“Do not allow yourself to remain a vacillating creature, swayed half by reason and half by infantile folly.”

“Sharp practice in business of the sort not punished by law, harshness towards employees, cruelty towards wife and children, malevolence towards competitors, ferocity in political conflicts— these are the really harmful sins that are common among respectable and respected citizens.”

“I am not suggesting that a man should be destitute of morality, I am only suggesting that he should be destitute of superstitious morality, which is a very different thing.”

“An expansive and generous attitude towards other people not only gives happiness to others, but is an immense source of happiness to its possessor, since it causes him to be generally liked.”

“There is in many people a dislike of rationality, and where this exists the kind of thing that I have been saying will seem irrelevant and unimportant.”

“We are all familiar with the type of person, man or woman, who, according to his own account, is perpetually the victim of ingratitude, unkindness, and treachery. People of this kind are often extraordinarily plausible, and secure warm sympathy from those who have not known them long.”

“Very few people can resist saying malicious things about their acquaintances, and even on occasion about their friends; yet when people hear that anything has been said against themselves, they are filled with indignant amazement.”

“When we are compelled to admit that we have faults, we take this obvious fact far too seriously. Nobody should expect to be perfect, or be unduly troubled by the fact that he is not.”

“Love of power is insidious; it has many disguises, and is often the source of the pleasure we derive from doing what we believe to be good to other people.”

“And what applies to eating, applies to everything else. Whatever is to be done, can only be done adequately by the help of a certain zest, and zest is difficult without some self-regarding motive.”

“In all your dealings with other people, especially with those who are nearest and dearest, it is important and not always easy to remember that they see life from their own angle and as it touches their own ego, not from your angle and as it touches yours.”

“The fourth maxim that we mentioned consists of realizing that other people spend less time in thinking about you than you do yourself.”

“No satisfaction based upon self-deception is solid, and however unpleasant the truth may be, it is better to face it once for all, to get used to it, and to proceed to build your life in accordance with it.”

“Very few people can be happy unless on the whole their way of life and their outlook on the world is approved by those with whom they have social relations, and more especially by those with whom they live.”

“A young man or young woman somehow catches ideas that are in the air, but finds that these ideas are anathema in the particular milieu in which he or she lives.”

“Public opinion is always more tyrannical towards those who obviously fear it than towards those who feel indifferent to it.”

“A dog will bark more loudly and bite more readily when people are afraid of him than when they treat him with contempt, and the human herd has something of this same characteristic.”

“If you show that you are afraid of them, you give promise of good hunting, whereas if you show indifference, they begin to doubt their own power and therefore tend to let you alone.”

“Where the environment is stupid or prejudiced or cruel, it is a sign of merit to be out of harmony with it.”

“While it is desirable that the old should treat with respect the wishes of the young, it is not desirable that the young should treat with respect the wishes of the old.”

“Old and young alike, as soon as years of discretion have been reached, have a right to their own choices and if necessary to their own mistakes.”

“I think that in general, apart from expert opinion, there is too much respect paid to the opinions of others, both in great matters and in small ones. One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways.”

“The idea that one should know one’s immediate neighbors has died out in large centers of population, but still lingers in small towns and in the country.”

“More and more it becomes possible to choose our companions on account of congeniality rather than on account of mere propinquity.”

“Happiness is promoted by associations of persons with similar tastes and similar opinions.”

“The best way to increase toleration is to multiply the number of individuals who enjoy real happiness and do not therefore find their chief pleasure in the infliction of pain upon their fellow men.”

“Happiness is of two sorts, though, of course, there are intermediate degrees. The two sorts I mean might be distinguished as plain and fancy, or animal and spiritual, or of the heart and of the head.”

“The man who underestimates himself is perpetually being surprised by success, whereas the man who overestimates himself is just as often surprised by failure.”

“Of the more highly educated sections of the community, the happiest in the present day are the men of science. Many of the most eminent of them are emotionally simple, and obtain from their work a satisfaction so profound that they can derive pleasure from eating, and even marrying.”

“Complexity in emotions is like foam in a river.”

“Powerlessness makes people feel that nothing is worth doing, and comfort makes the painfulness of this feeling just endurable.”

“I knew a man who had lost the use of both legs in early youth, but he had remained serenely happy throughout a long life; he had achieved this by writing a work in five volumes on rose blight, on which I always understood he was the leading expert.”

“When men obtained their food by hunting, work was a joy, as one can see from the fact that the rich still pursue these ancestral occupations for amusement.”

“Belief in a cause is a source of happiness to large numbers of people.”

“Fads and hobbies, however, are in many cases, perhaps most, not a source of fundamental happiness, but a means of escape from reality, of forgetting for the moment some pain too difficult to be faced.”

“A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations.”

“To like many people spontaneously and without effort is perhaps the greatest of all sources of personal happiness.”

“It is possible to have an interest in things which is hostile rather than friendly.”

“And to demand too much is the surest way of getting even less than is possible.”

“The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.”

“What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life.”

“The man who enjoys watching football is to that extent superior to the man who does not. The man who enjoys reading is still more superior to the man who does not, since opportunities for reading are more frequent than opportunities for watching football.”

“The more things a man is interested in, the more opportunities of happiness he has and the less he is at the mercy of fate, since if he loses one thing he can fall back upon another.”

“We are all prone to the malady of the introvert, who, with the manifold spectacle of the world spread out before him, turns away and gazes only upon the emptiness within.”

“The forms of zest are innumerable. Sherlock Holmes, it may be remembered, picked up a hat which he happened to find lying in the street. After looking at it for a moment he remarked that its owner had come down in the world as the result of drink and that his wife was no longer so fond of him as she used to be. Life could never be boring to a man to whom casual objects offered such a wealth of interest.”

“Adventurous men enjoy shipwrecks, mutinies, earthquakes, conflagrations, and all kinds of unpleasant experiences, provided they do not go so far as to impair health.”

“I have known men die at the end of years of slow torture, and yet retain their zest almost till the last moment.”

“In the good life there must be a balance between different activities, and no one of them must be carried so far as to make the others impossible.”

“All our separate tastes and desires have to fit into the general framework of life. All our separate tastes and desires have to fit into the general framework of life.”

“. As the legendary Chinaman said: “Me no drinkee for drinkee, me drinkee for drunkee.” This is typical of all excessive and one-sided passions. It is not pleasure in the object itself that is sought, but oblivion.”

“Young children are interested in almost everything that they see and hear; the world is full of surprises to them, and they are perpetually engaged with ardor in the pursuit of knowledge, not, of course, of scholastic knowledge, but of the sort that consists in acquiring familiarity with the objects that attract their attention.”

“Loss of zest in civilized society is very largely due to the restrictions upon liberty which are essential to our way of life.”

“The savage hunts when he is hungry, and in so doing is obeying a direct impulse.”

“In youth his liberty is restricted at school, in adult life it is restricted throughout his working hours. All this makes zest more difficult to retain, for the continual restraint tends to produce weariness and boredom.”

“In women, less nowadays than formerly but still to a very large extent, zest has been greatly diminished by a mistaken conception of respectability. It was thought undesirable that women should take an obvious interest in men, or that they should display too much vivacity in public.”

“For women as for men zest is the secret of happiness and well-being.”

“One of the chief causes of lack of zest is the feeling that one is unloved, whereas conversely the feeling of being loved promotes zest more than anything else does.”

“The man who feels himself unloved may take various attitudes as a result. He may make desperate efforts to win affection, probably by means of exceptional acts of kindness. In this, however, he is very likely to be unsuccessful, since the motive of the kindnesses is easily perceived by their beneficiaries, and human nature is so constructed that it gives affection most readily to those who seem least to demand it.”

“Those who face life with a feeling of security are much happier than those who face it with a feeling of insecurity, at any rate so long as their sense of security does not lead them to disaster.”

“It is affection received, not affection given, that causes this sense of security, though it arises most of all from affection which is reciprocal.”

“The child whose parents are fond of him accepts their affection as a law of nature. He does not think very much about it, although it is of great importance to his happiness. He thinks about the world, about the adventures that come his way and the more marvelous adventures that will come his way when he is grown up.”

“The child from whom for any reason parental affection is withdrawn is likely to become timid and unadventurous, filled with fears and self-pity, and no longer able to meet the world in a mood of gay exploration.”

“The affection given must be itself robust rather than timid, desiring excellence even more than safety on the part of its object, though of course by no means indifferent to safety.”

“Many people when they fall in love look for a little haven of refuge from the world, where they can be sure of being admired when they are not admirable, and praised when they are not praise-worthy.”

“To be unable to inspire sex love is a grave misfortune to any man or woman, since it deprives him or her of the greatest joys that life has to offer.”

“This is perhaps more true where men are concerned than it is as regards women, for on the whole women tend to love men for their character while men tend to love women for their appearance.”

“The better sort of affection corresponds to the feeling of the man whose ship is secure, the less excellent sort corresponds to that of the shipwrecked swimmer.”

“The best type of affection is reciprocally life-giving: each receives affection with joy and gives it without effort, and each finds the whole world more interesting in consequence of the existence of this reciprocal happiness.”

“Ambition which excludes affection from its purview is generally the result of some kind of anger or hatred against the human race, produced by unhappiness in youth, by injustices in later life, or by any of the causes which lead to persecution mania.”

“A too powerful ego is a prison from which a man must escape if he is to enjoy the world to the full.”

“In sex relations there is very often almost nothing that can be called real affection, not infrequently there is even a fundamental hostility. Each is trying not to give himself or herself away, each is preserving fundamental loneliness, each remains intact and therefore unfructified.”

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps most fatal to true happiness.”

“Affection of parents for children and of children for parents is capable of being one of the greatest sources of happiness, but in fact at the present day the relations of parents and children are, in nine cases out of ten, a source of unhappiness to both parties, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred a source of unhappiness to at least one of the two parties.”

“This is of course a very grave limitation, for the causes of family unhappiness in our day are of the most diverse sorts, psychological, economic, social, educational, and political. Where the well-to-do sections of the community are concerned, two causes have combined to make women feel parenthood a burden far heavier than it was ever felt to be in former times. These two causes are, on the one hand, the opening of careers to single women; on the other hand, the decay of domestic service.”

“Since parents have lost their economic power over their daughters, they have become much more chary of expressing moral disapproval of them; there is not much use in scolding a person who won’t stay to be scolded.”

“When the evening comes and her husband returns from his work, the woman who talks about her day-time troubles is a bore, and the woman who does not is absent-minded.”

“The change in the relation between parents and children is a particular example of the general spread of democracy. Parents are no longer sure of their rights as against their children; children no longer feel that they owe respect to their parents.”

“Psychoanalysis has terrified educated parents with the fear of the harm they may unwittingly do their children. If they kiss them, they may produce an Œdipus complex; if they do not, they may produce a fury of jealousy. If they order the children to do things, they may be producing a sense of sin; if they do not, the children acquire habits which the parents think undesirable.”

“Parenthood, which used to be a triumphant exercise of power, has become timid, anxious, and filled with conscientious doubts.”

“The most civilized are the most sterile; the least civilized are the most fertile; and between the two there is a continual gradation.”

“One’s friends like one for one’s merits, one’s lovers for one’s charms; if the merits or the charms diminish, friends and lovers may vanish.”

“Mothers who feel baffled and incompetent when faced with their children, as many mothers do, should have no hesitation in having their children cared for by women who have an aptitude for this work and have undergone the necessary training.”

“Most of the idle rich suffer unspeakable boredom as the price of their freedom from drudgery.”

“Work therefore is desirable, first and foremost, as a preventive of boredom, for the boredom that a man feels when he is doing necessary though uninteresting work is as nothing in comparison with the boredom that he feels when he has nothing to do with his days.”

“With this advantage of work another is associated, namely that it makes holidays much more delicious when they come.”

“However dull work may be, it becomes bearable if it is a means of building up a reputation, whether in the world at large or only in one’s own circle.”

“Continuity of purpose is one of the most essential ingredients of happiness in the long run, and for most men this comes chiefly through their work.”

“The domesticated wife does not receive wages, has no means of bettering herself, is taken for granted by her husband (who sees practically nothing of what she does), and is valued by him not for her housework but for quite other qualities.”

“Two chief elements make work interesting: first, the exercise of skill, and second, construction.”

“We may distinguish construction from destruction by the following criterion. In construction the initial state of affairs is comparatively haphazard, while the final state of affairs embodies a purpose: in destruction the reverse is the case; the initial state of affairs embodies a purpose, while the final state of affairs is haphazard, that is to say, all that is intended by the destroyer is to produce a state of affairs which does not embody a certain purpose.”

“You kill your enemy, and when he is dead your occupation is gone, and the satisfaction that you derive from victory quickly fades.”

“The most satisfactory purposes are those that lead on indefinitely from one success to another without ever coming to a dead end; and in this respect it will be found that construction is a greater source of happiness than destruction.”

Shakespeare says of his verse: “So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, so long lives this.”

“Without self-respect genuine happiness is scarcely possible. And the man who is ashamed of his work can hardly achieve self-respect.”

“Consistent purpose is not enough to make life happy, but it is an almost indispensable condition of a happy life. And consistent purpose embodies itself mainly in work”

“One of the sources of unhappiness, fatigue, and nervous strain is inability to be interested in anything that is not of practical importance in one’s own life.”

“As a man gets more tired, his external interests fade, and as they fade he loses the relief which they afford him and becomes still more tired.”

“However important a worry may be, it should not be thought about throughout the whole of the waking hours.”

“Men on the whole find it very much easier to forget their work than women do.”

“Their purposes govern their thoughts and their activities, and they seldom become absorbed in some wholly irresponsible interest.”

“A little work directed to a good end is better than a great deal of work directed to a bad end, though the apostles of the strenuous life seem to think otherwise.”

“Any one of these four is acting wisely, whereas the man who does nothing to distract his mind and allows his troubles to acquire a complete empire over him is acting unwisely and making himself less fit to cope with his troubles when the moment for action arrives.”

“Grief is unavoidable and must be expected, but everything that can be done should be done to minimize it.”

“Among those that I regard as harmful and degrading I include such things as drunkenness and drugs, of which the purpose is to destroy thought, at least for the time being.”

“For all these reasons the man who pursues happiness wisely will aim at the possession of a number of subsidiary interests in addition to those central ones upon which his life is built.”

“For in a world so full of avoidable and unavoidable misfortunes, of illness and psychological tangles, of struggle and poverty and ill will, the man or woman who is to be happy must find ways of coping with the multitudinous causes of unhappiness by which each individual is assailed.”

“Where one sex is in the minority, as men are in England and women are in Australia, members of that sex require, as a rule, little effort in order to marry as they wish.”

“The kind of power that a man desires depends upon his predominant passions; one man desires power over the actions of men, another desires power over their thoughts, a third power over their emotions.”

“Every kind of public work involves desire for some kind of power, unless it is undertaken solely with a view to the wealth obtainable by corruption.”

“The only man totally indifferent to power is the man totally indifferent to his fellow men.”

“Many people get into a fret or a fury over every little thing that goes wrong, and in this way waste a great deal of energy that might be more usefully employed. Even in the pursuit of really important objects, it is unwise to become so deeply involved emotionally that the thought of possible failure becomes a constant menace to peace of mind.”

“Efficiency in a practical task is not proportional to the emotion that we put into it; indeed emotion is sometimes an obstacle to efficiency.”

“Resignation is of two sorts, one rooted in despair, the other in unconquerable hope. The first is bad; the second is good.”

“Worry and fret and irritation are emotions which serve no purpose.”

“I do not suggest that one should see oneself always as a clown in comedy, for those who do this are even more irritating; a little tact is required in choosing a rôle appropriate to the situation.”

“Work that is worth doing can be done even by those who do not deceive themselves either as to its importance or as to the ease with which it can be done.”

“The man who is unhappy will, as a rule, adopt an unhappy creed, while the man who is happy will adopt a happy creed; each may attribute his happiness or unhappiness to his beliefs, while the real causation is the other way round.”

“Fear is the principal reason why men are so unwilling to admit facts and so anxious to wrap themselves round in a warm garment of myth.”

“The happy man is the man who lives objectively, who has free affections and wide interests, who secures his happiness through these interests and affections and through the fact that they, in turn, make him an object of interest and affections to many others.”

“Undoubtedly we should desire the happiness of those whom we love, but not as an alternative to our own.”

“All unhappiness depends upon some kind of disintegration or lack of integration; there is disintegration within the self through lack of coördination between the conscious and the unconscious mind; there is lack of integration between the self and society, where the two are not knit together by the force of objective interests and affections.”

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