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40 Henry David Thoreau Quotes – Simple & Unique

This collection of quotes by Henry David Thoreau is another example of inspiring words of wisdom and thoughtful life lessons.

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) was an American author, poet and philosopher who is still well known in the present day as a leading figure in environmental philosophy.

Even though he was a popular literary figure during his time, today he is most respected for his political writings and especially his reflections on living simply and close to nature.

What were Henry David Thoreau’s beliefs?

Thoreau believed that people should live a life of simplicity, both in the way they lived and also in their thoughts.

He argued that many people were far too obsessed with material objects, instead of focusing on more fundamental aspects like human values like kindness and compassion. Much like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau believed in self reliance and the underutilized power of our individual thoughts.


Henry David Thoreau Quotes


It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. Henry David Thoreau


If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Henry David Thoreau


Simplify your life. Don’t waste the years struggling for things that are unimportant. Don’t burden yourself with possessions. Keep your needs and wants simple and enjoy what you have. Don’t destroy your peace of mind by looking back, worrying about the past. Live in the present. Simplify! Henry David Thoreau


I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. Henry David Thoreau


Live the life you’ve dreamed. Henry David Thoreau


Things do not change; we change. Henry David Thoreau


Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify. Henry David Thoreau


What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us. Henry David Thoreau


There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself. Henry David Thoreau


If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau


Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground. Henry David Thoreau


Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still. Henry David Thoreau


Maturity is when all of your mirrors turn into windows. Henry David Thoreau


The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run. Henry David Thoreau


In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high. Henry David Thoreau


It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau


How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. Henry David Thoreau


It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know. Henry David Thoreau


The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. Henry David Thoreau


We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success. Henry David Thoreau


You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Henry David Thoreau


Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. Henry David Thoreau


Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake. Henry David Thoreau


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. Henry David Thoreau


It is never too late to give up our prejudices. Henry David Thoreau


I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. Henry David Thoreau


Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. Henry David Thoreau


Men have become the tools of their tools. Henry David Thoreau


Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Henry David Thoreau


Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. Henry David Thoreau


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Henry David Thoreau


Goodness is the only investment that never fails. Henry David Thoreau


Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something. Henry David Thoreau


It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are… than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise. Henry David Thoreau


The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. Henry David Thoreau


Henry David Thoreau Quotes on Love


There is no remedy for love but to love more. Henry David Thoreau


The heart is forever inexperienced. Henry David Thoreau


Henry David Thoreau Quotes on Friendship


The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend. Henry David Thoreau


Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams. Henry David Thoreau


The language of friendship is not words but meanings. Henry David Thoreau


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