Quotes arranged by Author, O

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Oates, Joyce Carol
  • Only when men are connected to large, universal goals are they really happy - and one result of their happiness is a rush of creative activity.

  • Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into anotherís skin, anotherís voice, anotherís soul.

Obama, Barack

  • Libraries remind us that truth isn't about who yells the loudest, but who has the right information. Because even as we're the most religious of people, America's innovative genius has always been preserved because we also have a deep faith in facts. (speech to the American Library Assn., June 2005)

  • More than a building that houses books and data, the library has always been a window to a larger world--a place where we've always come to discover big ideas and profound concepts that help move the American story forward. (speech to the American Library Assn., June 2005)

Oberst, Karen L.

  • Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth ... may we begin to see the world in the light of understanding you give us.

    As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may we worship you in meekness of heart. May we also remember our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves in this season of giving. Amen (Light Came at Christmas: Services for the Advent Wreath)

  • When they ask me at the Post Office if my package contains anything dangerous, I never know quite how to answer. It contains books, and if a book isn't dangerous, then why was it written?

O'Brian, Edna

  • In a way winter is the real spring, the time when the inner thing happens, the resurge of nature. ("Clara" Mrs. Reinhardt)

Obrien, Edward Sutherland Michael, see Comandini, Adele

O'Casey, Sean

  • Laughter is wine for the soul--laugh soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness. Comedy and tragedy step through life together, arm in arm... Once we can laugh, we can live.

  • Wealth often takes away chances from men as well as poverty. There is none to tell the rich to go on striving, for a rich man makes the law that hallows and hollows his own life.

  • You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea; you cannot put an idea up against the barrack-square wall and riddle it with bullets; you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell your slaves could ever build.

O'Connell, Daniel

  • Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.

O'Conner, Flannery

  • Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

O'Conner, Sandra Day

  • Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.

  • We pay a price when we deprive children of the exposure to the values, principles, and education they need to make them good citizens.

O'Connor, Elizabeth

  • Because our gifts carry us out into the world and make us participants in life, the uncovering of them is one of the most important tasks confronting any one of us. (Eighth Day of Creation: Gifts and Creativity)

O'Connor, Mary

  • It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.

O'Conor, Hugh

  • I think we can't go 'round measuring our goodness by what we don't do, what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include. (Chocolat)

Odiorue, George S.

  • Nothing gives a man a sense of failure so often as an overdeveloped sense of perfection.

Odlum, Hortense

  • One of the greatest satisfactions one can ever have comes from the knowledge that he can do something superlatively well. (A Woman's Place)

O'Donnell, Bridget

  • She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

O'Donohue, John

  • Although you should not erase your responsibility for the past, when you make the past your jailer, you destroy your future. It is such a great moment of liberation when you learn to forgive yourself, let the burden go, and walk out into a new path of promise and possibility. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • The beauty of nature insists on taking its time. Everything is prepared. Nothing is rushed. The rhythm of emergence is a gradual, slow beat; always inching its way forward, change remains faithful to itself until the new unfolds in the full confidence of true arrival. Because nothing is abrupt, the beginning of spring nearly always catches us unawares. It is there before we see it; and then we can look nowhere without seeing it. (Benedictus)

  • Celtic spirituality is awakening so powerfully now because it illuminates the fact that the visible is only one little edge of things. The visible is only the shoreline of the magnificent ocean of the invisible. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • Creativity is rich with unexpected possibility. Know-how is mere fragmented mechanics which lacks tradition. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • Each of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. ... When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.

  • Habit is a strong invisible prison. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • In order to inherit your freedom, you need to go towards it. You have to claim your own freedom before it becomes yours. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong )

  • In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have. (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

  • It's a dangerous thing to name yourself wrongly or to name yourself unjustly. (Speaking of Faith interview, Feb. 28, 2008)

  • Memory is the place where our vanished days secretly gather. ... The past seems to be gone and absent. Yet the grooves in the mind hold the traces and vestiga of everything that has ever happened to us. Nothing is ever lost or forgotten. (Eternal Echoes)

  • Sometimes ideas hold us down; they become heavy anchors that hold the bark of identity fixated in shallow, dead water. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • There is a quiet light that shines in every heart. It draws no attention to itself though it is always secretly there. It is what illuminates our minds to see beauty, our desire to seek possibility and our hearts to love life. Without this subtle quickening our days would be empty and wearisome, and no horizon would ever awaken our longing. Our passion for life is quietly sustained from somewhere in us that is wedded to the energy and excitement of life. This shy inner light is what enables us to recognize and receive our very presence here as blessing. (Benedictus)

  • To have true integrity, poise, and courage is to be attuned to the silent and invisible nature within you. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • The way you look at things is the most powerful force in shaping your life. (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

  • We have surface time, which is the time we move through every day, but we need to reach the rhythms of deep time. Like the ocean is all waves and movement on the surface, we need to sink through time to the depths where the true rhythm lies. (Speaking of Faith interview, Feb. 28, 2008)

  • We rush through our days in such stress and intensity, as if we were here to stay and the serious project of the world depended on us. We worry and grow anxious; we magnify trivia until they become important enough to control our lives. Yet all the time we have forgotten that we are but temporary sojourners on the surface of a strange planet spinning slowly in the infinite night of the cosmos. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • When we become isolated, we are prone to being damaged; our minds lose their flexibility and natural kindness; we become vulnerable to fear and negativity. The sense of belonging keeps you in balance amidst the inner and outer immensities. The ancient and eternal values of human life - truth, unity, goodness, justice, beauty, and love are all statements of belonging; they are also the secret intention and dream of human longing. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • When you learn to embrace your self with a sense of appreciation and affection, you begin to glimpse the goodness and light that is in you and gradually you will realize that you are worthy of respect from yourself. When you recognize your limits, but still embrace your life with affection and graciousness, the sense of inner dignity begins to grow. You become freer and less dependent on the affirmation of outer voices and less troubled by the negativity of others. (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)

  • When you tame and domesticate the divine it loses its danger and it's power to forgive you, make you happy, or its power to challenge you, and call you towards new growth. (Speaking of Faith interview, Feb. 28, 2008)

Oech, Roger von see Von Oech, Roger

O'Faolain, Sean

  • Pessimists are usually kind. The gay, bubbling over, have no time for the pitiful.

Ogawa, Yoko

  • Solving a problem for which you know thereís an answer is like climbing a mountain with a guide, along a trail someone else has laid. In mathematics, the truth is somewhere out there in a place no one knows, beyond all the beaten paths. And itís not always at the top of the mountain. It might be in a crack on the smoothest cliff or somewhere deep in the valley. (The Housekeeper and the Professor)

Ogilivie, Heneage (Sir)

  • The really idle man get nowhere. The perpetually busy man does not get much farther.

Ogilvy, David

  • Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of the immortals.

Ohanian, Susan

  • A teacher's day is half bureaucracy, half crisis, half monotony and one-eighth epiphany. Never mind the arithmetic. (Ask Ms. Class)

  • Trusting children and books is a revolutionary act. Books are, after all, dangerous stuff. Leave a child alone with a book and you don't know what might happen.

  • We could revolutionize education if we asked every person connected with the education of children, "Read any good books lately?"

Ohmae, Kenich

  • It is hard to let old beliefs go. They are familiar. We are comfortable with them and have spent years building systems and developing habits that depend on them. Like a man who has worn eyeglasses so long that he forgets he has them on, we forget that the world looks to us the way it does because we have become used to seeing it that way through a particular set of lenses. Today, however, we need new lenses. And we need to throw the old ones away.

Okri, Ben

  • Yes, the highest things are beyond words. That is probably why all art aspires to the condition of wordlessness. When literature works on you, it does so in silence, in your dreams, in your wordless moments. Good words enter you and become moods, become the quiet fabric of your being. Like music, like painting, literature too wants to transcend its primary condition and become something higher. Art wants to move into silence, into the emotional and spiritual conditions of the world. Statues become melodies, melodies become yearnings, yearnings become actions.

Oldham, Ronnie

  • Excellence is the Result of Caring more than others think is Wise, Risking more than others think is Safe, Dreaming more than others think is Practical, and Expecting more than others think is Possible.

Oldfield, Elizabeth

  • Christianity provides for believers belonging, purpose, meaning and hope. ... Crucially though, Christianity is not a shared identity that should allow you to retreat into tribalism. These positive benefits should instead be used to serve, not attack, those outside the group. ("Thought for the Day," October 11, 2016)

Olinghouse, Lane

  • If opportunity came disguised as temptation, one knock would be enough.

Oliver, Mary

  • Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. ("Of Power and Time" in Upstream: Selected Essays)

  • In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love, and the ability to ask questions. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us. (Upstream)

  • Instructions for living a life.
    Pay attention.
    Be astonished.
    Tell about it.

  • Someone I loved once gave me
    a box full of darkness.
    It took me years to understand
    that this, too, was a gift.

  • We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.

  • Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    The world offers itself to your imagination,
    Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
    Over and over announcing your place
    In the family of things.

Olivier, Laurence (Sir)

  • I take a simple view of living. It is, keep you eyes open and get on with it.

Olson, Robert

  • Every new idea looks crazy at first. (The Art of Creative Thinking)

Olson, Sigurd F.

  • Life is good to those who know how to live. I do not ever hope to accumulate great funds of worldly wealth, but I shall accumulate something far more valuable, a store of wonderful memories. When I reach the twilight of life I shall look back and say I'm glad I lived as I did, life has been good to me.

O'Malley, Austin

  • God shows his contempt for wealth by the kind of person he selects to receive it.

O'Malley, Martin

  • Leaders exhibit two essential characteristics, the willingness to confront adversity and a clearly articulated future preference.

Omar Khayyam

  • Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.

  • The thoughtful soul to solitude retires.

  • The value of three things is justly appreciated by all classes of men: youth, by the old; health, by the diseased; and wealth, by the needy.

Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy

  • There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.

Oppenheim, James

  • The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

Oppenheimer, J. Robert

  • The optimist thinks this is the best of all worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.

Orben, Robert

  • Don't think of it as failure. Think of it as time-released success.

  • A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.

O'Reilly, John Boyle

  • When honor comes to you, be ready to take it;
    But reach not to seize it before it is near. (Rules of the Road)


  • Free will is the power of choosing good and evil.

O'Rourke, P. J.

  • Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

Orr, David

  • The planet does not need more "successful" people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.

Orr, Louis

  • Science will never be able to reduce the value of a sunset to arithmetic. Nor can it reduce friendship to formula. Laughter and love, pain and loneliness, the challenge of beauty and truth: these will always surpass the scientific mastery of nature. (speech to the American Medical Association, 6/6/60)

Ortberg, John

  • Practice the discipline of not having to be right. (Soul Keeping)

Ortega, Clara

  • The mildest, drowsiest sister has been known to turn tiger if her sibling is in trouble.

  • To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.

Ortega y Gasset, Jose

  • Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do.

  • We cannot put off living until we are ready.

  • The world is the sum-total of our vital possibilities. (The Revolt of the Masses)

Orwell, George

  • If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. (intro to Animal Farm)

  • In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

  • Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind.

  • Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

O'Shaughnessy, Arthur

  • We are the music makers.
    We are the dreamers of dreams,
    Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
    And sitting by desolate streams;--
    World-losers and world-forsakers,
    On whom the pale moon gleams:
    Yet we are the movers and shakers
    Of the world for ever, it seems.


  • Character development is the great, if not the sole, aim of education.

Osler, William (Sir)

  • Banish the future. Live only for the hour and its allotted work. Think not of the amount to be accomplished, the difficulties to be overcome, or the end to be attained, but set earnestly at the little task at your elbow, letting that be sufficient for the day.

  • To have striven, to have made the effort, to have been true to certain ideals--this alone is worth the struggle.

  • The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

Osment, Kimberly

  • SOME DAYS... we are neither called to give a man a fish OR to teach him to fish but just to wrap him in salve and bind up his wounds! There are too few Good Samaritans! (on Facebook, 2/6/12)

Osmund, Marie

  • If you're going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.

Otto, Herbert

  • Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.

Ouida, see, De La Ramee, Marie Louise

Oursler, Fulton

  • Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.

Overstreet, Bonaro W.

  • Autumn ... makes a double demand. It asks that we prepare for the future--that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go--to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.--Bonaro W. Overstreet ("Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness")

  • October is a symphony of permanence and change.--Borono W. Overstreet ("Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness")

Overton, Patrick

  • When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.

Ovian, Mason

  • Make sure that you let them know that you love them while you still have many years to go.


  • At times it is folly to hasten; at other times, to delay. The wise do everything in its proper time.

  • Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish.

  • Happy the person who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying, once and for all.

  • In our play we reveal what kind of people we are. (The Art of Love)

  • There is no such thing as pure pleasure; some anxiety always goes with it. (Metamorphoses)

Oxenham, John

  • To every man there openeth A way, and ways, and a way. And the high soul climbs the high way, And the low soul gropes the low: And in between, on the misty flats, The rest drift to and fro. But to every man there openeth A high way and a low, And every man decideth. The way his soul shall go.

Ozrick, Cynthia

  • When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren't grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.

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