Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

Usually when Christmas is over, there is always that one gift that was the highlight. Last year, for me that gift was The 17th edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.

For those unfamiliar with John Bartlett, he was a bookseller from Cambrige and in 1855 he self-published A Book of Familiar Quotations.

I use this thick, coffee-table-worthy book all the time. Most often for perusing through it and spouting our random quotes to entertain when company is visiting. But it is also quite handy for writing speeches, lectures and blog posts.

Some of my favorites to quote include Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Licoln and Robert Louis Stevenson.

I could not tell you what my favorite quotes are because they always seems to change based upon my mood. However, I will share with you two quotes from Benjamin Franklin. I am using these in my notes for the seminar I am teaching later on today about life vision, focus and work-ethic.

Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.


When men are employed, they are best contented; for on the days they worked they were good-natured and cheerful, and, with the consciousness of having done a good day’s work, they spent the evening jollily; but on our idle days the were mutinous and quarrelsome.

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations