Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

101 Inspiring Quotes by Sydney J. Harris

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Sydney J. Harris.

Wikipedia Summary for Sydney J. Harris

Sydney J. Harris (September 14, 1917 – December 7, 1986) was an American journalist for the Chicago Daily News and, later, the Chicago Sun-Times. He wrote 11 books and his weekday column, “Strictly Personal,” was syndicated in approximately 200 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada.

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

--Sydney J. Harris


brown and gray brick wall

But what is significant is that if you don't want to like and accept somebody, one excuse is as good as another. The objective facts don't matter, and the reasons are never as ‘reasonable' as we like to think they are.

--Sydney J. Harris

photo of mountains

A 'penchant for telling the truth' can cripple a candidates chances faster than being caught in flagrante delicto with the governor's wife.

--Sydney J. Harris


white clouds and blue sky during daytime

Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour. Happiness is a direction, not a place.

--Sydney J. Harris

green and white abstract painting

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.

--Sydney J. Harris

stars across the sky view at the desert

The truest test of independent judgment is being able to dislike someone who admires us, and to admire someone who dislikes us.

--Sydney J. Harris

sunset forest

Elitism is the slur directed at merit by mediocrity.

--Sydney J. Harris

green textile in close up image

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, but the perpetual human predicament is that the answer soon poses its own problems.

--Sydney J. Harris

brown wooden board

When you run into someone who is disagreeable to others, you may be sure he is uncomfortable with himself; the amount of pain we inflict upon others is directly proportional to the amount we feel within us.

--Sydney J. Harris


shallow focus photo of green leaves

Many persons of high intelligence have notoriously poor judgement.

--Sydney J. Harris

brown sands

Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.

--Sydney J. Harris

black and white window illustration

Gourmet: Usually little more than a glutton festooned with credit cards.

--Sydney J. Harris

bird's eye view photography of trees and body of water

Every morning I take out my bankbook, stare at it, shudder -- and turn quickly to my typewriter.

--Sydney J. Harris

black Sony point-and-shoot camera on yellow surface

A famously wise old man in a village was once asked how he came by his wisdom. "I got it from my good judgment," he answered. And where did his good judgment come from? "I got it from my bad judgment."

--Sydney J. Harris

None

The most important tactic in an argument, next to being right, is to leave an escape hatch for your opponent, so that he can gracefully swing over to your side without an embarrassing loss of face.

--Sydney J. Harris

None

The art of listening needs its highest development in listening to oneself; our most important task is to develop an ear that can really hear what we're saying.

--Sydney J. Harris

sunset

When we have "second thoughts" about something, our first thoughts don't seem like thoughts at all -- just feelings.

--Sydney J. Harris

silhouette photo of mountain during night time

Middle Age is that perplexing time of life when we hear two voices calling us, one saying, Why not? and the other, Why bother?

--Sydney J. Harris

raging waves through shores

Man's unique agony as a species consists in his perpetual conflict between the desire to stand out and the need to blend in.

--Sydney J. Harris

orange and white floor tiles

But the culture-vultures and the intellectual snobs, and the self-appointed guardians of the Muses, often frighten off the average person from the free development of this appetite.

--Sydney J. Harris



black and white bird on seashore

History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.

--Sydney J. Harris

silhouette of stones during golden hour

Any creed whose basic doctrines do not include respect for the creeds of others, is simply power politics masquerading as philosophy.

--Sydney J. Harris


landscape photo of mountain during nighttime

Many a secret that cannot be pried out by curiosity can be drawn out by indifference.

--Sydney J. Harris

time lapse photography of lightning during storm

We truly possess only what we are able to renounce; otherwise, we are simply possessed by our possessions.

--Sydney J. Harris

toddlers standing outdoors

We can often endure an extra pound of pain far more easily than we can suffer the withdrawal of an ounce of accustomed pleasure.

--Sydney J. Harris

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

As long as there are human beings, there will be the idea of brotherhood -- and an almost total inability to practice it.

--Sydney J. Harris

woman snorkeling

The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.

--Sydney J. Harris

None

The pessimist sees only the tunnel; the optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel; the realist sees the tunnel and the light -- and the next tunnel.

--Sydney J. Harris

raging waves through shores

Why do so many people yearn for an eternal life when they don't even know what to do with themselves in this brief one?

--Sydney J. Harris

mountains covered with fog

There is no such thing as an "atrocity" in warfare that is greater than the atrocity of warfare itself.

--Sydney J. Harris

boy standing on grass and facing fence during daytime

Those who imagine that the world is against them have generally conspired to make it true.

--Sydney J. Harris

group of people waving their hands

Just about the only interruption we don't object to is applause.

--Sydney J. Harris


Happiness is a direction, not a place.

--Sydney J. Harris

silhouette of flower during sunset

As the horsepower in modern automobiles steadily rises, the congestion of traffic steadily lowers the average possible speed of your car. This is known as Progress.

--Sydney J. Harris


pink concrete wall during daytime

Knowledge fills a large brain; it merely inflates a small one.

--Sydney J. Harris


brown and white humming bird

Much as a teacher may wince at the thought, he is also an entertainer--for unless he can hold his audience, he cannot really instruct or edify them.

--Sydney J. Harris


person holding white book

You may be sure that when a man begins to call himself a realist he is preparing to do something that he is secretly ashamed of doing.

--Sydney J. Harris

feet in stream

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.

--Sydney J. Harris

white flowers

Character is something you forge for yourself; temperament is something you are born with and can only slightly modify.

--Sydney J. Harris

None

The commonest fallacy among women is that simply having children makes them a mother -- which is as absurd as believing that having a piano makes one a musician.

--Sydney J. Harris


depth photography of purple petaled flowers

Any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell belongs there.

--Sydney J. Harris



green trees beside body of water during daytime

If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?

--Sydney J. Harris

person standing on top of mountain

The best thing you can give children, next to good habits,
are good memories.

--Sydney J. Harris


green ceramic mug on wooden desk

Filth is always a sign of weakness -- in the mouth of the user and in the mind of the writer.

--Sydney J. Harris

silhouette of tree during sunset

The principal difference between love and hate is that love is a irradiation, and hate is a concentration. Love makes everything lovely; hate concentrates itself on the object of its hatred.

--Sydney J. Harris

crack in wall

Ignorance per se is not nearly as dangerous as ignorance of ignorance.

--Sydney J. Harris

selective focus photography of woman taking selfie

Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a "necessary evil," it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil.

--Sydney J. Harris

group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

The severest test of character is not so much the ability to keep a secret as it is, when the secret is finally out, to refrain from disclosing that you knew it all along.

--Sydney J. Harris

crescent moon above mountain

As WArden Lawes once said of convicts, no man can be called a failure until he has tried something he really likes, and fails at it.

--Sydney J. Harris



blue and white painted wall

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we have stopped saying 'It got lost,' and say, 'I lost it.'

--Sydney J. Harris

black fishes

Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.

--Sydney J. Harris


black and white abstract illustration

Marriages we regard as the happiest are those in which each of the partners believes he or she got the best of it.

--Sydney J. Harris

blue and white abstract painting

Many married couples separate because they quarrel incessantly, but just as many separate because they were never honest enough or courageous enough to quarrel when they should have.

--Sydney J. Harris

black textile on white background

A winner knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others; a loser wants to be considered an expert by others before he has learned enough to know how little he knows.

--Sydney J. Harris



mountains covered with fog

Every rule in the book can be broken, except one -- be who you are, and become all you were meant to be.

--Sydney J. Harris

person standing on rock formation during daytime

If the devil could be persuaded to write a bible, he would title it, "You Only Live Once.

--Sydney J. Harris

white wall paint with black line

If you want to know what a man's character is really like... ask him to tell you the living person he most admires -- for hero worship is the truest index of a man's private nature.

--Sydney J. Harris

person sleeping on gray gang chair

Terrorism" is what we call the violence of the weak, and we condemn it; "war" is what we call the violence of the strong, and we glorify it.

--Sydney J. Harris

silhouette of man looking towards left

The world has always been betrayed by decent men with bad ideals.

--Sydney J. Harris

brown sands

The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.

--Sydney J. Harris

sunset

The primary purpose of a liberal education is to make one's mind a pleasant place in which to spend one's leisure.

--Sydney J. Harris

leafless tree on snow covered ground

There's no point in burying a hatchet if you're going to put up a marker on the site.

--Sydney J. Harris

gray concrete floor

At it's highest level, the purpose of teaching is not to teach--it is to inspire the desire for learning. Once a student's mind is set on fire, it will find a way to provide its own fuel.

--Sydney J. Harris

white and gray floral bed sheet

Many people feel "guilty" about things they shouldn't feel guilty about, in order to shut out feelings of guilt about things they should feel guilty about.

--Sydney J. Harris

full moon in the sky

Western civilization has not yet learned the lesson that the energy we expend in 'getting things done' is less important than the moral strength it takes to decide what is worth doing and what is right to do.

--Sydney J. Harris

silhouette of man standing on hill during starry night

The art of living consists in knowing which impulses to obey and which must be made to obey.

--Sydney J. Harris

brown and gray brick wall

Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.

--Sydney J. Harris

white concrete building

The deepest and rarest kind of courage has nothing to do with feats or obstacles in the outside world; and, indeed, has nothing to do with the outside world -- it is the courage to be who you are.

--Sydney J. Harris

green leaf

Genealogy: A perverse preoccupation of those who seek to demonstrate that their forebears were better people than they are.

--Sydney J. Harris

flowers beside yellow wall

Somebody who never got over the embarrassing fact that he was born in bed with a lady.

--Sydney J. Harris

gray concrete surface

We evaluate others with a Godlike justice, but we want them to evaluate us with a Godlike compassion.

--Sydney J. Harris

two gray pencils on yellow surface

The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, 'I was wrong'.

--Sydney J. Harris


blue and white striped textile

Maturity begins when we're content to feel we're right about something without feeling the necessity to prove someone else wrong.

--Sydney J. Harris


silhouette of trees during nighttime

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.

--Sydney J. Harris

group of elephant on brown field under white clouds during daytime

The reason that truth is stranger than fiction is that fiction has to have a rational thread running through it in order to be believable, whereas reality may be totally irrational.

--Sydney J. Harris

red flower in shallow focus lens

An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.

--Sydney J. Harris


silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

Hockey's the only place where a guy can go nowadays and watch two white guys fight.

--Sydney J. Harris


man riding on white horse on the hill

Perseverance is the most overrated of traits, if it is unaccompanied by talent; beating your head against a wall is more likely to produce a concussion in the head than a hole in the wall.

--Sydney J. Harris

body of water

Those obsessed with health are not healthy; the first requisite of good health is a certain calculated carelessness about oneself.

--Sydney J. Harris

We wish you a perfect day!