10 Great Quotes from George Bernard Shaw on His Birthday

Some wise and witty quotes from the great Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).

It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman despise him. – Preface to Pygmalion

When I was a young man I observed that nine out of every ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work. – The Wordsworth Book of Humorous Quotations

Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same. – Maxims for Revolutionists


He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. – Major Barbara

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious. – Saturday Review, 1895

Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get. – Man and Superman


I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.

The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else. – The Quintessence of Ibsenism

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

Image (top): George Bernard Shaw by William Strang (1907), Wikimedia Commons, public domain. Image (bottom): George Bernard Shaw (1936), Wikimedia Commons, public domain.


  1. Pingback: October 11 in Literature: George Bernard Shaw Praises Stalin | Interesting Literature

  2. Pingback: Scurte #260 | Assassin CG

  3. I love the one about the illusion of communication, which is still true today in spite of our vast array of communication devices. Pure genius…

  4. GBS – one of the greats! I hope you won’t mind me reblogging.

  5. Reblogged this on Bookheathen's Right to Read and commented:
    A man of great wit indeed! My favorite is “Do not do unto others…..”

  6. Loved these – especially the one about the career in politics. The one about communication too – so true, so true …

  7. Love this, especially the last. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Those truly are great quotes. I especially liked the second, the third and the fifth. Trolls, it seems, have been around long before the internet.

  9. Wonderful quotes…. going to have to read some of his stuff. Anyone care to recommend a good starter?

  10. Reblogged this on The Woods Between the Worlds and commented:
    Super fantastic quote.

  11. Pingback: Make More Chance to Succeed | Tagari

  12. Reblogged this on Dr Campbell's English Class and commented:
    Today would have been the great George Bernard Shaw’s 158th birthday! Enjoy some of his wit and wisdom courtesy of ‘Interesting Literature’…

  13. This is a great collection of clever words… How I wish I had such wit!

  14. Another of those genius Irishmen :)

  15. Thanks for posting this!

  16. Oops. He said all this on his birthday?

  17. He said on this on his birthday?

  18. Reblogged this on Merida's Night Writer and commented:
    We need laughter more than ever. I don’t read the news any more to stop the tears. GBS had the gift like many another Brit. This is high praise coming from a Paddy.

  19. My word – what wit!

  20. Since my b’day is tomorrow I’m re-blogging these quotes without giving you or GBS credit on Not really. LOL Thanks for the gift of laughter. We need it more than ever.

  21. Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    Some interesting quotes from George Bernard Shaw on the Interesting Literature blog. My favorite is a quote from Major Barbara. You’ll have to read the post to find :)

  22. What a rip-roaring wit the man had.

  23. Spice is added by the words of the madman

  24. I am so happy to have stumbled onto this blog! I am a high school English teacher, and I believe it will be a valuable resource for me. Thank you!

  25. Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog and commented:
    Happy birthday George