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The Wisest Quotes by Leo Tolstoy

Last updated on Sep 6th, 2015

The Wisest Quotes by Leo Tolstoy

Russian writer, essayist, philosopher, and political thinker Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, known as Leo Tolstoy was born September 9, 1828, into a family of Russian nobility. Although it’s been more than a hundred years after his death, he still ranks among the world’s best writers. Many consider him the greatest writer of all time.

Mostly he wrote novels and short stories, but later in life also wrote essays and plays. Two best Tolstoy’s novels are War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). They can be found in almost every list of the most popular novels of all time. Besides them, the more important works include: Family Happiness (1859), A Confession (1882), The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1894), Resurrection (1899), and Hadji Murat (1912).

Below are some of the wisest quotes by Leo Tolstoy.

1
Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. War and Peace (1869)
2
If one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be… Anna Karenina (1877)
3
Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. War and Peace (1869)
4
Love, why I don’t like the word is that it means too much to me, far more than you can understand. Anna Karenina (1877)
5
If it true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts. Anna Karenina (1877)
6
Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow; but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them. Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (1856)
7
It is not beauty that endears, it’s love that makes us see beauty. War and Peace (1869)
8
What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness! The Kreutzer Sonata (1889)
9
All we can know is that we know nothing and that is the highest flight of human wisdom. War and Peace (1869)
10
If no one fought except on his own conviction, there would be no wars. War and Peace (1869)
11
All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow. Anna Karenina (1877)
12
Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the society of clever women. War and Peace (1869)
13
Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking… The Life of Tolstoy: Later years by Aylmer Maude (1911)
14
Respect! That was invented to cover up the lack of love. Anna Karenina (1877)
15
There is nothing stronger than those two: patience and time, they will do it all. War and Peace (1869)
16
There is no greatness where simplicity, goodness and truth are absent. War and Peace (1869)
17
If you want to be happy, try only to please God, not people. Wise Thoughts for Every Day: On God, Love, the Human Spirit, and Living a Good Life
18
The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity. The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894)
19
Art is not a handicraft; it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced. What Is Art? (1897)
20
Art lifts man from his personal life into the universal life. What Is Art? (1897)
21
Art is the uniting of the subjective with the objective, of nature with reason, of the unconscious with the conscious, and therefore art is the highest means of knowledge. What Is Art? (1897)
22
The idea of beauty is the fundamental idea of everything. In the world we see only distortions of the fundamental idea, but art, by imagination, may lift itself to the height of this idea. Art is therefore akin to creation. What Is Art? (1897)
23
Everyone thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself. 'Three Methods Of Reform' in Pamphlets: Translated from the Russian (1900)
24
A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral. Letter to Dr. Eugen Heinrich Schmitt
25
All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Anna Karenina (1877)
26
If you look for perfection, you will never be satisfied. Anna Karenina (1877)
27
Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.  War and Peace (1869)
28
A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest,
nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor – such is my idea of happiness. 
Family Happiness (1859)
29
Is it possible to say what one really feels? Anna Karenina (1877)