The Wisest Quotes by Leo Tolstoy

Last updated on Nov 7th, 2020

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.

Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.Book Four, Part One, Chapter XVI, War and Peace (1869)

If one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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If one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be.Part Six, Chapter 18, Anna Karenina (1877)

Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.Book Two, Part One, Chapter XI, War and Peace (1869)

Love... The reason I don't like that word is because it means too much to me, far more than you can understand. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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Love… The reason I don’t like that word is because it means too much to me, far more than you can understand.Part Two, Chapter VII, Anna Karenina (1877)

Only people capable of loving deeply can experience profound grief; but the very necessity they feel to love serves as an antidote to grief and heals them. - Leo Tolstoy (Childhood, Boyhood, Youth Quotes)
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Only people capable of loving deeply can experience profound grief; but the very necessity they feel to love serves as an antidote to grief and heals them.Part Childhood, Chapter 28. Last Sad Memories, Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (1856)

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. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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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.Part Two, Chapter VII, Anna Karenina (1877)

It is not beauty that endears, it's love that makes us see beauty. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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It is not beauty that endears, it’s love that makes us see beauty.Epilogue, Part One, Chapter IX, War and Peace (1869)

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness. - Leo Tolstoy (The Kreutzer Sonata Quotes)
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It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.Chapter V, The Kreutzer Sonata (1889)

We can only know that we know nothing. And that's the highest degree of human wisdom. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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We can only know that we know nothing. And that’s the highest degree of human wisdom.Book Two, Part Two, Chapter I, War and Peace (1869)

All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.Part One, Chapter XI, Anna Karenina (1877)

If every one would only fight for his own convictions, there'd be no war. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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If every one would only fight for his own convictions, there’d be no war.Book One, Part One, Chapter V, War and Peace (1869)

Respect was invented to cover up the empty place where there should be love. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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Respect was invented to cover up the empty place where there should be love.Part Seven, Chapter XXIV, Anna Karenina (1877)

Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the society of clever women. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the society of clever women.Book One, Part One, Chapter III, War and Peace (1869)

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... - Leo Tolstoy Quotes
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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)

There is nothing stronger than those two: patience and time, they will do it all. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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There is nothing stronger than those two: patience and time, they will do it all.Book Three, Part Two, Chapter XVI, War and Peace (1869)

Art is not a handicraft; it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced. - Leo Tolstoy (What Is Art? Quotes)
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Art is not a handicraft; it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.Chapter XIX, What Is Art? (1897)

There is no greatness there where simplicity, goodness, and truth are absent. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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There is no greatness there where simplicity, goodness, and truth are absent.Book Four, Part Three, Chapter XVIII, War and Peace (1869)

If you want to be happy, try only to please God, not people. - Leo Tolstoy Quotes
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If you want to be happy, try only to please God, not people.Septenber 13. Vanity and Fame, Wise Thoughts for Every Day (2005)

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity. - Leo Tolstoy (The Kingdom of God is Within You Quotes)
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The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.Chapter XII, The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894)

Art lifts man from his personal life into the universal life. - Leo Tolstoy (What Is Art? Quotes)
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Art lifts man from his personal life into the universal life.Chapter III, What Is Art? (1897)

Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed.Part Two, Chapter IX, Anna Karenina (1877)

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. - Leo Tolstoy (What Is Art? Quotes)
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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.Chapter III, What Is Art? (1897)

If you feel that you are not free, look for the reason inside you. - Leo Tolstoy (A Calendar of Wisdom Quotes)
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If you feel that you are not free, look for the reason inside you.July 3, A Calendar of Wisdom (1909)

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. - Leo Tolstoy (What Is Art? Quotes)
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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.Chapter III, What Is Art? (1897)

Everyone thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself. - Leo Tolstoy Quotes
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Everyone thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.'Three Methods Of Reform' in Pamphlets: Translated from the Russian (1900)

Life in this world is not a vale of tears, not a trial, but a thing that surpasses our imagination. - Leo Tolstoy (A Calendar of Wisdom Quotes)
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Life in this world is not a vale of tears, not a trial, but a thing that surpasses our imagination.April 4, A Calendar of Wisdom (1909)

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. - Leo Tolstoy Quotes
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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

All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.Part One, Chapter I, Anna Karenina (1877)

Life could be limitless joy, if we would only take it for what it is, in the way it is given to us. - Leo Tolstoy (A Calendar of Wisdom Quotes)
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Life could be limitless joy, if we would only take it for what it is, in the way it is given to us.April 4, A Calendar of Wisdom (1909)

Man can be master of nothing while he fears death, but he who does not fear it possesses all. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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Man can be master of nothing while he fears death, but he who does not fear it possesses all.Book Three, Part Three, Chapter IX, War and Peace (1869)

If you look for perfection, you will never be satisfied. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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If you look for perfection, you will never be satisfied.Part Seven, Chapter IV, Anna Karenina (1877)

If it seems to us that we are not satisfied with life, we should see this as a reason to be unsatisfied with ourselves. - Leo Tolstoy (A Calendar of Wisdom Quotes)
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If it seems to us that we are not satisfied with life, we should see this as a reason to be unsatisfied with ourselves.May 31, A Calendar of Wisdom (1909)

Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy. - Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace Quotes)
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Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.Book Four, Part Four, Chapter I, War and Peace (1869)

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. - Leo Tolstoy (Family Happiness Quotes)
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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.Part I, Chapter V, Family Happiness (1859)

Is it possible to tell another person what you are feeling? - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
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Is it possible to tell another person what you are feeling?Part Seven, Chapter XXIX, Anna Karenina (1877)

The only real science is the knowledge of how a person should live his life. And this knowledge is open to everyone. - Leo Tolstoy (A Calendar of Wisdom Quotes)
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The only real science is the knowledge of how a person should live his life. And this knowledge is open to everyone.January 18, A Calendar of Wisdom (1909)

Love them that hate you, but to love those one hates is impossible. - Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina Quotes)
37

Love them that hate you, but to love those one hates is impossible.Part Four, Chapter XII, Anna Karenina (1877)

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him. - Leo Tolstoy (The Kingdom of God is Within You Quotes)
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The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.Chapter III, The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894)

If life is given us for life's sake, there is no reason for living. - Leo Tolstoy (The Kreutzer Sonata Quotes)
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If life is given us for life’s sake, there is no reason for living.Chapter XI, The Kreutzer Sonata (1889)