Nothing Praiseworthy In Sacrifice In Itself And Other Worthy Views By Somerset Maugham

There can be nothing praiseworthy in sacrifice in itself as remarked by the English writer of novels, short stories and plays, Somerset Maugham.

What Maugham was implying is the act of sacrifice itself has nothing to praise about.

He elaborated that before a man does a self-sacrificing thing, he may reasonably ask himself if it is worth while.

Maugham continued mockingly that people must find self-sacrifice so intensely pleasurable, to the extend they are willing to sacrifice themselves for the most ignoble objects.

Well, this is just one of Maugham’s many thought-provoking opinions found in his “A Writer’s Notebook“.

In this book there are jottings of his thoughts, reflections, observations, autobiographical notes and also seed ideas of his many stories.

Maugham wrote down anything or anyone who caught his fancy, during his days as a doctor, in his travels and his time as a writer of stories and plays.

nothing praiseworthy in sacrifice in itself

This journal covers over five decades of his life and work, from his younger days as a medical student to his career as a successful writer, together with his philosophical observations of people, life, art and even religion.

Nothing Praiseworthy In Sacrifice In Itself

Sacrifice some of your precious time and check out Somerset Maugham’s take on life, luck, writing, reading, God and other topics.


“…I am always suspicious of a novelist’s theories; I have never known them to be anything other than a justification of his own shortcomings.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, Preface, P. V)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, Preface)


“Considering how foolishly people act and how pleasantly they prattle, perhaps it would be better for the world if they talked more and did less.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 1)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“Music-hall songs provide the dull with wit, just as proverbs provide them with wisdom.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 1)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1892, P. 1)


“Good luck always brings merit, but merit very seldom brings good luck.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 1)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“A parson is paid to preach, not to practise.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, Maxims of the Vicar, P. 1)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892, Maxims Of the Vicar)


“Reading does not make a man wise; it only makes him learned.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 2)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“Respectability is the cloak under which fools cover their stupidity.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 2)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“No action is in itself good or bad, but only such according to convention.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 2)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“An old maid is always poor. When a spinster is rich she is an unmarried woman of a certain age.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 2)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“Genius should use mediocrity as ink wherewith to write its name in the annals of the world.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 2)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“Genius is talent provided with ideals.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 2)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“Genius starves while talent wears purple and fine linen.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 2)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“The man of genius of today will in fifty years’ time be in most cases no more than a man of talent.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 2)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1892, P. 3)


“How happy life would be if an undertaking retained to the end the delight of its beginning, if the dregs of a cup of wine were as sweet as the first sip.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 4)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“How ugly most people are! It’s a pity they don’t try to make up for it by being agreeable.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 5)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“Most people are such fools that it really is no great compliment to say that a man is above the average.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 5)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“How the gods must have chuckled when they added Hope to the evils with which they filled Pandora’s box, for they knew very well that this was the cruellest evil of them all, since it is Hope that lures mankind to endure its misery to the end.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1892, P. 5)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1892)


“Love will be stronger and last longer if there are impediments to its gratification.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1894, P. 10)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1894)


“The love of self is the mainspring of every man’s action, it is the essence of his character; and it is fair to suppose that it is necessary for his preservation.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1894, PP. 10-11)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1894, PP. 13-14)

(The second part of the quote is found here.)


“If selfishness were not regarded as a vice no one would be more inconvenienced by it than he is by the Law of Gravity; no one would expect his fellow-men to act otherwise than according to their own interests.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1894, P. 11)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1894, P. 14)


“It is a good maxim to ask of no one more than he can give without inconvenience to himself.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1894, P. 11)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1894)


“People are never so ready to believe you as when you say things in dispraise of yourself; and you are never so much annoyed as when they take you at your word.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 13)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“Anyone can tell the truth, but only very few of us can make epigrams.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd, 1919, 1896, P. 13)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1896, P. 17)


“A woman may be as wicked as she likes, but if she isn’t pretty it won’t do her much good.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 14)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“There is a pleasant irony in the gilded youth who goes to the devil all night and to eight o’clock Mass next morning.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 14)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 14)

(This quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“The intellect is such a pliable and various weapon that man provided with it, is practically bereft of all others; but it is a weapon of no great efficacy against instinct.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 14)

(This quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“People often feed the hungry so that nothing may disturb their own enjoyment of a good meal.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 15)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“It is a false idea of virtue which thinks it demands the sacrifice of inclination and consists only in this sacrifice. An action is not virtuous merely because it is unpleasant to do.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 15)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“The more intelligent a man is the more capable is he of suffering.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 15)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“If women exhibit less emotion at pain it does not prove that they bear it better, but rather that they feel it less.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 15)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“It is but seldom that a man loves once and for all; it may only show that his sexual instincts are not very strong.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 15)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


Men have an extraordinarily erroneous opinion of their position in nature; and the error is ineradicable.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 16)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“Enviable is the man who feels little, so that he is unaffected either by the extremes of bliss or of grief.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, PP. 16-17)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“No man in his heart is quite so cynical as a well-bred woman.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 17)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1896, P. 21)


“People continually ruin their lives by persisting in actions against which their sensations rebel.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 18)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1896, P. 23)


“If you don’t deny yourself for others they look upon you as detestably selfish; but they bear with astonishing fortitude the ills you may incur by the sacrifices you have made for their sake.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 18)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“Women can give you an exact and circumstantial account of some quite insignificant conversation with a friend years before; and what is worse, they do.”  – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 18)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“Our conduct towards our fellow-men is determined by the principle of self-preservation.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 18)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1949, 1896, P. 18)


“Nature and art, even against one’s will, persuade one of the grandeur of man; and it is only science that reveals his utter insignificance.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 19)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1949, 1896, P. 19)


“Science is the consoler and the healer of troubles, for it teaches how little things matter and how unimportant is life with all its failures.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 19)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 2011, 1896, P. 19)


“To eschew pleasures because they are fleeting or are followed by satiety is as stupid as to refuse to eat because one’s appetite is soon appeased and after one has satisfied it one is not hungry.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 19)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1896, P. 25)


“It is quite as difficult to fit one’s practice to one’s precepts as to fit one’s precepts to one’s practice.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 19)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1896, P. 25)


“That generosity is almost always praised above justice shows that people assess qualities by their value to themselves. The just man who gives none more than his due is disliked rather than admired.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 19)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1896, P. 25)


“It is odd that in so many cases the individual conscience should judge according to the precepts of society.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 20)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“One’s relation to society is the same as that of the savage who is restrained from acting to the detriment of his fellows by fear of the vengeance they will take on him.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 20)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1896, P. 26)


“If morality has evolved with the evolution of society, as means to social self-preservation. it has not necessarily anything to do with the individual.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 20)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1896, P. 26)


“When between man and man there are innumerable differences how can there be a common system of morality?” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 20)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1896, P.  26)


“Even if it is held that pure unselfishness without after-thought gives most pleasure and brings the greatest rewards, that pleasure and those rewards are still its justification.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 21)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1896, P. 27)


“From the standpoint of pure reason, there are no good grounds to support the claim that one should sacrifice one’s own happiness to that of others.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 21)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1896, P. 27)


“There would be very little altruism in the world if it were not a source of pleasure.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 21)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1949, 1896, P. 21)


“There can be nothing praiseworthy in sacrifice in itself…” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 21)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“The relations between the individual and society are like a roulette table. Society is the banker. Individuals sometimes win and sometimes lose; but the banker wins always.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 22)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“The altruistic activities of the individual arise from egoistic motives.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 24)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“Tolerance is only another name for indifference.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 25)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1896)


“The moral code is only accepted by the weak-minded; the strong form their own.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1896, P. 26)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1896, P. 34)


“I’m glad I don’t believe in God. When I look at the misery of the world and its bitterness I think that no belief can be more ignoble.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 49)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1901, P. 63)


“Morality is the weapon which society in the struggle for existence uses in its dealings with the individual.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 51)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1901)


“What mean and cruel things men can do for the love of God.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901 P. 52)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1901)


“Our lives are conditioned by outer circumstances, but our death is our own. To see how others have taken that final journey is the only help we have when ourselves we enter upon it.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 53)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1901, P. 69)


“Common-sense appears to be only another name for the thoughtlessness of the unthinking.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 55)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1977, 1901, P. 72)


“Wisdom can hardly be termed as a virtue, for it is made up of intellectual qualities which one man has and another not.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 56)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1945, 1901, P. 72)


“The hedonist must remember that self-consciousness is incompatible with happiness. Happiness will escape him if he fixes his mind on his own pursuit of pleasure.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 57)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1901, P. 73)


“The actions to which men accord their praise appear to be those by which themselves, in whole or in part, will benefit; but also they are capable of admiration for any striking, dramatic deeds which strike their fancy or excite their wonder.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 58)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Heinemann, 1949, 1901, P. 58)

(Another source is found here.)


“We have no certain knowledge of any consciousness but our own. We can only know the world through our own personality.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 59)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1949, 1901, P. 60)


“To the individual, morality can be nothing more than the expression of a personal satisfaction; it is only a matter of aesthetics.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 60)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1901, P. 76)


“Habits change, not men.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1901, P. 63)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1901, P. 81)


“Each youth is like a child born in the night who sees the sun rise and thinks that yesterday never existed.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1902, P. 65)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1902, P. 83)


“It was not till quite late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say: “I don’t know.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1933, P. 208)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1949, 1933, P. 208)


“By imagination man compensates himself for his failure to get a complete satisfaction from life.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1933, P. 208)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1933, P. 258)


“I made up my mind long ago that life was too short to do anything for myself that I could pay others to do for me.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 271)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1941, P. 336)


“It’s like having a string of pearls given you. It’s nice, but after a while, if you think of it at all, it’s only to wonder if they’re real or cultured.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 279)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1941, P. 345)

Note: When Maugham was asked, “how does it feel like to be famous?


“Why it is so wounding to have an ill turn done you by a friend? Naviety or vanity?” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 278)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1941, P. 347)


“Throughout the ages many have found in the belief in a life to come an adequate compensation for the troubles of their brief sojourn in a world of sorrow. They are the lucky ones. Faith, for those who have it, solves difficulties which reason finds insoluble.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1949, P. 296)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1949, P. 365)


“I don’t know why it is that the religious never ascribe common-sense to God.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 260)

(This quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1941, P. 322)


“Unless a novelist makes you believe in him he is done, and yet if he is entirely believable he may very well be dull.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 261)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1941)


“There is no need for the writer to eat a whole sheep to be able to tell you what mutton tastes like. It is enough if he eats a cutlet. But he should do that.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 262)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1941)


“The love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd, 1919, 1894, P. 10)

(This quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1894, P. 13)


“Sentimentality is only sentiment that rubs you up the wrong way.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd, 1901, 1941, P. 259)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1941, 1901, P. 321)


“…I do not know that philosophy needs the decoration of a luxuriance so lush. It distracts the reader’s attention from the argument and he may well be left with an uneasy feeling that if that were more cogent it would have been stated in a manner less elaborate.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 275)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1941)


“The strange thing is that we are embarrassed by humility in others. We are ill at ease when they humble themselves before us.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 276)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1941)


“How sad that life should be both tragic and trivial: a melodrama in which the noblest sentiments of men serve merely to stir the cheap emotions of a vulgar audience.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1941, P. 279)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1941)


“Fools don’t become less foolish when they grow old, and an old fool is infinitely more tiresome than a young one.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1944, P. 289)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, 1944)


“When you see the dead it can hardly fail to occur to you that they do look awfully dead.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1949, P. 294)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1945, 1949, P. 363)


“For no sensible person can deny that throughout the history of the world the sum of unhappiness has been far, far greater than the sum of happiness.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1949, PP. 295-296)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1949, P. 365)


“Youth is bound hand and foot with the shackles of public opinion. Middle age enjoys freedom.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1933, P. 207)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1933, P. 258)


“People will sometimes forgive you the good you have done them, but seldom the harm they have done you.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1915, 1933, P. 212)

(The quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, 1933, P. 264)


“If forty million people say a foolish thing it does not become a wise one, but the wise man is foolish to give them the lie.” – William Somerset Maugham

(A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd, 1901, 1896, P. 59)

(This quote is also found in: A Writer’s Notebook By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1949, 1901, P. 76)


Note: Here is another source to read “A Writer’s Notebook” by William Somerset Maugham online.


* Read this amazing selection of wit and wisdom from Somerset Maugham’s stories.

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