Sydney J. Harris Quotations

Sydney J. Harris

A general practitioner is a doctor who treats what you've got; a specialist is a doctor who finds you've got what he treats.

Almost no one is foolish enough to imagine that he automatically deserves great success in any field of activity; yet almost everyone believes that he automatically deserves success in marriage.

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.

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

Education does not make us smarter, it merely propels us further and faster in the direction of our native abilities; and if one's ability is to make a fool of himself, education can help him do a magnificent job of that.

It is easier to be a "humanitarian" than to render your own country its proper due; it is easier to be a "patriot" than to make your community a better place to live in; it is easier to be a "civic leader" than to treat your own family with loving understanding; for the smaller the focus of attention, the harder the task.

It's odd, and a little unsettling, to reflect upon the fact that English is the only major language in which 'I' is capitalized; in many other languages 'You' is capitalized and the 'i' is lower case.

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.

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

Men make counterfeit money; in many more cases, money makes counterfeit men.

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

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

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.

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.

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

The only way to understand a woman is to love her -- and then it isn't necessary to understand her.

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

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.

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