Wealth & Poverty Quotations


A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.—Walden
Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. — "Walking"—"Walking"
Again and again I congratulate myself on my so-called poverty. I was almost disappointed yesterday to find thirty dollars in my desk which I did not know that I possessed, though now I should be sorry to lose it.—Journal, 8 February 1857
As I preferred some things to others, and especially valued my freedom, as I could fare hard and yet succeed well, I did not wish to spend my time in earning rich carpets or other fine furniture, or delicate cookery, or a house in the Grecian or the Gothic style just yet. If there are any to whom it is no interruption to acquire these things, and who know how to use them when acquired, I relinquish to them the pursuit.—Walden
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.—Walden
But most men do not know what a house is, and the mass are actually poor all their days because they think they must have such an one as their neighbor's. — Journal, 23 August 1845—Journal, 23 August 1845
Emerson says that his life is so unprofitable and shabby for the most part, that he is driven to all sorts of resources, and, among the rest, to men. I tell him that we differ only in our resources. Mine is to get away from men.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 8 August 1854
Even the poor student studies and is taught only political economy, while that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy is not even sincerely professed in our colleges. The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably. — WaldenWalden
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. — WaldenWalden
I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite,—only a sense of existence. — Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 6 December 1856—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 6 December 1856
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