Sydney J. Harris Quotes

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.

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.

When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’

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

Agreement makes us soft and complacent; disagreement brings out our strength. Our real enemies are the people who makes us feel good so that we are slowly but inexorably pulled down into the quicksand of smugness and self-satisfaction.

When I hear someone say, “Life is hard,” I always want to ask, “Compared to what?”

There is no way of proving your point to someone whose income or position depends on believing the contrary.

In a country as large as the United States it is possible to find at least fifty people who will believe, buy, try, or practice anything.

A sailor complained to Picasso that his paintings were not realistic, and then took out a tiny snapshot of his child for the painter to see. Picasso squinted seriously at the snapshot and handed it back to the father, merely saying, “Small, isn’t she?”

The most important thing in an argument, next to being right, is to leave an escape hatch for your opponent, so that he can gracefully swing over to your side without too much apparent loss of face.