If you’re looking for some motivation, or just want to learn more from one of the most influential thinkers of all time, look no further than Henry David Thoreau. In this post, we’ve collected 50 of his best quotes on everything from nature to living a simple life. So whether you’re a seasoned Thoreau fan or just getting started, these quotes are sure to inspire you to lead a more mindful and intentional life. Enjoy!

Best Henry David Thoreau Quotes

Henry David Thoreau was a philosopher and author who is best known for his book Walden, which chronicles his time living in a cabin near Walden Pond. Thoreau was very interested in nature, and he had a lot of wisdom to share when it comes to leading a purpose-driven life. Here are some of our favorite Henry David Thoreau quotes that will inspire you to live more intentionally.

  • What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us. – Henry David Thoreau
  • The world is but a canvas to our imagination. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Goodness is the only investment that never fails. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. – Henry David Thoreau
  • The universe is wider than our views of it. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Surely joy is the condition of life. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Be not simply good – be good for something. – Henry David Thoreau
  • The language of friendship is not words but meanings. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Wealth is the ability to fully experience life. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Be resolutely and faithfully what you are; be humbly what you aspire to be. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe. – Henry David Thoreau
  • If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. – Henry David Thoreau
  • The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake. – Henry David Thoreau
  • I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. – Henry David Thoreau

quote henry david thoreau

  • A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone. – Henry David Thoreau

You may also like: 50 Best Beach Quotes for Instagram

  • For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once done well is done forever. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? – Henry David Thoreau
  • The question is not what you look at, but what you see. – Henry David Thoreau
  • The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. –  Henry David Thoreau
  • When it is time to die, let us not discover that we never lived. – Henry David Thoreau
  • The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. – Henry David Thoreau
  • As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. – Henry David Thoreau
  • It is never too late to give up our prejudices. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. – Henry David Thoreau
  • A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Morning is when I’m awake, and there is dawn in me. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Not all who wander are lost. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder. – Henry David Thoreau

famous quotes by henry david thoreau

  • The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. – Henry David Thoreau

Inspiring Nature Quotes by Henry David Thoreau

Nature is one of the most beautiful things in the world. It can fill us with a sense of awe and wonder, and it is a great source of inspiration. Here are the best nature quotes by Henry David Thoreau to help you appreciate and enjoy nature more.

  • All good things are wild and free. – Henry David Thoreau
  • I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Wildness is the preservation of the World. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • Nature is mythical and mystical always and works with the license and extravagance of genius. She has her luxurious and florid style as well as art. – Henry David Thoreau
  • There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Simplicity is the law of nature for men as well as for flowers. – Henry David Thoreau
  • We can never have enough of nature…We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander. – Henry David Thoreau
  • I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. – Henry David Thoreau
  • Nature is doing her best each moment to make us well. She exists for no other end. Do not resist. With the least inclination to be well, we should not be sick. – Henry David Thoreau
  • In the production of the necessaries of life Nature is ready enough to assist man. – Henry David Thoreau

Nature quotes by henry david thoreau

  • Nature is slow but sure; she works no faster than need be; she is the tortoise that wins the race by her perseverance. – Henry David Thoreau

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Henry David Thoreau was a very insightful man with plenty of wisdom to share. His thoughts on simplicity, nature, and self-reliance continue to inspire people around the world to look at life in a new way. We hope you enjoyed these best Henry David Thoreau quotes and that they have also inspired you in some way.