Plough deep while sluggards sleep.

—Benjamin Franklin, 1758

God sells us all things at the price of labor.

—Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1500

In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it; they must not do too much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it.

—John Ruskin, 1850

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

—Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.

—Anatole France, 1881

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.

—Aristotle, c. 330 BC

Hang work! I wish that all the year were holiday; I am sure that Indolence—indefeasible Indolence—is the true state of man.

—Charles Lamb, 1805

The best augury of a man’s success in his profession is that he thinks it the finest in the world.

—George Eliot, 1876

Sick, irritated, and the prey to a thousand discomforts, I go on with my labor like a true workingman, who, with sleeves rolled up, in the sweat of his brow, beats away at his anvil, not caring whether it rains or blows, hails or thunders.

—Gustave Flaubert, 1845

Toil is man’s allotment; toil of brain, or toil of hands, or a grief that’s more than either, the grief and sin of idleness.

—Herman Melville, 1849

A human being must have occupation, if he or she is not to become a nuisance to the world.

—Dorothy L. Sayers, 1947

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper that did his job well.

—Martin Luther King Jr., 1954

I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours, a fixed salary, and very little original thinking to do.

—Roald Dahl, 1984