To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.

—Oscar Wilde, 1891

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

A man is not idle, because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is an invisible labor.

—Victor Hugo, 1862

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

—Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

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

It is shameful and inhuman to treat men like chattels to make money by, or to regard them merely as so much muscle or physical power.

—Pope Leo XIII, 1891

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

—George Eliot, 1876

Plough deep while sluggards sleep.

—Benjamin Franklin, 1758

Man must be doing something, or fancy that he is doing something, for in him throbs the creative impulse; the mere basker in the sunshine is not a natural, but an abnormal man.

—Henry George, 1879

Labor is no disgrace.

—Hesiod, c. 700 BC

He that would eat the nut must crack the shell.

—Plautus, c. 200 BC

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.

—Aristotle, c. 330 BC

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