Every man is worth just so much as the things he busies himself with.

—Marcus Aurelius, c. 175

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

—Victor Hugo, 1862

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

—Upton Sinclair, 1935

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

—Dorothy L. Sayers, 1947

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

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

Plough deep while sluggards sleep.

—Benjamin Franklin, 1758

You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.

—Billie Holiday, 1956

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

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

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

—Anatole France, 1881

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

A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of anything else to do.

—W.H. Auden, 1946