Clifton Fadiman Quotes

Clifton P. “Kip” Fadiman, 1904 – 1999

Born: 15 May 1904, Brooklyn, New York
Died: 20 June 1999, Sanibel Island, Florida

Born to a Russian-Jewish immigrant family, Fadiman was reading at age four, in several languages by age ten. At seventeen he was writing book reviews for The Nation, getting a start on the 25,000 books he later estimated he had read. While at Columbia University he translated two of Nietzsche’s books into English for the Modern Library. Graduating in 1925, he taught high school English for two years before joining Simon & Schuster as an editor for ten years, then took charge of The New Yorker‘s book review section for the next ten. He was a judge for the Book of the Month Club from 1944 and was senior editor of Cricket, a literary magazine for children, in the 1970s. From 1938 to 1948 he hosted Information Please!, a popular radio quiz show, with Franklin P. Adams, John Kieran, and Oscar Levant as frequent guests, then was a witty and erudite guest and host of a number of television shows in the 1950s. As a member of the editorial board of Encyclopedia Britannica he edited Treasury of the Britannica, starting by reading every issue of the encyclopedia for the previous two centuries. In addition to being fluent in German and French since youth, he tackled Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch in his seventh decade. He lost his vision at 89 but switched to books on tape rather than giving up reading, he died of pancreatic cancer at age 95.

Clifton Fadiman quotes:

A bottle of wine begs to be shared; I have never met a miserly wine lover.
    Clifton Fadiman

A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.
    Clifton Fadiman – Any Number Can Play (1957)

A good memory is one trained to forget the trivial.
    Clifton Fadiman

A sense of humor is the ability to understand a joke – and that the joke is oneself.
    Clifton Fadiman

As between mileage and experience, choose experience.
    Clifton Fadiman

Books act like a developing fluid on film. That is, they bring into consciousness what you didn’t know you knew.
    Clifton Fadiman – The New Lifetime Reading Plan (with John S. Major, 1997)

Books] will visit you at your convenience, whether you are lonesome or not, on rainy days or fair. They propose themselves as either transient acquaintances or permanent friends. They will stay as long as you like, departing or returning as you wish. Their friendship entails no obligation. Best of all, and not always true of our merely human friends, they have Cleopatra’s infinite variety.
    Clifton Fadiman

By the end of high school I was not an educated man, but I knew how to try to become one.
    Clifton Fadiman

Don’t be afraid of poetry.
    Clifton Fadiman – Clifton Fadiman’s Fireside Reader (1961)

Dr. Seuss provided ingenious and uniquely witty solutions to the standing problem of the juvenile fantasy writer: how to find, not another Alice, but another rabbit hole.
    Clifton Fadiman

Experience teaches you that the man who looks you straight in the eye, particularly if he adds a firm handshake, is hiding something.
    Clifton Fadiman

For most men life is a search for the proper manila envelope in which to get themselves filed.
    Clifton Fadiman

I found nothing really wrong with this autobiography except poor choice of subject.
    Clifton Fadiman

I think we must quote whenever we feel that the allusion is interesting or helpful or amusing.
    Clifton Fadiman

I tried to use the questions and answers as an armature on which to build a sculpture of genuine conversation.
    Clifton Fadiman

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