Eric Hoffer Quotes

Eric Hoffer, 1902 – 1983

Born: 25 July 1902, New York City
Died: 21 May 1983, San Francisco, California

At age seven Hoffer was mysteriously blinded, perhaps from the trauma of losing his mother, at age fifteen his sight returned just as mysteriously. Fearing he might become blind again, he threw himself into reading everything he could get his hands on. His father died and the cabinetmakers’ guild made a $300 death benefit payment. He decided that Los Angeles was the place for a poor man to live so he got on the bus. He lived on skid row, supporting himself with odd jobs, for ten years but continued his reading. After a failed suicide attempt in 1931 he decided to live adventurously and became a migrant farm worker, collecting library cards from every town he worked. He was particularly impressed after being snowed in with a copy of Montaigne’s Essays one winter. When World War II started he enlisted but was turned down because of a hernia, he decided that he could best contribute to the war effort by becoming a longshoreman at San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a job he held until age 65. His first book, The True Believer (1951) was well received and is now considered a classic, he felt his best book was The Ordeal of Change (1963). His eleven books brought him fame and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Eric Hoffer quotes:

A doctrine insulates the devout not only against the realities around them but also against their own selves. The fanatical believer is not conscious of his envy, malice, pettiness and dishonesty. There is a wall of words between his consciousness and his real self.
    Eric Hoffer – The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)

A good sentence is a key. It unlocks the mind of the reader.
    Eric Hoffer

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.
    Eric Hoffer – The True Believer (1951)

A nation without dregs and malcontents is orderly, peaceful and pleasant, but perhaps without the seed of things to come.
    Eric Hoffer

A preoccupation with the future not only prevents us from seeing the present as it is but often prompts us to rearrange the past.
    Eric Hoffer – The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)

A ruling intelligentsia, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed, and wasted at will.
    Eric Hoffer

A war is not won if the defeated enemy has not been turned into a friend.
    Eric Hoffer

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
    Eric Hoffer

Action is at bottom a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one’s balance and keep afloat.
    Eric Hoffer

Add a few drops of venom to a half truth and you have an absolute truth.
    Eric Hoffer – The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)

An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.
    Eric Hoffer

Both the revolutionary and the creative individual are perpetual juveniles. The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing.
    Eric Hoffer

Commitment becomes hysterical when those who have nothing to give advocate generosity, and those who have nothing to give up preach renunciation.
    Eric Hoffer

Every extreme attitude is a flight from the self.
    Eric Hoffer – The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)

Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem.
    Eric Hoffer

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