Leo Rosten

Literary Birthday – 11 April – Leo Rosten


Leo Rosten was born 11 April 1908 and died 19 February 1997

Leo Rosten Quotes

  1. Everyone, in some small sacred sanctuary of the self, is nuts.
  2. The purpose of life is not to be happy—but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.
  3. The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.
  4. People say: idle curiosity. The one thing that curiosity cannot be is idle.
  5. A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood. The writer wants to be understood much more than he wants to be respected or praised or even loved.
  6. Words must surely be counted among the most powerful drugs man ever invented.
  7. Thinking is harder work than hard work.
  8. Extremists think ‘communication’ means agreeing with them.
  9. Words sing. They hurt. They teach. They sanctify. They were man’s first, immeasurable feat of magic. They liberated us from ignorance and our barbarous past.

Leo Rosten was a Polish-born American humorist in the fields of scriptwriting, storywriting, journalism, and Yiddish lexicography. He was also a political scientist interested especially in the relationship of politics and the media. His books included The Education of Hyman Kaplan and The Joys of Yiddish.

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 by Amanda Patterson

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