The 365 Most Famous Quotes of All Time

Humanity’s most brilliant, collected wisdom in 27 categories, backed by data and with real sources

Niklas Göke

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Here’s the deal: If you want authentic, verified, actually famous quotes that people in the real world know and can relate to, with sources, you’ll likely find everything you’re looking for in this post. Like, everything.

I love a good quote as much as anyone, and if I wasn’t a writer, that would probably be the end of it. Since I make my living with words, however, it annoys me to no end how lazy most quote-slingers are in providing us with nuggets of inspiration that are not just, well, inspiring, but also, uhm, real.

When I go on the hunt for famous quotes, all I see is a sea of poor copy-and-paste jobs of largely misattributed lines. If the #1 pick on your list of the “most famous quotes ever” is a phrase from Lady Gaga, that doesn’t make me feel inspired. It makes me angry. Did we really document human ingenuity for thousands of years for this? Is that all we can come up with? No! That’s not a world I want to live in, and so, after hundreds of hours of research, I present my little personal study turned minor PhD thesis: The 365 Most Famous Quotes of All Time.

Whether you’re a writer looking for properly sourced quotes, a single mom in need of some inspiration, a puzzled friend dying to find out who said a line you like, or simply a human wanting to improve your general knowledge, on this here list of the most famous quotes in history, ye shall find what ye seek.

Since this is a bit of a Moby Dick of a post, I’ve included a more detailed section explaining my methodology at the end, but the basic premise for including quotes were two simple questions:

  1. From friends to strangers in the street, if you randomly approached people and asked them, would they know or at least recognize this quote?
  2. If they wouldn’t know the quote, would they know or at least recognize the person who said it? Are they widely considered to be one of the greatest in their field?

After that, I looked at Google search volume, likes on Goodreads, and sometimes additional metrics, like Google Trends or the number of translations in different…

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Niklas Göke

I write for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists. Read my daily blog here: https://nik.art/