elements of us, Shantaram

Excerpts from Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram. The book is long, and I think it entertaining. Here are a few interesting lines:



The world is run by one million evil men, ten million stupid men, and a hundred million cowards

The worst thing about corruption as a system of governance is that it works so well

Some of the worst wrongs were caused by people who tried to change things

The only force more ruthless and cynical than the business of big politics is the politics of big business

Black money runs through the fingers faster than the legal, hard-earned money. If we can’t respect the way we earn it, money has no value

News tells you what people did. Gossip tells you how much they enjoyed it



Life gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them

Mistakes are like bad loves, the more you learn from them, the more you wished they’d never happened

Happiness is a myth. It was invented to make us buy things

Optimism is the first cousin of love, and it’s exactly like love in three ways: it’s pushy, it has no real sense of humor, and it turns up where you least expect it

Every day, when you’re on the run, is the whole of your life



It isn’t a secret unless keeping it hurts

Love seldom concerns itself with what we know or with what’s true

Sometimes your heart is broken in the right way

If we all learned what we should all learn, the first time round, we wouldn’t need love at all

You can never tell what people have inside them, until you start taking it away

There’s a kind of luck that’s much more than being in the right place at the right time – it happens when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose and plan; when you give yourself, completely

The fact of an addict’s life is that you have to keep on escaping, every day and every night

Some tend to mistake pride for arrogance and confidence for impassivity



Fear and guilt are the dark angels that haunt rich men. Despair and humiliation haunt the poor

It is the mark of the age in which we live that the style becomes the attitude, instead of the attitude becoming the style

One of the ironies of courage, and the reason why we prize it so highly, is that we find it easier to be brave for someone else than we do for ourselves alone

The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men, it is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them: there are good deeds, and bad deeds

The sane man is simply a better liar than the insane man.

3 thoughts on “elements of us, Shantaram

  1. It is good that I know the background of these sayings or notes, although your intro says so, too. I can not believe that someone capable of writing loooong book can produce such thoughtful and unusual sayings. What is even more wonderful is that only mind like yourself, being able to recognize, enjoy and summarize them from the ocean of words and thoughts, and, being so grateful for reading the literature of this type, reward the rest of us with the quotes you have chosen yourself. Love this.

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