- The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are.
- For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice -- no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.
- It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative.
- Blessed is the man who has some congenial work, some occupation in which he can put his heart, and which affords a complete outlet to all the forces there are in him.
- Some men are like nails, very easily drawn; others however are more like rivets never drawn at all.
- The secret of happiness is something to do.
- A man can get discouraged many times but he is not a failure until he begins to blame somebody else and stops trying.
- Life is a struggle, but not a warfare.
- Temperament lies behind mood; behind will, lies the fate of character. Then behind both, the influence of family the tyranny of culture; and finally the power of climate and environment; and we are free, only to the extent we rise above these.
- Travel and society polish one, but a rolling stone gathers no moss, and a little moss is a good thing on a man.
- How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.
- One may summon his philosophy when they are beaten in battle, not till then.
John Burroughs was an American naturalist and essayist important in the evolution of the U.S. conservation movement. According to biographers at the American Memory project at the Library of Congress, John Burroughs was the most important practitioner after Henry David Thoreau of that especially American literary genre, the nature essay. By the turn of the 20th century he had become a virtual cultural institution in his own right: the Grand Old Man of Nature at a time when the American romance with the idea of nature, and the American conservation movement, had come fully into their own. His extraordinary popularity and popular visibility were sustained by a prolific stream of essay collections, beginning with Wake-Robin in 1871.
In the words of his biographer Edward Renehan, Burroughs' special identity was less that of a scientific naturalist than that of "a literary naturalist with a duty to record his own unique perceptions of the natural world." The result was a body of work whose perfect resonance with the tone of its cultural moment perhaps explains both its enormous popularity at that time, and its relative obscurity since.