The 50 Most Insightful Kurt Vonnegut Quotes

Born on November 11, 1922, Kurt Vonnegut is a famous American writer, best known for his non fiction novels that have interesting themes and characters. He is also noted for his various novels, short stories, and play publications as well. Out of the many pieces of writing by Vonnegut, his most famous works are these four: Breakfast of Champions , Cat’s Cradle, and Player Piano and Slaughterhouse Five.

The below Kurt Vonnegut quotes are from Kurt’s literary works and public comments. From the man who’s had several asteroids named after him, here is our favorite quote collection. Enjoy!

Our Favorite Kurt Vonnegut Quotes

1. “The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

2. “Of course it is exhausting, having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

3. “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Slaughterhouse-Five)

4. “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (The Sirens of Titan)

5. “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — “God dang it, you’ve got to be kind.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (God Bless you, Mr. Rosewater)

6. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Mother Night)

7. “Earthlings went on being friendly when they should have been thinking instead.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

8. “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

9. “And so it goes…” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Slaughterhouse-Five)

10. “It had given him a life not worth living, but I had also given him an iron will to live. This was a common combination on the planet Earth.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

11. “I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, “Please – a little less love, and a little more common decency.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Slapstick, or Lonesome No More)

12. “And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (A Man Without a Country)

Read ->  44 Negative Energy Quotes

13. “Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

14. “Many people need desperately to receive this message: “I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Timequake)

15. “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young)

16. “The big show is inside my head.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

17. “Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

18. “If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (A Man Without a Country)

19. “I couldn’t help wondering if that was what God put me on Earth for–to find out how much a man could take without breaking.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

20. “Nobody’s so darn well educated that you can’t learn ninety percent of what he knows in six weeks. The other ten percent is decoration.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Player Piano)

21. “And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.” – Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Slaughterhouse-Five)

22. “Make love when you can. It’s good for you.” – Kurt Vonnegut

23. “In nonsense is strength.” – Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

24. “People took such awful chances with chemicals and their bodies because they wanted the quality of their lives to improve. They lived in ugly places where there were only ugly things to do. They didn’t own doodley-squat, so they couldn’t improve their surroundings. So they did their best to make their insides beautiful instead.” – Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

25. “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (A Man Without a Country)

Read ->  50 Inspirational Quotes About Memories

26. “Everybody else is a robot, a machine. Some persons seem to like you, and others seem to hate you, and you must wonder why.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

27. “But his head no longer sheltered ideas of how things could be and should be on the planet, as opposed to how they really were. There was only one way for the Earth to be, he thought: the way it was.” —- Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

28. “How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Slaughterhouse-Five)

29. “Goodbye, Blue Monday.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

30. “The machines are to practically everybody what the white men were to the Indians. People are finding that, because of the way the machines are changing the world, more and more of their old values don’t apply anymore. People have no choice but to become second-rate machines themselves or wards of the machines.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Player Piano)

31. “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (A Man Without a Country)

32. “Of course it is exhausting, having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

33. “And the charming little cottage he’d taken as a symbol of the good life of a farmer was as irrelevant as a statue of Venus at the gate of a sewage-disposal plant.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Player Piano)

Related: Joan Didion’s Best Quotes

34. “Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder ‘why, why, why?’ Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understands.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Cat’s Cradle)

35. “New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

36. “But you find out quick enough that old friends are old friends, and nothing more—no wiser, no more help than anyone else.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Player Piano)

37. “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you differently.” – Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (A Man Without a Country)

38. “If I want to make friends with him, I ask him what he believes. He tells me, and I say, “Yeah, yeah – ain’t it the truth?” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

39. “Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Slaughterhouse-Five

40. “I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (The Sirens of Titan)

Read ->   50 Kakashi Hatake Quotes that Remind Us He is Like Us

41. “I can have oodles of charm when I want to.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

42. “The poetry of four seasons is all wrong for this part of the planet, and this may explain why we are so depressed so much of the time.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?)

43. “Science is magic that works.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Cat’s Cradle)

44. “Seems like the only kind of job an American can get these days is committing suicide in some way.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

45. “That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Slaughterhouse-Five)

46. “Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Cat’s Cradle)

47. “There is no order in the world around us, we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

48. “So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?)

49. “There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Slaughterhouse-Five)

50. “So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines.” — Kurt Vonnegut – Book – (Breakfast of Champions)

51. “And so it goes.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Related: Thomas Carlyle’s Best Quotes

Why You Should Read Kurt Vonnegut

This TedEd talk explains all of the reasons. So just in case you need convincing, give it a watch!


As you can see, Kurt Vonnegut’s an interesting person whose writing technique was quite unique. Our above collection of Kurt Vonnegut Quotes should give you a better perspective on what’s hidden beneath the pages of his novels. Who knows, they might inspire you to research further and look into his books yourself.

If any of the quotes struck some cord within you take note and refer back to them when needed!

See also: Margaret Atwood’s Most Powerful Quotes

Leave a Comment