Inspirational Quotes from Bill Bryson

We forget just how painfully dim the world was before electricity. A candle, a good candle, provides barely a hundredth of the illumination of a single 100 watt light bulb.

Bill Bryson

Roads get wider and busier and less friendly to pedestrians. And all of the development based around cars, like big sprawling shopping malls. Everything seems to be designed for the benefit of the automobile and not the benefit of the human being.

Bill Bryson

I grew up, really, in the days before air conditioning. So I can remember what it was like to be really hot, for instance, and I can remember what it was like when your barber shop and your local stores weren’t air conditioned, so it was hot when you went in them and they propped the doors open.

Bill Bryson

There’d never been a more advantageous time to be a criminal in America than during the 13 years of Prohibition. At a stroke, the American government closed down the fifth largest industry in the United States – alcohol production – and just handed it to criminals – a pretty remarkable thing to do.

Bill Bryson

I have long known that it is part of God’s plan for me to spend a little time with each of the most stupid people on earth.

Bill Bryson

If you go out on the Appalachian Trail, you have to bring so much more equipment – a tent, sleeping bag – but if you go hiking in England, or Europe, generally, towns and villages are near enough together at the end of the day you can always go to a nice little inn and have a hot bath and something to drink.

Bill Bryson

An awful lot of England is slowly eroding, in ways that I find really distressing, and an awful lot of it is the hedgerows… We’re reaching the point where a lot of the English countryside looks just like Iowa – just kind of open space.

Bill Bryson

In a funny way, nothing makes you feel more like a native of your own country than to live where nearly everyone is not.

Bill Bryson

You may find that your parents are the most delightful people, but you don’t want to live with them.

Bill Bryson

There are only three things that can kill a farmer: lightning, rolling over in a tractor, and old age.

Bill Bryson

If you drive to, say, Shenandoah National Park, or the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll get some appreciation for the scale and beauty of the outdoors. When you walk into it, then you see it in a completely different way. You discover it in a much slower, more majestic sort of way.

Bill Bryson

I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted – stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container.

Bill Bryson

You don’t have to know anything about baseball to respond to Babe Ruth because he’s just this magnificent human being. And a really good story because he was this kid who grew up essentially as an orphan, you know, had a tough life, and then he became the most successful baseball player ever. But he was also a really good guy.

Bill Bryson

I see litter as part of a long continuum of anti-social behaviour.

Bill Bryson

Open your refrigerator door, and you summon forth more light than the total amount enjoyed by most households in the 18th century. The world at night, for much of history, was a very dark place indeed.

Bill Bryson

America is a great disappointment to me. As I said in one of my books, other societies create civilisations; we build shopping malls.

Bill Bryson

I understand cricket – what’s going on, the scoring – but I can’t understand why.

Bill Bryson

I grew up in Des Moines. My dad had a house full of books, things like P.G. Wodehouse books and ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte.

Bill Bryson

My first rule of consumerism is never to buy anything you can’t make your children carry.

Bill Bryson

You don’t need a science degree to understand about science. You just need to think about it.

Bill Bryson

In 1927, if you were stuck with idle time, reading is what you did. It’s no accident that the ‘Book-of-the-Month Club’ and ‘The Literary Guild’ were founded in that period as well as a lot of magazines, like ‘Reader’s Digest,’ ‘Time,’ and ‘The New Yorker.’

Bill Bryson

The world at night, for much of history, was a very dark place indeed.

Bill Bryson

I can’t fix the world. If you want to make a difference in life, you have to direct your energies in a focused way.

Bill Bryson

Scientists tend to be unappreciated in the world at large, but you can hardly overstate the importance of the work they do.

Bill Bryson

I don’t know whether I’m misanthropic. It seems to me I’m constantly disappointed. I’m very easily disappointed. Disappointed in the things that people do; disappointed in the things that people construct. I want things to be better all the time.

Bill Bryson

I’m definitely an American, because I grew up here. But I’ve lived very happily in Britain.

Bill Bryson

In the countryside, litter doesn’t have a friend. It doesn’t have anybody who’s saying, ‘Wait a minute, this is really starting to get out of control.’

Bill Bryson

It is unthinkable to have a British countryside that doesn’t have actual functioning farmers riding tractors, cows in fields, things like that.

Bill Bryson

Nobody gets excited about the future at all, ever. The future is something we find depressing and worrisome.

Bill Bryson

I can wear a baseball cap; I am entitled to wear a baseball cap. I am genetically pre-disposed to wear a baseball cap, whereas most English people look wrong in a baseball cap.

Bill Bryson

I once joked in a book that there are three things you can’t do in life. You can’t beat the phone company, you can’t make a waiter see you until he is ready to see you, and you can’t go home again. Since the spring of 1995, I have been quietly, even gamely, reassessing point number three.

Bill Bryson

There are things you just can’t do in life. You can’t beat the phone company, you can’t make a waiter see you until he’s ready to see you, and you can’t go home again.

Bill Bryson

I still enjoy traveling a lot. I mean, it amazes me that I still get excited in hotel rooms just to see what kind of shampoo they’ve left me.

Bill Bryson

I’m a great believer that you had to do everything you’ve done to have got to where you are.

Bill Bryson

I come from Des Moines. Someone had to.

Bill Bryson

More than 300 million people in the world speak English and the rest, it sometimes seems, try to.

Bill Bryson

The remarkable position in which we find ourselves is that we don’t actually know what we actually know.

Bill Bryson

The whole of the global economy is based on supplying the cravings of two per cent of the world’s population.

Bill Bryson

Boston’s freeway system is insane. It was clearly designed by a person who had spent his childhood crashing toy trains.

Bill Bryson

When you tell an Iowan a joke, you can see a kind of race going on between his brain and his expression.

Bill Bryson

I don’t plan to write another science book, but I don’t plan not to. I do enjoy writing histories, and taking subjects that are generally dull and trying to make them interesting.

Bill Bryson

A world without newspapers or a world where the newspapers are purely electronic and you read them on a screen is not a very appealing world.

Bill Bryson

In order to have quality journalism you need to have a good income stream, and no Internet model has produced a way of generating income that would pay for good-quality investigative journalism.

Bill Bryson

Have you ever seen Glenn Beck in operation? It is the most terrifying thing. It’s so bad that you think he’s going to announce in a minute that it’s all a great con. He makes Sarah Palin look reasonable and steady.

Bill Bryson

Maine is wonderful. It can be very hard. I mean, if you look at the profile maps it doesn’t look it, but somehow when you get out there it’s really steep and hard.

Bill Bryson

Des Moines is like your typical American city; it’s just these concentric circles of malls, built outward from the city.

Bill Bryson

I always tell people there’s only one trick to writing: You have to write something that people are willing to pay money to read. It doesn’t have to be very good, necessarily, but somebody, somewhere, has got to be willing to pay money for it.

Bill Bryson

I’m not funny in person. I mean I’m really not. I’m one of those people who always screw up anecdotes.

Bill Bryson

The real problem you get with humour is that you only have so many kinds of jokes within you, and you mine that vein a lot. This isn’t just common to me; it’s anybody who’s funny.

Bill Bryson

Britain still has the most reliably beautiful countryside of anywhere in the world. I would hate to be part of the generation that allowed that to be lost.

Bill Bryson

Where I grew up, in Des Moines, Iowa, there is hardly any downtown economic activity now. Everybody shops in malls – you don’t find a sense of community in malls.

Bill Bryson

All the things that are part of your heritage make you British – that makes this country what it is. It’s part of your history. And here, unlike America, it’s still living history.

Bill Bryson