65 David Mamet Quotes On Success In Life

David Alan Mamet is an American playwright, film director, screenwriter, and author. He won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for his plays Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) and Speed-the-Plow (1988). He first gained critical acclaim for a trio of off-Broadway 1970s plays: The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and American Buffalo. These David Mamet quotes will inspire you.

Best David Mamet Quotes

  1. “Every scene should be able to answer three questions: “Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don’t get it? Why now?”” ~ David Mamet
  2. “When the three branches of government have failed to represent the citizenry and the mass of the media has failed to represent the citizenry, then the citizenry better represent the citizenry.” ~ David Mamet
  3. “When the three branches of government have failed to represent the citizenry and the mass of the media has failed to represent the citizenry, then the citizenry better represent the citizenry.” ~ David Mamet
  4. “One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. ‘One-size-fits-all,’ and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is ‘slavery.'” ~ David Mamet
  5. “We all die in the end, but there’s no reason to die in the middle.” ~ David Mamet

  6. “It is the writer’s job to make the play interesting. It is the actor’s job to make the performance truthful.” ~ David Mamet
  7. “Like Lincoln said: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong,” and I feel the same way about the leftist dismantling of the West. If that’s not wrong, then nothing is wrong.” ~ David Mamet
  8. “Worry is interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due.” ~ David Mamet
  9. “Liberalism is a religion. Its tenets cannot be proved, its capacity for waste and destruction demonstrated. But it affords a feeling of spiritual rectitude at little or no cost.” ~ David Mamet
  10. “When you come into the theatre, you have to be willing to say, ‘We’re all here to undergo a communion, to find out what the hell is going on in this world.’ If you’re not willing to say that, what you get is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that.” ~ David Mamet
  11. “Luck, if there is such a thing, is either going to favor everyone equally or going to exhibit a preference for the prepared.” ~ David Mamet
  12. “Opportunity may knock, but it seldom nags.” ~ David Mamet

  13. “Having spent too many years in show business, the one thing I see that succeeds is persistence. It’s the person who just ain’t gonna go home. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to go home. This is what I’ll be doing until they put me in jail or in a coffin.” ~ David Mamet
  14. “The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always, ‘What does the protagonist want?’ That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants.” ~ David Mamet
  15. “You know, young actors say all the time, ‘Should I use my own life experience?’ And my response is, ‘What choice do you have?'” ~ David Mamet
  16. “People may or may not say what they mean… but they always say something designed to get what they want.” ~ David Mamet
  17. “Being a writer in Hollywood is like going to Hitler’s Eagle Nest with a great idea for a bar mitzvah.” ~ David Mamet

  18. “A good writer gets better only by learning to cut, to remove the ornamental, the descriptive, the narrative, and especially the deeply felt and meaningful. What remains? The story remains.” ~ David Mamet
  19. “There’s no such thing as talent; you just have to work hard enough.” ~ David Mamet
  20. “Encounter: Doubt, Shame, Humiliation. It will finally be worth it. Acting is more about courage than anything else.” ~ David Mamet
  21. “You know, I once read an interesting book which said that, uh, most people lost in the wilds, they, they die of shame. Yeah, see, they die of shame. ‘What did I do wrong? How could I have gotten myself into this?’ And so they sit there and they… die. Because they didn’t do the one thing that would save their lives. Thinking.” ~ David Mamet
  22. “To find beauty in the sad, hope in the midst of loss, and dignity in failure is great poetic art.” ~ David Mamet

  23. “The study of acting consists in the main of getting out of one’s own way, and in learning to deal with uncertainty and being comfortable being uncomfortable.” ~ David Mamet
  24. “No one enjoys being equal.” ~ David Mamet
  25. “You get rich through luck. You get rich through crime. You get rich through fulfilling the needs of another. You can be as greedy as you like. If you can’t do one of those three things, you ain’t going to get any money.” ~ David Mamet
  26. “I look back on my liberal political beliefs with a sort of wonder – as another exercise in self-involvement – rewarding myself for some superiority I could not logically describe.” ~ David Mamet
  27. “Roll back the clock, and every possession of every great country started with a crime.” ~ David Mamet

  28. “It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs.” ~ David Mamet
  29. “The liberals in my neighborhood wouldn’t give away Brentwood to the Palestinians, but they want to give away Tel Aviv.” ~ David Mamet
  30. “The audience requires not information but drama.” ~ David Mamet
  31. “The audience requires not information but drama.” ~ David Mamet
  32. “Every reiteration of the idea that nothing matters debases the human spirit.” ~ David Mamet
  33. “President Obama seems to understand the Constitution as a ‘set of suggestions.'” ~ David Mamet
  34. “The true writer must write not the acceptable but the true.” ~ David Mamet

  35. “If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves? Is this absurd? Yes, and yet the government, of course, is arming criminals.” ~ David Mamet
  36. “The audience will teach you how to act and the audience will teach you how to write and to direct. The classroom will teach you how to obey, and obedience in the theatre will get you nowhere. It’s a soothing falsity.” ~ David Mamet
  37. “Every fear hides a wish.” ~ David Mamet
  38. “I’ve always been fascinated by the picaresque.” ~ David Mamet

  39. “Listen, here’s the thing about an English degree – if you sat somebody down and asked them to make a list of the writers they admire over the last hundred years, see how many of them got a degree in English.” ~ David Mamet
  40. “Don’t write stage directions. If it is not apparent what the character is trying to accomplish by saying the line, tell us how the character said it or whether or not she moved to the couch isn’t going to aid the case.” ~ David Mamet
  41. “Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance.” ~ David Mamet
  42. “All rhetorical questions are accusations.” ~ David Mamet
  43. “Train yourself for a profession that does not exist.” ~ David Mamet
  44. “The most charming of theories holds that someone other than Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays — that he was of too low a state, and of insufficient education. But where in the wide history of the world do we find art created by the excessively wealthy, powerful, or educated?” ~ David Mamet
  45. “People only speak to get something.” ~ David Mamet

  46. “The subject of drama is The Lie. At the end of the drama THE TRUTH — which has been overlooked, disregarded, scorned, and denied — prevails. And that is how we know the Drama is done.” ~ David Mamet
  47. “Anyone ever lost in the wild knows that nature wants you dead.” ~ David Mamet
  48. “I examined my Liberalism and found it like an addiction to roulette. Here, though the odds are plain, and the certainty of loss apparent to anyone with a knowledge of arithmetic, the addict, failing time and again, is convinced he yet is graced with the power to contravene natural laws. The roulette addict, when he invariably comes to grief, does not examine either the nature of roulette, or of his delusion, but retires to develop a new system, and to scheme for more funds.” ~ David Mamet
  49. “The greater the intellect, the more ease in its misdirection.” ~ David Mamet

  50. “The government, for example, has determined that black people (somehow) have fewer abilities than white people, and, so, must be given certain preferences. Anyone acquainted with both black and white people knows this assessment is not only absurd but monstrous. And yet it is the law.” ~ David Mamet
  51. “The job of the artist, is to say, wait a second, everything that we have thought is wrong. Let’s re-examine it.” ~ David Mamet
  52. “A dramatic experience concerned with the mundane may inform but it cannot release, and one concerned essentially with the aesthetic politics of its creators may divert or anger, but it cannot enlighten.” ~ David Mamet
  53. “I’ve always been more comfortable sinking while clutching a good theory than swimming with an ugly fact.” ~ David Mamet
  54. “Society functions in a way much more interesting than the multiple-choice pattern we have been rewarded for succeeding at in school. Success in life comes not from the ability to choose between the four presented answers, but from the rather more difficult and painfully acquired ability to formulate the questions.” ~ David Mamet
  55. “A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue.” ~ David Mamet

  56. “The first amendment ensures not that speech will be fair, but that it will be free. It cannot be both.” ~ David Mamet
  57. “We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ~ David Mamet
  58. “Art is an expression of joy and awe. It is not an attempt to share one’s virtues and accomplishments with the audience, but an act of selfless spirit.” ~ David Mamet
  59. “We live in oppressive times. We have, as a nation, become our own thought police; but instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder ‘censorship,’ we call it ‘concern for commercial viability.” ~ David Mamet
  60. “The basis of drama is… the struggle of the hero towards a specific goal at the end of which he realizes that what kept him from it was, in the lesser drama, civilization and, in the great drama, the discovery of something that he did not set out to discover but which can be seen retrospectively as inevitable.” ~ David Mamet
  61. “All fears are one fear. Just the fear of death. And we accept it, then we are at peace.” ~ David Mamet

  62. “Here’s what happens in a play. You get involved in a situation where something is unbalanced. If nothing’s unbalanced, there’s no reason to have a play. If Hamlet comes home from school, and his dad’s not dead and asks him if he’s had a good time, it’s boring. But if something’s unbalanced, it must be returned to order.” ~ David Mamet
  63. “It’s hard to write a good play because it’s hard to structure a plot. If you can think of it off the top of your head, so can the audience.” ~ David Mamet
  64. “They have a desire to put on plays and to fulfill that traditional role of a theater in a community: to be the place where people go to hear the truth.” ~ David Mamet
  65. “The Founders recognized that Government is quite literally a necessary evil, that there must be opposition, between its various branches, and between political parties, for these are the only ways to temper the individual’s greed for power and the electorates’ desires for peace by submission to coercion or blandishment.” ~ David Mamet

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