65 Harper Lee Quotes On Success In Life

Nelle Harper Lee was an American novelist best known for her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. Lee published only two books, yet she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 for her contribution to literature. She also received numerous honorary degrees, though she declined to speak on those occasions. She assisted her close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood (1966). Capote was the basis for the character Dill Harris in To Kill a Mockingbird. These Harper Lee quotes will motivate you.

Best Harper Lee Quotes

  1. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” ~ Harper Lee
  2. “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” ~ Harper Lee
  3. “As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don’t think you are the most important being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, ‘I’m probably no better than you, but I’m certainly your equal.” ~ Harper Lee
  4. “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” ~ Harper Lee
  5. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” ~ Harper Lee

  6. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” ~ Harper Lee
  7. “Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.” ~ Harper Lee
  8. “Characters make their own plot. The dimensions of the characters determine the action of the novel.” ~ Harper Lee
  9. “It’s not necessary to tell all you know.” ~ Harper Lee
  10. “A man can condemn his enemies, but it’s wiser to know them.” ~ Harper Lee

  11. “Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. And, Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up — some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.” ~ Harper Lee
  12. “Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of another… There are just some kind of men who-who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” ~ Harper Lee
  13. “The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that.” ~ Harper Lee
  14. “Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.” ~ Harper Lee

  15. “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.” ~ Harper Lee
  16. “Things are always better in the morning.” ~ Harper Lee
  17. “Everybody’s gotta learn, nobody’s born knowing.” ~ Harper Lee

  18. “You can’t really get to know a person until you get in their shoes and walk around in them.” ~ Harper Lee
  19. “Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?” ~ Harper Lee
  20. “It’s better to be silent than to be a fool.” ~ Harper Lee
  21. “People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.” ~ Harper Lee
  22. “Writing is a process of self-discipline you must learn before you can call yourself a writer. There are people who write, but I think they’re quite different from people who must write.” ~ Harper Lee
  23. “Things are never as bad as they seem.” ~ Harper Lee

  24. “There’s no substitute for the love of language, for the beauty of an English sentence. There’s no substitute for struggling, if a struggle is needed, to make an English sentence as beautiful as it should be.” ~ Harper Lee
  25. “She knew full well the enormity of her offense, but because her desires were stronger than the code she was breaking, she persisted in breaking it.” ~ Harper Lee
  26. “It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” ~ Harper Lee
  27. “When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles ’em.” ~ Harper Lee
  28. “Now…in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.” ~ Harper Lee
  29. “You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” ~ Harper Lee

  30. “We’re paying the highest tribute you can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It’s that simple.” ~ Harper Lee
  31. “Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself.” ~ Harper Lee
  32. “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” ~ Harper Lee
  33. “There are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father’s one of them.” ~ Harper Lee
  34. “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” ~ Harper Lee
  35. “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.” ~ Harper Lee
  36. “I do my best to love everybody” ~ Harper Lee

  37. “To be a serious writer requires discipline that is iron-fisted. It’s sitting down and doing it whether you think you have it in you or not. Everyday. Alone. Without interruption. Contrary to what most people think, there is no glamour to writing. In fact, it’s heartbreak most of the time.” ~ Harper Lee
  38. “Writing is something you’ll never learn in any university or at any school. It’s something that is within you, and if it isn’t there, nothing can put it there.” ~ Harper Lee
  39. “But sometimes we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the chips are down.” ~ Harper Lee
  40. “I never expected any sort of success with ‘Mockingbird’… I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement.” ~ Harper Lee
  41. “…but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.” ~ Harper Lee

  42. “Wordsworth was right when he said that we trail clouds of glory as we come into the world, that we are born with a divine sense of perception. As we grow older, the world closes in on us, and we gradually lose the freshness of viewpoint that we had as children. That is why I think children should get to know this country while they are young.” ~ Harper Lee
  43. “Naturally, you don’t sit down in “white-hot inspiration” and write with a burning flame in front of you. But since I knew I could never be happy being anything but a writer, and Mockingbird put itself together for me so accommodatingly, I kept at it because I knew it had to be my first novel, for better or for worse.” ~ Harper Lee
  44. “Sometimes the Bible in the hands of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hands of another.” ~ Harper Lee
  45. “There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. That’s never possible.” ~ Harper Lee
  46. “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” ~ Harper Lee

  47. “You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change…” ~ Harper Lee
  48. “My objectives are very limited. I want to do the best I can with the talent God gave me. I hope to goodness that every novel I do gets better and better, not worse and worse.” ~ Harper Lee
  49. “Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives.” ~ Harper Lee
  50. “Ladies pick funny things to be proud of.” ~ Harper Lee

  51. “This time we aren’t fighting the Yankees, we’re fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they’re still our friends and this is still our home.” ~ Harper Lee
  52. “He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.” ~ Harper Lee
  53. “Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.” ~ Harper Lee
  54. “I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.” ~ Harper Lee
  55. “Sometimes it’s better to bend the law a little in special cases.” ~ Harper Lee

  56. “If there’s just one kind of folks, why can’t they get along with each other? If they’re all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something. I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time. It’s because he wants to stay inside.” ~ Harper Lee Quotes
  57. “I suppose she chose me because she knew my name; as I read the alphabet a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, and after making me read most of My First Reader and the stock-market quotations from The Mobile Register aloud, she discovered that I was literate and looked at me with more than faint distaste. Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me anymore, it would interfere with my reading.” ~ Harper Lee
  58. “Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.” ~ Harper Lee

  59. “Atticus, he was real nice.” “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.” ~ Harper Lee
  60. “Some negroes lie, some are immoral, some negro men are not be trusted around women – black and white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men.” ~ Harper Lee
  61. “As a reader I loathe introductions…Introductions inhibit pleasure, they kill the joy of anticipation, they frustrate curiosity.” ~ Harper Lee
  62. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.” ~ Harper Lee
  63. “summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat;it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape.” ~ Harper Lee
  64. “Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy… and no money to buy it with.” ~ Harper Lee
  65. “Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself…It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” ~ Harper Lee

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