9 Quotes from Kurt Vonnegut on How to Live

9 Quotes from Kurt Vonnegut on How to Live

Those who love Kurt Vonnegut love him hard and those who don’t know any of his work have quite a treat in store.

Kurt Vonnegut is the author of fourteen novels, three short story collections and various other works, published during his long and fruitful fifty-year career. Most famous for his satirical novel Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut was a morbidly comical writer whose work traversed the worlds of war, family life and the surreal. And he gave damn good advice too.

Read on for 9 quotes from Kurt Vonnegut on how to live.



These words come from Mother Night, a novel in which an American expat lives a double life as a Nazi propagandist in order to preserve his marriage to a German woman. Say what you mean and mean what you say, because you’re going to be judged on it accordingly.



The first novel published by Kurt Vonnegut in 1952, Player Piano is set in an almost completely mechanised near future where the lower classes are made up of those whose very human skills have been replaced.



We can only wonder if this epitaph made it onto Vonnegut’s grave as its location is unknown.



Taken from If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young, a collection of Vonnegut’s nine graduation addresses delivered at nine different colleges over the quarter century between 1978 and 2004.



Everyone’s favourite Kurt Vonnegut quote from his most famous novel, Slaughterhouse Five. You’d have to read far and wide to find four words more infused with the opposing emotions of indifference and hope.



Written into God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater as part of a baptismal speech the protagonist is going to deliver to his neighbours twins, this quote is pure Vonnegut, humorous, humanist and just a little bit weird.



From Vonnegut’s second novel, The Sirens of Titan, the meaning of life, all wrapped up and presented to you with a bow.



My favourite Kurt Vonnegut quote because it sounds like something my uncle would say, this quote is taken from A Man Without a Country, an essay collection of short Vonnegut works from 2005. Well worth a read.



From Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, this quote is a variation of a line from John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem ‘Maud Muller’ that reads: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: “It might have been!” That’s what the internet says, anyway.


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