1902 – 1983
Who was Eric Hoffer?
Eric Hoffer was an American moral and social philosopher. He was the author of ten books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983. His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was widely recognized as a classic, receiving critical acclaim from both scholars and laymen, although Hoffer believed that his book The Ordeal of Change was his finest work. In 2001, the Eric Hoffer Award was established in his honor with permission granted by the Eric Hoffer Estate in 2005.
- The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders.
- Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy -- the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.
- Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
- The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness.
- The pleasure we derive from doing favors is partly in the feeling it gives us that we are not altogether worthless. It is a pleasant surprise to ourselves.
- Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.
- There is probably an element of malice in the readiness to overestimate people; we are laying up for ourselves the pleasure of later cutting them down to size.
- The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves.
- With some people solitariness is an escape not from others but from themselves. For they see in the eyes of others only a reflection of themselves.
- A heresy can spring only from a system that is in full vigor.