Books

Wisdom from Leo Tolstoy works

Unarguably one of the most influential and important writers of all time, Leo Tolstoy mastered fiction, non-fiction, plays, essays and pretty much any form of writing you can name.

Which means that, embedded in all his great writing, is a whole load of noteworthy wisdom. We've gone through some of his classics to unearth the 20 finest examples.

Let us know if we've missed off your favourite at the bottom.

“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”

War and Peace

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“If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.”

Anna Karenina

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“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”

A Confession

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“Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.”

War and Peace

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“But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.”

Anna Karenina

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“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”

War and Peace

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“A man is never such an egotist as at moments of spiritual ecstasy. At such times it seems to him that there is nothing on earth more splendid and interesting than himself.”

The Cossacks

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“One must be cunning and wicked in this world.”

War and Peace

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“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.”

Anna Karenina

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“The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.”

A Confession

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“Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.”

War and Peace

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“The pleasure lies not in discovering truth, but in searching for it.”

Anna Karenina

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“For if we allow that human life is always guided by reason, we destroy the premise that life is possible at all.”

War and Peace

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“Self-conceit is a sentiment entirely incompatible with genuine sorrow”

Childhood

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“A battle is won by him who is firmly resolved to win it.”

War and Peace

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“All we can know is that we know nothing. And that's the height of human wisdom.”

War and Peace

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“Society in itself is no great harm, but unsatisfied social aspirations are a bad and ugly business. We must certainly accept, and we will.”

Family Happiness

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“A man's every action is inevitably conditioned by what surrounds him and by his own body.”

War and Peace

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“No one is satisfied with his position, but every one is satisfied with his wit”

Anna Karenina

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“We love people not so much for the good they've done us, as for the good we've done them.”

War and Peace

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(Images: Rex Features, All Star)

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