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11 of the best Kurt Vonnegut quotes

From the wise to the witty, here are our favourite quotes from the author of Slaughterhouse 5.

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut is most famous for his 1969 novel, Slaughterhouse 5, but he wrote more than 25 books over the course of his career, from Breakfast of Champions to Mother Night

Within their pages are some of the wisest words on love, life, war, kindness and aliens.

Here are just some of our favourite Vonnegut quotes...

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’

from God Bless You, Mr Rosewater

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

from Mother Night

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

from Slaughterhouse 5

Of course it is exhausting, having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable.

from Breakfast of Champions

We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane

from Breakfast of Champions

I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, ‘Please – a little less love, and a little more common decency.’

from Slapstick, or Lonesome No More

Find your next Kurt Vonnegut book

Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.’

from Timequake

When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?’

advice to the graduating class of Agnes Schott College, Decatur, Georgia, 1999

If we are wounded by an ugly idea, we must count it as part of the cost of freedom and, like American heroes in the days gone by, bravely carry on.

from ‘The Idea Killers’ essay, 1984

And how should we behave during this Apocalypse? We should be unusually kind to one another, certainly. But we should also stop being so serious. Jokes help a lot. And get a dog, if you don’t already have one.

from ‘The Idea Killers’ essay, 1984

So it goes.

from Slaughterhouse 5

A new documentary on the extraordinary life of the celebrated author – Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time – comes to UK & Irish cinemas and altitude.film on 22 July 2022.

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