Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of thoughts and quotes by Alexander McCall Smith on love, life, philosophy, friends, sharing, government, inspiration and irony.

100 Alexander McCall Smith Quotes To Keep You High-Spirited

Famous As: British writer
Born On: August 24, 1948
Born In: Bulawayo, Rhodesia
Alexander McCall Smith is an English author, short story writer, children novel writer, professor and academician, best known for his work ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’ series. In 1978, Alexander co-wrote an academic text ‘Power and Manoeuvrability’ and in 1980 he wrote his first children’s book ‘The White Hippo’. From 1980-98, Alexander published 30 books, most of which were children’s books including ‘The Perfect Hamburger’, ‘Calculator Annie’, ‘The Doughnut Ring’, ‘The Bubblegum Tree’ and anthologies such as ‘Children of Wax: African Folk Tales’ and ‘Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations’. In 1998, Alexander published his first novel ‘The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’, which became a best-seller. Subsequently, Alexander published 16 books under the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series from 2002-16 including ‘The Kalahari Typing School for Men’, ‘Blue Shoes and Happiness’, ‘Tears of the Giraffe’, ‘Morality for Beautiful Girls’, ‘The Double Comfort Safari Club’, ‘The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon’, and ‘Precious and Grace’. In his stint at the University of Botswana, Alexander co-wrote the ‘The Criminal Law of Botswana’, which is the sole book on Botswana’s legal system. Alexander also has some novel series to his credits such as ’44 Scotland Street’ series, ‘The Sunday Philosophy Club’ series, ‘Corduroy Mansions’ series. His books, essays and other writings have become popular quotations and are frequently quoted by people. A collection of sayings, thoughts and quotations by Alexander McCall Smith on irony, life, knowledge and philosophy.
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It is sometimes easier to be happy if you don't know everything.

Alexander McCall Smith

She was made for untidy rooms and rumpled beds.

Alexander McCall Smith

We all know that it is women who make the decisions, but we have to let men think that the decisions are theirs. It is an act of kindness on the part of women.

Alexander McCall Smith

The telling of a story, like virtually everything in this life, was always made all the easier by a cup of tea.

Alexander McCall Smith

That of all people, it should be him; that took her aback. That the heart should settle on somebody like him; that surprised her. But she was so certain about it, so certain.

Alexander McCall Smith

Be content with who you are and where you are, and do whatever you can do to bring to others such contentment, and joy, and understanding that you have managed to find yourself.

Alexander McCall Smith

Do not act meanly, do not be unkind, because the time for setting things right may pass before your heart changes course. Isabel Dalhousie

Alexander McCall Smith

A life without stories would be no life at all. And stories bound us, did they not, one to another, the living to the dead, people to animals, people to the land?

Alexander McCall Smith

But don't we often lie to people we love, or not tell them things, precisely because we love them?

Alexander McCall Smith

Every man has a map in his heart of his own country and that the heart will never allow you to forget this map. (p. 18)

Alexander McCall Smith

...great things may come from moments of nothingness.

Alexander McCall Smith

There are many women whose lives would be immeasurably improved by widowhood, but one should not always point that out.

Alexander McCall Smith

If your ceiling should fall down, then you have lost a room, but gained a courtyard. Think of it that way.

Alexander McCall Smith

There is room in history for all of us.

Alexander McCall Smith

There is plenty of work for love to do.

Alexander McCall Smith

I am just a tiny person in Africa, but there is a place for me, and for everybody, to sit down on this earth and touch it and call it their own.

Alexander McCall Smith

Traditional Botswana men like ladies who are more traditionally shaped. You and I, Mma. We remind men of how things used to be in Botswana before these modern-shaped ladies started to get men all confused.

Alexander McCall Smith

The previously unloved may find it hard to believe that they are now loved; that is such a miracle, they feel; such a miracle.

Alexander McCall Smith

Special things have a way of surviving.

Alexander McCall Smith

You are a lucky lady to be marrying a man who can fix things. Most husbands just break things.

Alexander McCall Smith

You have to leave your heart to get on with it. It's rather like breathing. We don't have to remind ourselves to breathe.

Alexander McCall Smith

Do you realise that people die of boredom in London suburbs? It's the second biggest cause of death amongs the English in general. Sheer boredom...

Alexander McCall Smith

Sorry about your sausage dog.

Alexander McCall Smith

We should be careful of the insults we fling at others, lest they return and land at our feet, newly minted to apply to those who had first coined them.

Alexander McCall Smith

There was a distinction between lying and telling half-truths, but it was a very narrow one.

Alexander McCall Smith

How many of us are happy to be exactly where we are at any moment?...only the completely happy think that they are in the correct place.

Alexander McCall Smith

This was a townscape raised in the teeth of cold winds from the east; a city of winding cobbled streets and haughty pillars; a city of dark nights and candlelight, and intellect.

Alexander McCall Smith

If more women were in power, they wouldn't let wars break out," she said. "Women can't be bothered with all this fighting. We see war for what it is- a matter of broken bodies and crying mothers.

Alexander McCall Smith

The point about love, the essential point, was that we loved what we loved. We did not choose. We just loved.

Alexander McCall Smith

This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.

Alexander McCall Smith

Women are the ones who knows what's going on,' she said quietly . 'They are the ones with eyes. Have you not heard of Agatha Christie?

Alexander McCall Smith

People stuck by others for years and years, in the face of all odds, and it should be relief, not disbelief, that one felt on witnessing it.

Alexander McCall Smith

She's sociopathic. She will have no moral compunction in doing whatever is in her interests. It's as simple as that.

Alexander McCall Smith

We shall change all that...because it is possible to change the world, if one is determined enough, and if one sees with sufficient clarity just what has to be changed.

Alexander McCall Smith

Sometimes she thought that the people overseas had no room in their heart for Africa, because nobody had ever told them that African people were just the same as they were

Alexander McCall Smith

If you take God out of it, then right and justice become small, human things. And weak things too.

Alexander McCall Smith

Everybody knows, she thought, that we have a skeleton underneath our skin; there's no reason to show it

Alexander McCall Smith

Boys, men," she said. "They're all the same. They think that this [their manhood] is something special and they're all so proud of it. They do not know how ridiculous it is.

Alexander McCall Smith

There was nothing more unattractive than narcissism, she thought: nothing could transform beauty into a cloying, unattractive quality than that self-conscious appreciation of self.

Alexander McCall Smith

The danger, of course, is that we spend time imagining that we would be happier elsewhere, and forget to cultivate happiness where fate has placed us.

Alexander McCall Smith

...the thought crossed her mind that a bed was really a very strange thing-a human nest, really, where our human fragility made its nightly demands for comfort and cosseting

Alexander McCall Smith

It was a pointed sigh, as sighs sometimes are, not one cast into the air to evaporate, but one calculated to descend, precisely and with great effect, on a target.

Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel saw the intimacy of the gestures and felt immediately empty, a sensation so physical and so overwhelming that she felt for a moment that she might stop breathing, being empty of air

Alexander McCall Smith

When you are with somebody you love the smallest, smallest things can be so important, so amusing because love transforms the world, everything. And was that what had happened?

Alexander McCall Smith

International business, once allowed to stalk uncontrolled, killed the local, the small, the quirky.

Alexander McCall Smith

That, said Isabel, is the most painful feature of lost love. you wonder what the other person is doing. Right at this moment. What is he/she doing?

Alexander McCall Smith

There was no need for words, for there are times when words can only hint at what the heart would wish to say.

Alexander McCall Smith

No plaque reminds the passer-by of these glories, although there should be one; for those who invent biscuits bring great pleasure to many.

Alexander McCall Smith

Myth could be as sustaining as reality - sometimes even more so.

Alexander McCall Smith

It's a different sort of love taht puts up with illness. Old love.

Alexander McCall Smith

There was so much suffering in Africa that it was tempting just to shrug your shoulders and walk away. But you can't do that, she thought. You just can't.

Alexander McCall Smith

But he'll never be fully recognised, because Scots literature these days is all about complaining and moaning and being injured in one's soul.

Alexander McCall Smith

There were two classes of persons upon whom a duty of virtually absolute confidentiality rested: doctors and lovers.

Alexander McCall Smith

...pleasure at hearing what all of us wanted to hear at least occasionally: that there was somebody who liked us, whatever our faults, and liked us sufficiently to say so. - Precious Ramotswe

Alexander McCall Smith

Tea, for me, is one of the great subjects. It is a romatic trade, it does not pollute excessively, it has all sorts of health benefits, it calms and wakes you up at the same time.

Alexander McCall Smith

...because love can come, if you believe in it and behave as if it exists. That was the case, too, with free will; with perhaps, fath of any sort; and love was a sort of faith, was it not?

Alexander McCall Smith

She felt that she had revealed something to Cat, and with revealing something about oneself there always comes a sense of lightening of the load that we all carry; the load of being ourselves.

Alexander McCall Smith

It was easy to be moral when that was the way you felt anyway. The hard bit about morality was making yourself feel the opposite of what you really felt.

Alexander McCall Smith

We never realise how transparent we are.

Alexander McCall Smith

How remarkable it was, she thought, that we managed to anchor ourselves at all in this world, and that we did so by giving ourselves names and linking those names with places and other people.

Alexander McCall Smith

Nobody went to bed at seven in Paris, even French children. Les enfants stayed up late at night, he had heard, eating with the adults, sipping red wine, and discussing the latest books and films.

Alexander McCall Smith

I told him that if a man is born in a dry place, then although he may dream of rain, he does not want too much, and that he will not mind the sun that beats down and down.

Alexander McCall Smith

It just did not make sense; unless, of course, as she had suggested, we all have a weak point, an area of intellectual or emotional vulnerability that may be quite out of keeping with out character.

Alexander McCall Smith

If we treated others with the consideration that one would give to those who only had a few days to live, then we would be kinder, at least.

Alexander McCall Smith

Brother Fox looked in. He saw two people. He saw them raise their glasses of wine to him, liquid that for him was suspended in the air, as if by a miracle.

Alexander McCall Smith

...is under active consideration.

Alexander McCall Smith

For each of us, she thought, there is out completeness in another. Whether we find it, or it finds us, or it eludes all finding is a matter of moral luck.

Alexander McCall Smith

Talking about pumpkins doesn't make them grow.

Alexander McCall Smith

I think that the measure of whether a life has been a good one is how much love there has been in that life--love both given and received.

Alexander McCall Smith

Everything is possible in love. In the heart of each of us there can be many rooms, and sometimes there are.

Alexander McCall Smith

Distant wrongs, she thought: an interesting issue in moral philosophy. Do past wrongs seem less wrong to us simply because they are less vivid?

Alexander McCall Smith

You simply could not help everybody; but you could at least help those who came into your life.

Alexander McCall Smith

The new lover, of a few weeks standing, may seem more precious than friends of decades.

Alexander McCall Smith

You cannot make somebody love something. They must have love in their heart first.

Alexander McCall Smith

That's the curious thing about love, isn't it? It makes very ordinary things seem special. It makes them seem so much more valuable than they really are.

Alexander McCall Smith

...has it ever occurred to people that love at first sight might be the rule rather than the exception? How many people fall in love gradually rather than on the first occasion they meet the other person?

Alexander McCall Smith

Perhaps if you don't know there's a gap, you don't worry about it. If you were a millipede, a tshongololo, crawling along the ground would you look at the birds and worry about not having wings? Probably not.

Alexander McCall Smith

She had been seized with a sudden existential horror. The house had white carpets and white furniture and, most significantly, no books.

Alexander McCall Smith

Men can be teenagers until well into their twenties. That is well known

Alexander McCall Smith

Well, that's the important thing, isn't it, Mma? To feel happiness, and then to remember it.

Alexander McCall Smith

Lightning always strikes in the same place twice," said Mma Ramotswe. "Whatever people say to the contrary.

Alexander McCall Smith

It is my duty to help them solve the mysteries in their lives. That is what I am called to do.

Alexander McCall Smith

The young rarely believe that they will not be able to get what they want, because there is always an open future.

Alexander McCall Smith

She had noticed that there was a tendency on the part of some Americans to believe that everybody, deep inside, wanted to live in America, and that it was inexplicable that people who could do so did not.

Alexander McCall Smith

You say that you lost your child. You know how I feel then. You know that, don't you? It's a sadness that never goes away.

Alexander McCall Smith

Anthropology, she thought, like charity, surely begins at home.

Alexander McCall Smith

...it must be odd to have no ambition, not to want something more.

Alexander McCall Smith

Myth is a cloud based upon a shadow based upon the movement of the breeze.

Alexander McCall Smith

I'd like to be tidy, said Hen, I try, but I guess you can't be what you aren't.

Alexander McCall Smith

None of us is immune to shipwreck. Come, beckons the fatal shore: come and die on my white sands, it said. And we do.

Alexander McCall Smith

She remembered love, though, and a feeling of warmth. It was like remembering light, or the glow that sometimes persists after a light has gone out.

Alexander McCall Smith

Mma Ramotswe did not like lying, but sometimes it was necessary, particularly when faced with people who were promoted beyond their talents.

Alexander McCall Smith

Moisturiser and a good cry: two things for modern men to think about.

Alexander McCall Smith

Will you be my friend?” Bertie asked. And then added: “Just for Paris. You don’t have to be my friend forever – just for Paris.

Alexander McCall Smith

The problem with being me, thought Isabel, as she walked along George IV Bridge, is that I keep thinking about the problem of being me.

Alexander McCall Smith

Women, as usual, were expected to behave better than men, and inevitably attracted criticism for doing things that men were licensed to do with impunity.

Alexander McCall Smith

It was time for tea as it so often was.

Alexander McCall Smith

Antonia was very conscious of the corrosive power of envy and felt that it was this emotion, more than any other, which lay behind human unhappiness. People did not realise how widespread envy was.

Alexander McCall Smith

There's a difference, I think, between falling in love and knowing it.

Alexander McCall Smith

How many of us are happy to be exactly where we are at any moment?

Alexander McCall Smith