An accident is an inevitable occurrence due to the actions of immutable natural laws.
—Ambrose Bierce (1842–1913) American Short-story Writer, Journalist
All good fortune is a gift of the gods, and you don’t win the favor of the ancient gods by being good, but by being bold.
—Anita Brookner (1928–2016) English Novelist, Art Historian
Misfortune does not always result in harm.
There sometimes wants only a stroke of fortune to discover numberless latent good or bad qualities, which would otherwise have been eternally concealed; as words written with a certain liquor appear only when applied to the fire.
—George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick (1746–1816) British Nobleman, Politician
No one is truly free, they are a slave to wealth, fortune, the law, or other people restraining them from acting according to their will.
—Euripides (480–406 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
Fortunes made in no time are like shirts made in no time; it’s ten to one if they hang long together.
—Douglas William Jerrold (1803–57) English Writer, Dramatist, Wit
I have been extraordinarily lucky. Anyone who pretends that some kind of luck isn’t involved in his success is deluding himself.
—Arthur Hailey (1920–2004) British-born Canadian Novelist
I certainly think that it is better to be impetuous than cautious, for fortune is a woman, and it is necessary if you wish to master her, to conquer her by force.
—Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527) Florentine Political Philosopher
Some are satisfied to stand politely before the portals of Fortune and to await her bidding; better those who push forward, and who employ their enterprise, who on the wings of their worth and valor seek to embrace luck and effectively to gain her favor.
—Baltasar Gracian (1601–58) Spanish Scholar, Prose Writer
It is not Justice the servant of men, but accident, hazard, Fortune-the ally of patient Time-that holds an even and scrupulous balance.
—Mario Andretti (b.1940) Italian-born American Sportsperson
The worst cynicism: a belief in luck.
—Joyce Carol Oates (b.1938) American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Playwright, Poet, Literary Critic
I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
—Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
It is easy at any moment to surrender a large fortune; to build one up is a difficult and an arduous task.
—Livy (Titus Livius) (59 BCE–17 CE) Roman Historian
Luck is everything. … My good luck in life was to be a really frightened person. I’m fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn’t make a good suspense film.
—Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980) British-born American Film Director, Film Producer
Some folk want their luck buttered.
—Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) English Novelist, Poet
I am above being injured by fortune, though she steals away much, more will remain with me. The blessing I now enjoy transcend fear.
—Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) (c.43 BCE–c.18 CE) Roman Poet
When you work seven days a week, fourteen hours a day, you get lucky.
—Armand Hammer (1898–1992) American Entrepreneur, Businessman
Fortune makes a fool of those she favors too much.
—Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BCE) Roman Poet
Human life is more governed by fortune than by reason.
—David Hume (1711–76) Scottish Philosopher, Historian
Luck is believing you’re lucky.
—Tennessee Williams (1911–83) American Playwright
Ovid finely compares a broken fortune to a falling column; the lower it sinks, the greater weight it is obliged to sustain. When a man’s circumstances are such that he has no occasion to borrow, he finds numbers willing to lend him; but should his wants be such that he sues for a trifle, it is two to one whether he will be trusted with the smallest sum.
—Oliver Goldsmith (1730–74) Irish Novelist, Playwright, Poet
Luck implies an absolute absence of any principle.
—Zhuang Zhou (c.369–c.286 BCE) Chinese Taoist Philosopher
It requires greater virtues to support good than bad fortune.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
Life is full of chances and changes, and the most prosperous of men may … meet with great misfortunes.
—Aristotle (384BCE–322BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scholar
The fiery trials through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the last generation.
—Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) American Head of State
‘Tis better to be fortunate than wise.
—John Webster (1580–1634) English Dramatist, Poet
A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.
—Jane Austen (1775–1817) English Novelist
You have to be eligible for luck to strike, and I think that’s a matter of education and preparation, and character and all the other solid attributes that sometimes people laugh at.
—James A. Michener (1907–97) American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Historian
The use we make of our fortune determines as to its sufficiency. A little is enough if used wisely, and too much is not enough if expended foolishly.
—Christian Nestell Bovee (1820–1904) American Writer, Aphorist
May I always have a heart superior, with economy suitable, to my fortune.
—William Shenstone (1714–63) British Poet, Landscape Gardener