When you discover that you are
riding a dead horse, the best
strategy is to dismount.

Dakota tribal saying


To act with common sense, according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one's duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one's lot, bless the goodness that has given us so much happiness with it, whatever it is, and despise affectation.

Horatio Walpole


Common sense and nature will do a lot to make the pilgrimage of life not too difficult.

W. Somerset Maugham

Common sense is the foundation of all authorities, of the laws themselves, and of their construction.

Thomas Jefferson
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

the Buddha

Common sense is as rare as genius,--is the basis of genius.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at
different speeds.  A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.

William James


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Common sense has given to words their ordinary signification,
and common sense is the genius of humankind.

Francois Pierre Guizot

Common sense, alas in spite of our educational institutions,
is a rare commodity.

Christian Nestell Bovee

If common sense has not the brilliancy of the sun, it has
the fixity of the stars.

Fernan Caballero


Everybody gets so much information all day long
that they lose their common sense.

Gertrude Stein

Common sense is instinct.  Enough of it is Genius.

George Bernard Shaw

Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are,
and doing things as they ought to be done.

Harriet Beecher Stowe


It is a thousand times better to have common sense without
education than to have education without common sense.

Robert Green Ingersoll

Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

Victor Hugo

There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.

Frank Lloyd Wright


Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.




The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are first,
hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.

Thomas Alva Edison


Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius.

An Wang

Common sense is the genius of humanity.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a person's upper
chamber, if it has common sense on the ground floor.

Oliver Wendell Holmes


The most practical thing in the world is
common sense and common humanity.

Nancy Astor



There are forty kinds
of lunacy, but only one
kind of common sense.

African Proverb

The rule for traveling abroad
is to take our common sense
with us, and leave our
prejudices behind.

William Hazlitt

When the philosopher's argument becomes tedious, complicated,
and opaque, it is usually a sign that he or she is attempting to prove
as true to the intellect what is plainly false to common sense.

Edward Abbey

My greatest strength is common sense.  Iím really a standard
brand--like Campbellís tomato soup or Bakerís chocolate.

Katharine Hepburn

The Art of Common Sense
Wilferd A. Peterson

Common sense is a personal compass for guidance around the rocks and shoals of life.

Common sense is not based on theory; it is not a hypothesis.  It is life acted out, it is discoveries made in the crucible of existence.  It is the tried and tested experiences of humankind.

Common sense sits in judgment on the centuries, on every science, every religion, every art, every government.  It is based on what has been proved true, sound and practical.

Common sense is the voice of the ages.  It is the distilled essence of what people have learned about life as expressed in the proverbs and maxims of all nations.  "That person is happy who lives on his or her own labor," observed the Egyptian.  "Just scale and full measure injure no person," recorded the Chinese.  "Examine what is said and not who speaks," said the Arabian.  "An idle brain is the devil's workshop," wrote the English. . . .

Common sense is pragmatic.  It is what William James called "the cash value of an idea."  It is a method that works, a truth that can be applied.

Common sense is the common denominator of intelligence, the key to right answers.

Common sense recognizes the utter senselessness of war, the irrationality of using death, suffering and destruction as a way of settling disputes.

Common sense observes that crime does not pay, that murder will be found out, that the law of compensation works relentlessly and cannot be escaped.

Common sense is the rock on which every enduring institution and organization must be built.

Common sense is the law of God written into the nature of the universe.  It is the sum total of the workable findings of people in their long evolution toward the light.

Common sense is dynamic, not static.  It changes as time goes on.

The art of common sense is applying the best wisdom we know today based on all our yesterdays.


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Common sense will nearly always stand you in better stead
than a slavish adherence to the conventions.

M.M. Kaye
Shadow of the Moon

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Literary Remains, Vol. 1


Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a person's upper chamber,
if he or she has common sense on the ground floor.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Common sense is the fundamental factor in all spiritual disciplines.
No rule is an eternal rule.  Rules change from place to place, time
to time and from one condition to another condition.


In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything.  I am
strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common
decency.  This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust
or profit in the Republic.  But I do not repine, for I am
a subject of it only by force of arms.

H.L. Mencken


Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world,
for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.

Renť Descartes



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



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