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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Quotes

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
(29 Jun 1900 - 31 Jul 1944)

French novelist and aviator who is regarded as the poet of flight, and remembered for his story for children, Le Petit Prince (1943, The Little Prince).

Science Quotes by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (6 quotes)

If you want to build a ship, don’t recruit the men to gather the wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for vast and endless sea.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Not found as such in a work by Saint-Exupéry. Probably an anonymous paraphrase of a related passage in Citadelle (1948), section 75, 687. See the quote beginning, “One will weave the canvas…” on the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Quotes page of this website.
Science quotes on:  |  Build (204)  |  Divide (76)  |  Endless (56)  |  Gather (72)  |  Give (202)  |  Instead (21)  |  Order (632)  |  Recruit (2)  |  Sea (309)  |  Ship (64)  |  Teach (278)  |  Vast (178)  |  Want (497)  |  Wood (92)  |  Work (1351)  |  Yearn (12)

In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
From the French, “Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n'y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n'y a plus rien à retrancher,” in Terre des Hommes (1939). As translated by Lewis Galantière, in Wind, Sand, and Stars (1939), 66.
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (67)  |  Add (40)  |  All (4107)  |  Attain (125)  |  Design (196)  |  Know (1519)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Perfection (130)  |  Take Away (5)

Intelligence is not creative; judgment is not creative. If a sculptor is nothing but skill and mind, his hands will be without genius.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Translation by Lewis Galantière of Pilote de Guerre (1941) as Flight to Arras (1942, 2008), 130. A different translation is found in Jason Merchey, Values of the Wise: Humanity's Highest Aspirations (2004), 240: “Neither intelligence nor judgment are creative. If a scupltor is nothing but science and intelligence, his hands will have no talent.”
Science quotes on:  |  Creative (138)  |  Creativity (76)  |  Genius (285)  |  Hand (143)  |  Intelligence (213)  |  Judgment (132)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Sculptor (9)  |  Skill (109)  |  Will (2354)

One will weave the canvas; another will fell a tree by the light of his ax. Yet another will forge nails, and there will be others who observe the stars to learn how to navigate. And yet all will be as one. Building a boat isn’t about weaving canvas, forging nails, or reading the sky. It’s about giving a shared taste for the sea, by the light of which you will see nothing contradictory but rather a community of love.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
From the French, “Celui-là tissera des toiles, l’autre dans la forêt par l’éclair de sa hache couchera l’arbre. L’autre, encore, forgera des clous, et il en sera quelque part qui observeront les étoiles afin d’apprendre à gouverner. Et tous cependant ne seront qu’un. Créer le navire ce n’est point tisser les toiles, forger les clous, lire les astres, mais bien donner le goût de la mer qui est un, et à la lumière duquel il n’est plus rien qui soit contradictoire mais communauté dans l’amour.” In Citadelle (1948), Sect. 75, 687. An English edition was published as “Wisdom of the Sands.” The translation in the subject quote is given the website quoteinvestigator.com which discusses how it may have been paraphrased anonymously to yield the commonly seen quote as “If you want to build a ship, don’t recruit the men to gather the wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for vast and endless sea.”
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Axe (16)  |  Boat (17)  |  Build (204)  |  Building (156)  |  Community (104)  |  Forge (9)  |  Learn (632)  |  Light (609)  |  Love (309)  |  Nail (7)  |  Navigate (3)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Observe (168)  |  Other (2236)  |  Reading (133)  |  Sail (36)  |  Sea (309)  |  See (1082)  |  Share (75)  |  Sky (163)  |  Star (430)  |  Stars (304)  |  Taste (90)  |  Tree (246)  |  Weave (19)  |  Weaving (5)  |  Will (2354)

The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Wind, Sand, and Stars (1939).
Science quotes on:  |  Deeply (17)  |  Great (1575)  |  Isolate (22)  |  Machine (259)  |  Man (2249)  |  More (2559)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Plunge (11)  |  Problem (679)

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well …”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince. Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 5
Science quotes on:  |  Beautiful (259)  |  Desert (56)  |  Hide (69)  |  Little (708)  |  Prince (13)  |  Say (984)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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