150 Arthur Conan Doyle on Life, Mystery, and Literature

Here are the top 150 Arthur Conan Doyle quotes that will prove that this man of many talents is more than just about his timeless character, Sherlock Holmes.

So, if you’re curious to know more, or if you’re looking for some lines that will inspire you on how to live life, then this collection is definitely a must-read!

Arthur Conan Doyle was talented in many aspects. He was a writer, a journalist, a physician, but he’s also a multifaceted sportsman.

However, there’s no denying that he excelled in the art of storytelling more than any other.

Maybe it’s because he was a strong campaigner against injustice, or maybe because he had a vivid imagination that helped him share his vision and thoughts to the world.

Get to know more about Arthur Conan Doyle through the quotes below.

And make sure to read these Leo Tolstoy quotes and Anton Chekhov quotes.

Best Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.

1. “Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”

2. “The most dangerous condition for a man or a nation is when his intellectual side is more developed than his spiritual. Is that not exactly the condition of the world today?”

3. “You see, but you do not observe.”

4. “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.”

5. “The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

6. “Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

7. “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought of anything but the ride you are taking.”

8. “When the impossible has been eliminated, all that remains no matter how improbable is possible.”

9. “A dog reflects family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.”

Famous and Most Well-Known Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

10. “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

11. “You yourself may not be luminous, but you are a conductor of light.”

12. “Skill is fine and genius is splendid, but the right contacts are more valuable than either.”

13. “Healthy scepticism is the basis of all accurate observation.”

14. “His sanguine spirit turns every firefly into a star.”

15. “Any truth is better than indefinite doubt.”

16. “There are always some lunatics about. It would be a dull world without them.”

17. “It is stupidity, rather than courage, to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.”

18. “Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.”

19. “There are no fools so troublesome as those who have some wit.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes About Facts and Evidence

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - It is not that I think or believe, but that I know.

20. “It is not that I think or believe, but that I know.”

21. “I think there are certain crimes which the law cannot touch, and which therefore, to some extent, justify private revenge.”

22. “When once your point of view is changed, the very thing which was so damning becomes a clue to the truth.”

23. “It’s every man’s business to see justice done.”

24. “You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.”

25. “The grand thing is to be able to reason backwards.”

26. “We balance probabilities and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use of the imagination.”

27. “Circumstantial evidence is occasionally very convincing, as when you find a trout in the milk, to quote Thoreau’s example.”

28. “Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.”

29. “You cannot see the lettuce and the dressing without suspecting a salad.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes on Sentiments and Beliefs

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - There's a light in a woman's eyes that speaks louder than words.

30. “There’s a light in a woman’s eyes that speaks louder than words.”

31. “One must wait till it comes.”

32. “Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”

33. “I have frequently gained my first real insight into the character of parents by studying their children.”

34. “Of all ghosts, the ghosts of our old loves are the worst.”

35. “I have mastered the principles of several religions. They have all shocked me by the violence which I should have to do to my reason to accept the dogmas of any one of them.”

36. “Dogmas of every kind put assertion in the place of reason and give rise to more contention, bitterness, and want of charity than any other influence in human affairs.”

37. “There is danger for him who takes the tiger cub, and danger also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman.”

38. “I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner.”

39. “Anything seems commonplace, once explained.”

Inspirational Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

40. “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”

41. “The chief proof of man’s real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.”

42. “But it is better to learn wisdom late than never to learn it at all.”

43. “We can’t command our love, but we can our actions.”

44. “My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work!”

45. “Bricks and mortar won’t make a staircase to heaven. I believe your Master, that the human heart is the best temple.”

46. “What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done?”

47. “When you have eliminated the impossible, what is left, no matter how unlikely, is the truth.”

48. “It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery.”

49. “The future was with fate. The present was our own.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes About Humanity

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - Homo Sapiens! Homo idioticus!

50. “There seems to me to be absolutely no limit to the inanity and credulity of the human race. Homo Sapiens! Homo idioticus!”

51. “The unexpected has happened so continually in my life that it has ceased to deserve the name.”

52. “Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.”

53. “The more we progress, the more we tend to progress. We advance not in arithmetical, but in geometrical progression. We draw compound interest on the whole capital of knowledge and virtue which has been accumulated since the dawning of time.”

54. “When such men, who are beyond hope and fear, begin in their dim minds to see the source of their woes, it may be an evil time for those who have wronged them.”

55. “The weak man becomes strong when he has nothing, for then only can he feel the wild, mad thrill of despair.”

56. “Jealousy is a strange transformer of characters.”

57. “At the moment, our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans.”

58. “Some people’s affability is more deadly than the violence of coarser souls.”

59. “When we think how narrow and devious this path of nature is, how dimly we can trace it, for all our lamps of science, and how from the darkness which girds it round great and terrible possibilities loom ever shadowy upwards, it is a bold and a confident man who will put a limit to the strange by-oaths into which the human spirit may wander.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes on Justice and Law

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - There are times, young fellah, when every one of us must make a stand for human rights and justice.

60. “There are times, young fellah, when every one of us must make a stand for human rights and justice, or you never feel clean again.”

61. “Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions.”

62. “No violence, gentlemen. No violence, I beg of you! Consider the furniture!”

63. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”

64. “Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society.”

65. “It is more than possible; it is probable.”

66. “My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.”

67. “The schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.”

68. “I wanted to end the world but, I’ll settle for ending yours.”

69. “There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes That Will Make You Think About Life

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it.

70. “Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it.”

71. “Life, it turns out, is infinitely more clever and adaptable than anyone had ever supposed.”

72. “So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a link to it.”

73. “The most difficult crime to track is the one which is purposeless.”

74. “A man always finds it hard to realize that he may have finally lost a woman’s love, however badly he may have treated her.”

75. “If in 100 years I am only known as the man who invented Sherlock Holmes, then I will have considered my life a failure.”

76. “For strange effects and extraordinary combinations, we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.”

77. “The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning.”

78. “Everything comes in circles—the old wheel turns, and the same spoke comes up. It’s all been done before, and will be again.”

79. “It is the small men and not the great who hold their noses in the air.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes About Books and Knowledge

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods.

80. “The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods.”

81. “Critics kind never mind! Critics flatter no matter! Critics blame all the same! Do your best damn the rest!”

82. “There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as that faint, subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.”

83. “To a great mind, nothing is little.”

84. “There comes a time when for every addition of knowledge, you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

85. “Of all ruins, that of a noble mind is the most deplorable.”

86. “To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself to pieces.”

87. “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.”

88. “It is with nations as it is with individuals. A book of history is a book of sermons.”

89. “What one man can invent, another can discover.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes on the Little Things

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!

90. “How sweet the morning air is! How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!”

91. “Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.”

92. “There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him, and why retribution has come upon him.”

93. “Do you know anything on earth which has not a dangerous side if it is mishandled and exaggerated?”

94. “Work is the best antidote to sorrow, my dear Watson.”

95. “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”

96. “The lowest and vilest alleys of London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”

97. “Our ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature.”

98. “I have my own views about Nature’s methods, though I feel that it is rather like a beetle giving his.”

99. “There are heroisms all around us waiting to be done.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes on Existence and Fate

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence.

100. “My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. These little problems help me to do so.”

101. “I have taken to living by my wits.”

102. “You wish to put me in the dark. I tell you that I will never be put in the dark. You wish to beat me. I tell you that you will never beat me.”

103. “Every man finds his limitations, Mr. Holmes, but at least it cures us of the weakness of self-satisfaction.”

104. “I am not the law, but I represent justice so far as my feeble powers go.”

105. “Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill.”

106. “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

107. “I never can resist a touch of the dramatic.”

108. “The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply.”

109. “It is a fool’s plan to teach a man to be a cur in peace, and think that he will be a lion in war.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes on Intelligence

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience.

110. “All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience.”

111. “A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.”

112. “I am an omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles.”

113. “His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge.”

114. “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.”

115. “It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.”

116. “That which is clearly known has less terror than that which is but hinted at and guessed.”

117. “The ways of fate are indeed hard to understand. If there is not some compensation hereafter, then the world is a cruel jest.”

118. “The ideal reasoner would, when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it but also all the results which would follow from it.”

119. “You know my methods. Apply them.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes About Love and Faith

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - It was all love on my side, and all good comradeship and friendship on hers.

120. “It was all love on my side, and all good comradeship and friendship on hers.”

121. “When we parted, she was a free woman, but I could never again be a free man.”

122. “A trusty comrade is always of use; and a chronicler still more so.”

123. “Heaven, too, was very near to them in those days. God’s direct agency was to be seen in the thunder and the rainbow, the whirlwind and the lightning.”

124. “To the believer, clouds of angels and confessors, and martyrs, armies of the sainted and the saved, were ever stooping over their struggling brethren upon earth, raising, encouraging, and supporting them.”

125. “You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought.”

126. “My sister and I were twins, and you know how subtle are the links which bind two souls which are so closely allied.”

127. “Picnics are very dear to those who are in the first stage of the tender passion.”

128. “Nature is the true revelation of the Deity to man. The nearest green field is the inspired page from which you may read all that it is needful for you to know.”

129. “How wise and how merciful is that provision of nature by which his earthly anchor is usually loosened by many little imperceptible tugs, until his consciousness has drifted out of its untenable earthly harbor into the great sea beyond!”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes on Solving Crime

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - The larger crimes are apt to be the simpler, for the bigger the crime.

130. “The larger crimes are apt to be the simpler, for the bigger the crime, the more obvious, as a rule, is the motive.”

131. “As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is, the less mysterious it proves to be.”

132. “Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.”

133. “It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.”

134. “They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains. It’s a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work.”

135. “Watson, come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.”

136. “While the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will be up to, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician.”

137. “His love of danger, his intense appreciation of the drama of an adventure—all the more intense for being held tightly in—his consistent view that every peril in life is a form of sport, a fierce game betwixt you and fate, with death as a forfeit, made him a wonderful companion at such hours.”

138. “I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncoloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material?”

139. “And once again, Mr. Sherlock Holmes is free to devote his life to examining those interesting little problems which the complexity of human life so plentiful presents.”

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes That Are Filled With Wisdom and Insight

Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes - Violence recoils on the violent.

140. “Violence recoils on the violent.”

141. “The best way of successfully acting a part is to be it.”

142. “I never guess. It is a shocking habit destructive to the logical faculty.”

143. “We must look for consistency. Where there is a want of it we must suspect deception.”

144. “There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen.”

145. “It isn’t true that the laws of nature have been capriciously disturbed; that snakes have talked; that women have been turned into salt; that rods have brought water out of rocks.”

146. “There is a danger there—a very real danger to humanity. Consider, Watson, that the material, the sensual, the worldly would all prolong their worthless lives. The spiritual would not avoid the call to something higher. It would be the survival of the least fit. What sort of cesspool may not our poor world become?”

147. “If I could be assured of your destruction, I would in the interest of the public, cheerfully accept my death.”

148. “Women are naturally secretive, and they like to do their own secreting.”

149. “Horses—dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle”

150. “What can we know? What are we all? Poor silly half-brained things peering out at the infinite, with the aspirations of angels and the instinct of beasts.”

Life’s a Mystery, but Did You Find Clues on How You Can Live Earnestly Through These Arthur Conan Doyle Quotes?

Arthur Conan Doyle is a Scottish writer best known for his work and the creation of one of the world’s most timeless characters, Sherlock Holmes. And though he’s mostly known for his crime and detective fiction works, he also explored other genres such as fantasy, romance, science fiction, and even non-fiction. But his work on Sherlock Holmes is truly something that has unsurmountable influence in the world even to this day. He offered many words of wisdom in Sherlock’s adventures. He taught us the difference between knowledge and wisdom, and that quality is always better than quantity. The world he built for Sherlock Holmes gave us a chance to look at the world a little differently, and allowed us to think twice about our decisions and our thought processes. We should always take time to think things over—no matter how simple or grave a situation might be.

Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes? Have you read any other books by Arthur Conan Doyle? List down your favorite quotes in the comments section below.


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Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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