Quote of the Day: Dull enough to want it


“Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.” – G.K. Chesterton

I don’t know about the dryness of their bones, but what a profound insight into our desire for lots of money. Also, since I’m not rich, it makes me feel a tad bit closer to who I’m supposed to be – which is nice.

So pursuing lots of money in this life not only makes it harder for you to be charitable, it just plain makes you dull. Interesting thought.

4 comments Add comment

Raul (rap584 in Twitter) April 1, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Interesting thought indeed. For me, the dull part did not grab me as much as the other part: Giving money is easy. Giving of oneself is much harder and entails bigger sacrifices.


Craig Hendricks April 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm

I have been viewing your website and reading your Quote of the Day for as long as you’ve had a blog. However, this is the first quote I disagree with. It’s also the first Chesterton quote I’ve read that I disagree with. I personally know many wealthy individuals who are much more interesting and generous with there time, treasure, and talent than hundreds of poor people I know. Bad stereo type.

Matthew Warner April 1, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Craig, thanks for your consistent readership! I really appreciate it. And thanks for the comments and thoughts too!

I felt similar to you when I first read it. I think it comes off as harsh.

But when I read it again I think the real point Chesterton is making is not to negatively generalize all Rich people but to admonish our wanting to have lots of money.

That’s why the last part of it was my favorite part. Accomplishing worldly success is – no matter how wildly lavish – ultimately dull. Because it ultimately doesn’t matter one bit. It all has a limit. It has an end. It will all end up dust.

In contrast, living our lives in charity echoes in eternity. It is the least dull thing we can do.

Anna April 2, 2009 at 12:17 am

The most interesting people make tons of money without trying to.

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