11 Hunter S. Thompson Quotes To Never Forget

Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18th, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was a prominent American journalist and author who made his first big splash with the publication of Hell’s Angels (1967). To say that the book provided a visceral account of just how chaotic life could be when living with the Hells Angels motorcycle club would be a vast understatement. Thompson’s words leap out from each page and roar with the power of a monstrous fleet of fearless motorcyclists ripping down an open road with no speed limits and laws to keep them sane. Another of Thompson’s most notable works was “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved” for Scanlan’s Monthly. If you can carve out some time to read through that work, buckle up and brace for a crazy ride. We’ll now look at some of Thompson’s most memorable quotes.

1. On San Francisco In The Sixties

An image of Hunter S. Thompson wearing a visor.

“San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run but no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were here and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.”

2. On The Edge

An image of Hunter S. Thompson using a film camera.

“The Edge — There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others-the living-are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still Out there.”

3. On Older Americans’ Fixation With Huge Cars

Hunter S. Thompson as a young man, looking at his film camera.

“Old elephants limp off to the hills to die; old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death with huge cars.”

4. On Looking For The American Dream In A White Cadillac

Hunter S. Thompson wearing a nice safari hat while shooting an episode of Conan O'Brien

“Let me explain it to you, let me run it down just briefly if I can. We’re looking for the American Dream, and we were told it was somewhere in this area. Well, we’re here looking for it, ’cause they sent us out here all the way from San Francisco to look for it. That’s why they gave us this white Cadillac, they figure that we could catch up with it in that”

5. On People That Are True Outliers In Society

An image of Hunter S. Thompson being interviewed in a funky shirt.

“There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

6. On The Truth Not Being Told During Normal Working Hours.

An image of Hunter S. Thompson wearing sunglasses.

“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.”

7. On The Value Of Being Adventurous

An image of Hunter S. Thompson driving around.

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”

8. On The Dangers Of Procrastination

An image of Hunter S. Thompson as a much older man with a hunting hat on.

“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”

9. On The Value Of Upholding Your Self-Respect

A young Hunter S. Thompson wearing sunglasses inside a hotel room

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

10. On Life Being A More Enjoyable Ride When You Don’t Take It As Seriously

An image of Hunter S. Thompson in sunglasses.

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”

11. On Music Being A Natural Fuel

An image of Hunter S. Thompson in sunglasses.

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”

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