Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety.
—Daniel J. Boorstin (1914–2004) American Historian, Academic, Attorney, Writer
One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero.
—Beilby Porteus (1731–1809) English Anglican Reformer, Abolitionist
Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes.
—Victor Hugo (1802–85) French Novelist
To have no heroes is to have no aspiration, to live on the momentum of the past, to be thrown back upon routine, sensuality, and the narrow self.
—Charles Cooley (1864–1929) American Sociologist
You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things—to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.
—Edmund Hillary (1919–2008) New Zealander Explorer, Philanthropist, Mountaineer
The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one’s self a fool; the truest heroism is, to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when to be obeyed.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.
—Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869) French Writer, Poet, Politician, Memoirist
One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.
—May Sarton (1912-95) American Children’s Books Writer, Poet, Novelist
It’s true that heroes are inspiring, but mustn’t they also do some rescuing if they are to be worthy of their name? Would Wonder Woman matter if she only sent commiserating telegrams to the distressed?
—Jeanette Winterson (b.1959) English Novelist, Journalist
The main thing about being a hero is to know when to die.
—Will Rogers (1879–1935) American Actor, Comic, Columnist, Radio Personality