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- A hobby is a happy medium between a passion and a monomania.
- Honoré de Balzac, La Grande Bretêche in The Wisdom of Balzac (New York: 1923), p. 24
- The dictator does not consider his power firmly established until he has reached the point where there is no man under him who is of any worth. ... This method tyrants use of stultifying their subjects cannot be more clearly observed than in what Cyrus did with the Lydians after he had taken Sardis, their chief city, and had at his mercy the captured Croesus, their fabulously rich king. When news was brought to him that the people of Sardis had rebelled, it would have been easy for him to reduce them by force; but being unwilling either to sack such a fine city or to maintain an army there to police it, he thought of an unusual expedient for reducing it. He established in it brothels, taverns, and public games, and issued the proclamation that the inhabitants were to enjoy them. He found this type of garrison so effective that he never again had to draw the sword against the Lydians. These wretched people enjoyed themselves inventing all kinds of games, so that the Latins have derived the word from them, and what we call pastimes they call ludi, as if they meant to say Lydi. Not all tyrants have manifested so clearly their intention to effeminize their victims; but in fact, what the aforementioned despot publicly proclaimed and put into effect, most of the others have pursued secretly as an end.
- Étienne de la Boétie, Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, Part 2
- A hobby is the result of a distorted view of things. It is putting a planet in the place of a sun.
- John Lancaster Spalding, Aphorisms and Reflections (1901), p. 245
- A hobby is a work which is done in the spare time for the sake of pleasure and enjoyment.