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Abraham Maslow Quotes


Abraham Maslow
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Abraham Harold Maslow
  • Born: 1st April 1908, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Died: 8th June 1970, Menlo Park, California, U.S.
  • Alma mater: University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Occupation: Psychology professor at: Alliant International University, Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, Columbia University and New School for Social Research
  • Influenced by: Harry Harlow, Max Wertheimer, Ruth Benedict, Alfred Adler, Thomas Kuhn and Carl Jung
  • Famous for: His work on reaching Self-actualization through his list called Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs
  • Books: He published many notable works including: Motivation and Personality, Self-Actualization, Existential Psychology, Toward a Psychology of Being and Hierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation
  • Trivia: His school days were not a happy time as he suffered racism and anti-Semitism from teachers and children growing up in Brooklyn
  • Legacy: The Maslow pyramid illustrating the hierarchy of needs has influenced generations of psychologists to test it and tinker with its content and order
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"One's only failure is failing to live up to one's own possibilities"

Abraham Maslow

"Why don't more people self-actualize if their basic needs are met? How can we humanistically understand the problem of evil?"

Abraham Maslow

"It is as if Freud supplied us the sick half of psychology and we must now fill it out with the healthy half"

Abraham Maslow

"If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail"

Abraham Maslow

"Self actualisation is the need to become everything that one is capable of becoming"

Abraham Maslow

"We do what we are and we are what we do"

Abraham Maslow

"We crave and fear becoming truly ourselves"

Abraham Maslow

"If swindling pays, then it will not stop. The definition of the good society is one in which virtue pays"

Abraham Maslow

"Happiness is not a state like Vermont"

Abraham Maslow

"If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life"

Abraham Maslow

"The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short"

Abraham Maslow

"You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety"

Abraham Maslow

"The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness"

Abraham Maslow

"Secrecy, censorship, dishonesty, and blocking of communication threaten all the basic needs"

Abraham Maslow

"All of life is education and everybody is a teacher and everybody is forever a pupil"

Abraham Maslow

"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself"

Abraham Maslow

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Abraham Maslow Biography

Abraham Maslow was the American psychologist who turned the world of his profession upside down by focusing on the positive psychology of people rather than the well trodden cash rich path of treating negative mental health. His 1943 paper: A Theory of Human Motivation first outlined the five sets of needs that would later transpire to become known as "Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs".

The theory stated that as each set of needs was satisfied then the desire to achieve the next level of needs would kick in, although the order that each need was achieved would differ from person to person the basis was there for all to see and recognise. The basic needs of eating, drinking, sleep, sex and the toilet were the first level to be achieved followed by the need for safety, security and financial stability while by the need of friendship, love and family made up the third level.



Acceptance, achievement and recognition made the fourth tier while what Maslow termed as 'self actualisation' was the pinnacle of his hierarchal list. He believed that very few people actually achieved self actualisation and Abraham Maslow was quoted as saying: "The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short".

Another one of his quotes was "What a man can be, he must be", meaning that in order to achieve fulfillment a man must do what he was put on this earth to do; A runner must run, an artist must paint, a poet must write, a doctor must cure etc... Most people fall short on their ambitions and settle for safety rather than pushing on into the growth that they need to realise their true vocation in life.

Management theory has been a great adopter of Maslows work as anyone who has sat on a management course can testify to seeing numerous versions of his hierarchal pyramid. Psychologists utter some fantastic one liners and he was no different so here is my list of 16 of best Abraham Maslow quotes.

Quotes About Abraham Maslow

The author Kendra Cherry described him thus: "Maslow became one of the founders and driving forces behind the school of thought known as humanistic psychology. His theories including the hierarchy of needs, self-actualization and peak experiences became fundamental subjects in the humanist movement"

The researcher Roy J. deCarvalho shared this assessment: "He formulated a humanistic view of human nature and studied its implications for education, management, social psychology, ethics, and philosophy of psychology"


Abraham Maslow image quote