Popular quotes: The meaning an history behind "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people .... but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Antoine de Saint Exupéry (1900 - 1944, pronounced Sant-Exoopairee), was a
French writer and aviator. He was born and brought up in Lyon, the third
of five children. After studying architecture, he began his military
service in 1921 with the 2nd Regiment of Chasseurs (a light cavalry regiment)
and was sent to Strasbourg for pilot training. The following year, having
obtained his pilot's license, he was given the opportunity to transfer to the
air force but, under pressure from his family, instead took an office job in
In 1926, he returned to the skies becoming one of the pioneers of the
international postal service working the route between Toulouse and Dakar.
In 1929, he published Southern Mail (Courrier Sud) and became director of
an airfield in Morocco from where he flew the Casablanca-Dakar route.
Shortly after, he moved to South America where he was appointed director of the
Aeroposta Argentina Company.
Night Flight (Vol de Nuit), the book that made his name, was published in
1931. Also in 1931, he married Consuelo Gómez Carillo; apparently, due to
his frequent absences and many affairs, it was a stormy marriage.
In December 1935, while attempting a flying speed record from Paris to Saigon, Saint Exupéry and his navigator, André Prévot, crashed in the
Libyan desert. According to his memoir, Wind, Sand and Stars,
although both survived the landing they had little in the way of supplies and
faced rapid dehydration. By day three they were experiencing visual and
auditory hallucinations and were so dehydrated they could not sweat. On
the fourth day they were found by a Bedouin who saved their lives. Chapter
2 of Saint Exupéry's fable,
The Little Prince (1942), references this experience.
Saint Exupéry continued to write and fly until 1940 when, following Germany's
defeat of France, he and his wife moved to the USA. A little over two
years later, Saint Exupéry returned to Europe to fly with the Free French
Forces. At 43 he was considerably older than most pilots and suffered pain
due to previous injuries. His final assignment, on July 31 1944, was to
collect intelligence on German troop movements in the Rhone River area. He
left from Corsica and was never seen again.
In 1998, a fisherman found a bracelet south of Marseille which was positively
identified as Saint Exupéry's. In 2000, a diver found a plane in the same
area which was confirmed to be his. In March 2008, the 64-year mystery was
apparently resolved when 88-year-old Horst Rippert, a former German World War II
fighter pilot (who had been tracked down by people researching the downed plane)
stated that he had believed for some time that he shot down the French literary
hero on July 31, 1944. Rippert says that, had he known who was in the plane, he
would have held his fire: "He knew admirably how to describe the sky, the
thoughts and feelings of pilots .... His work inspired many of us to take up our
More quotes by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
civilization is built on what is required of men, not on that which is provided
"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there
is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
"A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally
unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born."
"Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of
life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded."
"I know but one freedom, and that is the freedom of the mind."
"Life has meaning only if one barters it day by day for
something other than itself."
"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at
each other but in looking outward in the same direction."
"Once men are caught up in an event, they cease to be afraid.
Only the unknown frightens men."
"One can be a brother only in something. Where there is no
tie that binds men, men are not united but merely lined up."
"The time for action is now. It's never too late to do
"War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus."
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