Chris Castig Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.

A Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut | Summary and Quotes

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Top 5 Quotes from Kurt Vonnegut’s A Man Without A Country:

1. Kurt Vonnegut on the meaning of life

We are here on Earth to fart around, don’t let anybody tell you any different. [54]

2. Kurt Vonnegut on life

When you get to my age, if you get to my age, and if you have reproduced, you will find yourself asking your own children, who are themselves middle-aged, “What is life all about?” I have seven kids, three of them orphaned nephews.

I put the big question about life to my son the pediatrician. Dr. Vonnegut said this to his dodering old dad: “Father, we are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.” [66]

3. Kurt Vonnegut on the existence of god 

If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WAS MUSIC. [66]

4. Kurt Vonnegut on humor

Humor is a way of holding off how awful life can be, to protect yourself. [129]

5. Kurt Vonnegut on happiness 

I had a good uncle, my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life-insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” 

So I do the same now, and so do my kids and grandkids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or thing at some point, “if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” [132]

Music in this episode (Part 1):

  • “Peach Heartbeats” – The Knife + Joanna Newsom remix by Taylor Bense
  • “We Used to Wait” – Arcade Fire
  • “Walk in the Park, Beach House
  • “Push”, Birdstar

Music in this episode (Part 2):

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Title: A Man Without a Country
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (January 16, 2007)

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Chris Castig Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.