Five Great Quotes from Arthur Conan Doyle

We're sure you've heard of Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the famous Sherlock Holmes. In this article, we'll be sharing some of the most famous quotes this author left us.
Five Great Quotes from Arthur Conan Doyle
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Arthur Conan Doyle is known for his role as a writer, but few people know that he also worked as a doctor. This prolific author wrote many types of works, including historical novels, plays, and poetry. However, he’s campus for having created the character of Sherlock Holmes.

Today, we’re going to discover some of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous quotes. Through them, you’ll be able to understand the way he perceived the world.

But, before we start, it’s interesting to note that Conan Doyle wrote whenever he had free time between patients. This work never really satisfied him, as indicated by the article “Arthur Conan Doyle and His Detective Scientist”.

Thus, his free time allowed him to start writing children’s stories. He then progressed to plays and poetry  until he finally started to elite novels, for which people recognize him most. Now, let’s see what quotes this emblematic author left us.

A statue of Sherlock Holmes.

How Arthur Conan Doyle saw the world

1. Only seeing can deceive us

“You see, but you don’t observe.”

If there’s something that really stands out in his Sherlock Holmes novels, it’s how this character always observes the small things that go unnoticed by others. Therein lies the magic of these novels, and the great interest it causes in its readers.

Conan Doyle left us this first quote, in which he urges us to observe instead of just look. Observing is paying close attention to what’s happening around us and perceiving changes. How many things do we miss by “just seeing”?

2. Feeding our hopes

“It’s no use feeding on hopes and then ending up disappointed.”

The second of our Arthur Conan Doyle quotes allows us to reflect on something that’s very important for our lives. If we feed on hopes, they can end up disappointing us, and often very painfully. We must, therefore, avoid this self-deception – not only to avoid feeling disappointed with ourselves but also to avoid other people feeling this way because of us.

If we stop feeding on false hopes, then we’ll begin to be more honest with ourselves. This is a highly important quality for many different areas of our lives. One such example would be in the life of a doctor, as pointed out in the article “A Doctor’s Values in Quality and Professionalism”.

3. The value of small things

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”

This is, without a doubt, a fundamental quote that we can all understand but which we find difficult to implement. These small things are not only material items that we possess, but also the “small” experiences that often go unnoticed.

This third Arthur Conan Doyle quote is closely linked to the first one, given that a lack of observation prevents us from perceiving the value of a hug, a smile, a simple look, or the company of our family.

4. Talent recognizes genius

“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.”

The fourth of our Conan Doyle quotes helps us to understand that by thinking small, staying as we are, and not leaving our comfort zone, we’ll never grow or stand out. However, where there’s talent, this doesn’t occur.

You have to work with your talents, and, when this work pays off, you’ll realize that your ideas are true genius. Although the talent to do something can be innate in you, your efforts make it successful. This happened in the life of Conan Doyle with his writing. When he made the effort to write novels, it was clear they were the work of a genius.

Arthur Conan Doyle.

5. Not ridiculing the opinion of others

“I have learned never to ridicule any man’s opinion, however strange it may seem.”

We decided to save one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most important quotes to the end. He stated that ridiculing other people’s opinions is a serious mistake. Although you may find their opinion strange and you don’t understand it, you hope that they’ll also respect your views.

Another aspect here is that, even though you don’t understand their opinion now, you may understand it in the future. Therefore, you must respect other people’s points of view (within reason, of course).

Have you ever read any books by Arthur Conan Doyle? Which of these quotes did you like best? We hope they helped you understand the way of thinking of an author who stepped out into the unknown to write novels and was catapulted to unexpected success.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ledermann D, Walter. (2010). Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes y las enfermedades infecciosas. Revista chilena de infectología27(5), 429-434.
  • Morales Zúñiga, Luis Carlos. (2013). Sherlock holmes y la enseñanza de la investigación socioeducativa. Actualidades Investigativas en Educación13(3), 109-129. Retrieved June 07, 2019, from
  • Moreno Aponte, R. (2016). De la ciencia deductiva de Sherlock Holmes al mundo de la cotidianidad de Alfred Schütz: una reflexión en torno a la relación sujeto-objeto. Civilizar Ciencias Sociales y Humanas16(31), 177-190.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.