"Manners are the basic building blocks of civil society."
"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."Alexander McCall Smith on Mahatma Gandhi
"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."Alexander McCall Smith on Robert A. Heinlein
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."Alexander McCall Smith on Jiddu Krishnamurti
"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."Alexander McCall Smith on Dwight D. Eisenhower
"There is more to life than increasing its speed."Alexander McCall Smith on Mahatma Gandhi
"Writers obviously have to bear witness to the harsh face of the age."
"I've also long since realized that the way to really engage children is to give out prizes it's amazing how it concentrates their minds."
"My wife Elizabeth and I started The Really Terrible Orchestra for people like us who are pretty hopeless musicians who would like to play in an orchestra. It has been a great success. We give performances we've become the most famous bad orchestra in the world."
"It's through the small things that we develop our moral imagination, so that we can understand the sufferings of others."
"But you cannot expect every writer to dwell on human suffering. I think my books do deal with grave issues. People who say they are too positive probably haven't read them."