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170 Greed Quotes to Curb Any Selfish Tendencies

Last Updated: March 2, 2023 by Team

Greed is defined as a person’s intense and selfish desire for something. This something is most often money, power, or food.

Greed is rooted deeply in our emotions since wealth and security aren’t bad things. We all probably think we could use a bit more money, which doesn’t make us terrible people. Greed becomes a problem when you have enough and are willing to do nearly anything to achieve even more.

This collection of insightful greed quotes will help you curb any selfish tendencies. Below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and thought-provoking greed quotes and sayings from various sources. Philosophers, writers, politicians, and nearly everyone have something to say about greed.

170 Greed Quotes

Top 10 Greed Quotes

“The more you have the more you know you don’t have.” – Aristotle Onassis

“Where poverty ceases, greed begins.” – Honoré de Balzac

“You have succeeded in life when all you really WANT is only what you really NEED.” – Vernon Howard

“When one is greedy for more, one should instead be grateful for what one has already.” – Ron Hall

“This your island, which seemed as to this particular the happiest in the world, will suffer much by the cursed avarice of a few persons.” – Thomas More

“I will tell you the secret to getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful. And you try to be fearful when others are greedy.” – Warren Buffett

“We didn’t become the most prosperous country in the world just by rewarding greed and recklessness. We didn’t come this far by letting the special interests run wild. We didn’t do it just by gambling and chasing paper profits on Wall Street. We built this country by making things, by producing goods we could sell.” – Barack Obama

“They much more admire and detest the folly of those who, when they see a rich man, though they neither owe him anything, nor are in any sort dependent on his bounty, yet, merely because he is rich, give him little less than divine honours, even though they know him to be so covetous and base-minded that, notwithstanding all his wealth, he will not part with one farthing of it to them as long as he lives!” – Thomas More

“The problem with greed is unless there is someone to warn you about it, it will creep up on you; and before you know, it has you hook, line, and sinker.” – Joseph Lacerenza

“The world says: “You have needs – satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful. Warren Buffett

What Is Greed?

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“Greed’s worst point is its ingratitude.” – Seneca the Younger

“Greed tends to be solitary, miserly, because there is something about Greed that puts us in competition with our neighbors and ultimately in alienation from them.” – William H. Willimon

“Greed seeks to satisfy self interest only.” – W. Doyle Gentry

“Greed may not be good, but it’s not so bad either. You humans think greed is just for money or power, but everyone wants something they can’t have.” – Hiromu Arakawa

“Greed makes man indulge; man in indulgence cannot but be a sin.” – Anonymous Samaritan

“Greed makes man hungry for power and fear makes man afraid of losing it.” – Neil Ray

“Greed makes man blind and foolish, and makes him an easy prey for death.” – Rumi

“Greed is the pursuit of money, wealth and power at the expense of others.” – Charles Carradine

“Greed is the lack of confidence of one’s own ability to create.” – Vanna Bonta

“Greed is the inventor of injustice as well as the current enforcer.” – Julian Casablancas

“Greed is the assumption that it is all for my consumption.” – Andy Stanley

“Greed is so destructive. It destroys everything.” – Eartha Kitt

“Greed is powerful, nasty, classless, and alas, universal.” – Mike Moore

“Greed is permanent slavery.” – Ali ibn Abi Talib

“Greed is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue.” – Andy Stanley

“Greed is normally balanced by fear.” – Peter Schiff

“Greed is good. Sex is easy. Youth is forever.” – Bret Easton Ellis

“Greed is a kind of philosophical confusion, a misunderstanding of what one really wants—a secure sense of oneself and the respect of others.” – Robert C. Solomon

“Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough.” – Janwillem van de Wetering

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” – Erich Fromm

“Greed has the ability to blind a person, making wrong seem right, and vice versa.” – Shannon Holmes

“Greed has taken the whole universe, and nobody is worried about their soul.” – Little Richard

“Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.” – Charlie Chaplin

“Greed has poisoned men’s souls.” – Charlie Chaplin

“Greed dominates all other human sentiments, greed is the master, and the others are the slaves.” – Ferry Frank

“Greed cuts in line, greed doesn’t give when it should, and greed always wants more. Enough is never enough where greed is concerned.” – Elisabeth Bennett

“Greed alters our sense of priorities.” – Jay Ghosh


Funny Greed Quotes

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“Youth is not enough. And love is not enough. And success is not enough. And, if we could achieve it, enough would not be enough.” – Mignon McLaughlin

“The point is that you can’t be too greedy.” – Donald Trump

“There are three wants which can never be satisfied: that of the rich, who wants something more; that of the sick, who wants something different; and that of the traveler, who says, “Anywhere but here”” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When I see people scratching and clawing towards ambition and greed, I wonder why they are doing it and for what.” – Raveena Tandon

“The Master said, “A true gentleman is one who has set his heart upon the Way. A fellow who is ashamed merely of shabby clothing or modest meals is not even worth conversing with.” – Confucius

“The law has been perverted through the influence of two very different causes-naked greed and misconceived philanthropy.” – Frédéric Bastiat

“The Master said, “The gentleman understands what is right, whereas the petty man understands profit.” – Confucius

“This society is driven by neurotic speed and force accelerated by greed and frustration of not being able to live up to the image of men and woman we have created for ourselves; the image has nothing to do with the reality of people.” – Yoko Ono

“Capitalism is against the things that we say we believe in – democracy, freedom of choice, fairness. It’s not about any of those things now. It’s about protecting the wealthy and legalizing greed.” – Michael Moore

“Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.” – P. J. O’Rourke

“Although one can do many good deeds through greed, they are only partially good because they are based on the defiling love of the self.” – Yin-shun

“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett

“Av’rice, envy, pride, Three fatal sparks, have set the hearts of all On fire.” – Dante Alighieri

“If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau

“I gave up growing when I was extremely small, along with all the other nasty childish habits like laziness and disobedience and greed and sloppiness and untidiness and stupidity.” – Roald Dahl

“A man must fortify himself and understand that a wise man who yields to laziness or anger or passion or love of drink, or who commits any other action prompted by impulse and inopportune, will probably find his fault condoned; but if he stoops to greed, he will not be pardoned, but render himself odious as a combination of all vices at once.” – Apollonius of Tyana

“A healthy desire for wealth is not greed. It’s a desire for life.” – Jen Sincero

“For most, love is probably a form of greed; for the rest of mankind, it is the cult of a suffering and masked divinity.” – Lou Andreas-Salomé

“I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for the landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title for the children.” – Jonathan Swift

“The twin killers of success are impatience and greed.” – Jim Rohn

“Do not follow vain desires; for verily he who prospers is preserved from lust, greed and anger.” – Abu Bakr

“Classism and greed are making insignificant all the other kinds of isms.” – Ruby Dee

“For greed all nature is too little.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“All hardships in life arise from greed and desire.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Ah, now that would be greedy of me, wouldn’t it? All things considered, though, I’d be heartily embarrassed if Sebell- my Journeyman is to have possession of the other egg- secured a queen instead.” – Anne McCaffrey

“A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral.” – Alexander Hamilton

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” – William Blake

“Arthur Schopenhauer Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Some people are so poor, all they have is money. Anonymous

Human Greed Quotes

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“The greed of the billionaire class has got to end and we are going to end it for them.” – Bernie Sanders

“Politics – I don’t know why, but they seem to have a tendency to separate us, to keep us from one another, while nature is always and ever making efforts to bring us together.” – Seán O’Casey

“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” – Sylvia Plath

“TARIFF, n. A scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer.” – Ambrose Bierce

“Suddenly I find myself feeling sorry for those greedy, needy people whose huge salaries are never quite enough, whose sense of worth is defined by their own personal wad. What a diminished, impoverished world they must inhabit … We should feel sorry for them and their sadly limited lives. Then we should remember never to trust the judgement of those whose priorities are so idiotically skewed.” – Terence Blacker

“To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.” – Charlie Chaplin

“The human heart is greedy; it will use religion, color, or any other excuse to justify its greed. Blame the human heart.” – Bono

“Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.” – Pavel Durov

“People say that the monetary system produces incentive. This may be true in limited areas, but it also produces greed, embezzlement, corruption, pollution, jealousy, anger, crime, war, poverty, tremendous scarcity, and unnecessary human suffering. You have to look at the entire picture.” – Jacque Fresco

“Human behavior is subject to the same laws as any other natural phenomenon. Our customs, behaviors, and values are byproducts of our culture. No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry, patriotism and hatred; these are all learned behavior patterns. If the environment is unaltered, similar behavior will reoccur.” – Jacque Fresco

“The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment’s hesitation to crush beauty and life.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“A strange greed has taken hold of our soul and our humanity, a great sense of anxiety gnaws at us, there is emptiness in our multitude and we feel the chill of the grave about us.” – Gustave Flaubert

“Fear and greed are potent motivators. When both of these forces push in the same direction, virtually no human being can resist.” – Andrew Weil

“The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons. Greed, anger, and delusion.” – Bodhidharma

“The ideals of anarchism were perfect for me. I believed that capitalism was the source of all greed, inequality, and destruction in the world. I thought that big corporations were running the world (which I now know they do) and by supporting them, I was condoning their evil ways (which is true, but a girl’s gotta put gas in her car).” – Sophia Amoruso

“The hypocrisy of some is that we like to think of ourselves as sophisticated and evolved, but we’re still also driven by primal urges like greed and power.” – Michael Leunig

“There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.” – Siddharta Gautama

“If I have to build a big company by mistreating other people then the Bible says WOE to me. I don’t know what that is, but I don’t want any of it.” – Joyce Meyer

“Capitalism has been called a system of greed – yet it is the system that raised the standard of living of its poorest citizens to heights no collectivist system has ever begun to equal, and no tribal gang can conceive of.” – Ayn Rand

“Callous greed grows pious very fast.” – Lillian Hellman

“By following the way of mindfulness, by training ourselves to keep still and pause in the attitude of bare attention, we refuse to take up the world’s persistent challenge to our dispositions for greed or hatred.” – Nyanaponika Thera

“I want an Oompa-Loompa!? screamed Veruca.” – Roald Dahl

“The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.” – Charles Kuralt

“The Bible and several other self help or enlightenment books cite the Seven Deadly Sins. They are: pride, greed, lust, envy, wrath, sloth, and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that we do, that is sinful… or fun for that matter.” – Dave Mustaine

“The avaricious man is like the barren sandy ground of the desert which sucks in all the rain and dew with greediness, but yields no fruitful herbs or plants for the benefit of others.” – Zeno

The richest of the rich is one who is not a prisoner to greed. IMAM ALI (AS)

Greed Morals Quotes

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“You’ve cheated death too many times.Greed may do your bidding, but death serves no man.” – Leigh Bardugo

“You see, a man who is rich in faith would never steal anything, would never be covetous or greedy since he possesses all things.” – Pastor Edmund Danilo Auguis

“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” – Charles Spurgeon

“We shall have to practise to lead our life on the basis of our needs, not under the influence of our greed.” – Lobsang Tenzin

“There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontentment. And there is no greater disaster than greed.” – Lao-tzu

“What kind of society isn’t structured on greed?” – Milton Friedman

“There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.” – Maya Angelou

“Eric Hoffer Our frustration is greater when we have much and want more than when we have nothing and want some. We are less dissatisfied when we lack many things than when we seem to lack but one thing.” – Eric Hoffer

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Don’t try to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. It can’t be done except by liars.” – Bernard Baruch

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.” – Epicurus

“We’re all born brave, trusting and greedy, and most of us remain greedy.” – Mignon McLaughlin

“I believe greed is actually measured by what it costs you, not by what you have.” – Jimmy Houston

“How shrunk, how dwindled, in our times Creation’s mighty seed – For Man has broke the Fellowship With murder, lust, and greed.” – Margaret Atwood

“Henry Kissinger Since Peter the Great, Russia had been expanding at the rate of one Belgium per year.” – Henry Kissinger

“There is no force more potent in the modern world than stupidity fueled by greed.” – Edward Abbey

“Microsoft is not about greed. It’s about innovation and fairness.” – Bill Gates

“Lust and greed are more gullible than innocence.” – Mason Cooley

“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“We live in a system that espouses merit, equality, and a level playing field, but exalts those with wealth, power, and celebrity, however gained.” – Derrick Bell

“Perhaps there was hardly a person in the parish who would not have held that to go to church every Sunday in the calendar would have shown a greedy desire to stand well with Heaven, and get an undue advantage over their neighbours.” – George Eliot

“People’s lives are forever controlled by two emotions: fear and greed.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki

“Our labor preserves us from three great evils — weariness, vice, and want.” – Voltaire

“No purpose intervenes between I and You, no greed and no anticipation; and longing itself is changed as it plunges from the dream into appearance. Every means is an obstacle. Only where all means have disintegrated encounters occur.” – Martin Buber

“No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry, patriotism and hatred; these are all learned behavior patterns.” – Jacque Fresco

“Once greed has taken root in the heart, a man will be drawn in by selfish desire, his head will be turned by greed and he will become weak, stupid, cruel and corrupt. The treasure of selflessness, however, will last a lifetime.” – Hong Yingming

“Nothing makes us more vulnerable than loneliness, except greed.” – Thomas Harris

There is no enemy but your greed and wrong ways of thought. Be free from these and you will have no enemy.

Greed For Money Quotes

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“Yeah, that’s right; money is the greatest single problem-solver known to man…” – Jordan Belfort

“When there is money, there is also greed. Everyone wants to talk to you when there is money. Only if you have the passion for it, you must become a philanthropist, else it’ll become a headache.” – Sudha Murty

“To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.” – G. K. Chesterton

“There is nothing wrong with being well off as long as money has a social and ethical value and is not the object of one’s own greed.” – Aga Khan IV

“The lack of money is the root of all evil.” – Mark Twain

“Politicians never accuse you of ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money – only for wanting to keep your own money.” – Joseph Sobran

“New York City is a great monument to the power of money and greed… a race for rent.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

“I was making good money too, and it was honestly hard to consider walking away from it.” – Angie Thomas

“I have never understood why it is “greed” to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.” – Thomas Sowell

“And, you remember our original intent was to use the emerging technology of genetic engineering to make money. A lot of money.” – Michael Crichton

“As money grows, care follows it and the hunger for more.” – Horace

“We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.” – Stephen Hawking

“Money is not only the object but also the fountainhead of greed.” – Karl Marx

“We are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and most of us manage to remain greedy.” – Mignon McLaughlin

“Three great forces rule the world stupidity, fear and greed.” – Albert Einstein

“Possession is a great spiritual reward of greed for the flesh.” – Anonymous Samaritan

“Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.” – Aaron Swartz

“More! More! is the cry of a mistaken soul.” – William Blake

“It’s the man who dares to take, who is independent, not he who gives.” – D. H. Lawrence

“One rascally night between midnight and four, Slinky Malinki stole MORE than before.” – Lynley Dodd

“If you ask for too much, you lose even that which you have.” – Isaac Asimov

“Immense wealth, and its lavish expenditure, fill the great house with all that can please the eye, or tempt the taste. Here, appetite, not food, is the great desideratum.” – Frederick Douglass

“For the love of gain would reconcile the weaker to the dominion of the stronger, and the possession of capital enabled the more powerful to reduce the smaller towns to subjection.” – Thucydides

“It’s not greed that drives the world, but envy.” – Charlie Munger

“Money is not the root of all evil, greed is.” – Philip John Miller

“Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.” – Anthony de Mello

“Lao-Tzu Loss is not as bad as wanting more.” – Lao-Tzu

“But that’s the nature of money. Whether you have it or not, whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, it will try to define your days. Our task as human beings is not to let it.” – Phil Knight

“No heroic act is motivated by greed.” – Philip John Miller

“Ignorance, hatred and greed are killing nature.” – Masanobu Fukuoka

“If your desires be endless, your cares and fears will be so too.” – Thomas Fuller

“Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed.” – Mwai Kibaki


Greed And Selfishness Quotes

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“When greed, selfishness, and personal pleasure supersede, any society is subject to collapse.” – Debra Jean Anderson

“We’re all basically made of the same stuff generosity and selfishness, goodness and greed.” – Madeleine M. Kunin

“You can’t have everything … where would you put it.” – Steven Wright

“Why was there nothing it refused? No misery, no regret, no hateful picture too rotten to accept? Like a greedy child it snatched up everything. Just once, could it say, No thank you? I just ate and can’t hold another bite? . . . But my greedy brain says, Oh thanks, I’d love more . . . my brain would go right ahead and take it and never say, No thank you. I don’t want to know or have to remember that.” – Toni Morrison

“Happy the man who has learned the cause of things and has put under his feet all fear, inexorable fate, and the noisy strife of the hell of greed.” – Virgil

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates

“I believe greed is the single biggest problem we face as a society today. It is at the root of so many of the problems—from a broken political system, to a dysfunctional family structure, and everything in between.” – Pete Luongo

“He would on no account have exchanged those coins, which had become his familiars, for other coins with unknown faces.” – George Eliot

Greed's worst point is its ingratitude. SENECA

“From a business standpoint, that makes helping mankind a very risky business. Personally, I would never help mankind.” – Michael Crichton

“God gave him enough, and yet he wants all. Such are the pale-faces.” – James Fenimore Cooper

“It didn’t occur to me until later that there´s another truth, very simple: greed in a good cause is still greed.” – Stephen King

“From top to bottom of the ladder, greed is aroused without knowing where to find ultimate foothold. Nothing can calm it, since its goal is far beyond all it can attain. Reality seems valueless by comparison with the dreams of fevered imaginations; reality is therefore abandoned.” – Emile Durkheim

“Where do the evils like corruption arise from? It comes from the never-ending greed. The fight for corruption-free ethical society will have to be fought against this greed and replace it with ‘what can I give’ spirit.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

“He who is greedy is always in want.” – Horace

“Fear, greed and hope have destroyed more portfolio value than any recession or depression we have ever been through.” – James O’Shaughnessy

“Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.” – Garrison Keillor

“If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we’d live like animals or angels in the happy land that /needs/ no heroes.” – Robert Bolt

“It is greed to do all the talking but not to want to listen at all.” – Democritus

“From the first day to this, sheer greed was the driving spirit of civilization.” – Friedrich Engels

“In our daily life, we encounter people who are angry, deceitful, intent only on satisfying their own needs. There is so much anger, distrust, greed, and pettiness that we are losing our capacity to work well together.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

“There was a time in my life when I thought I had everything – millions of dollars, mansions, cars, nice clothes, beautiful women, and every other materialistic thing you can imagine. Now I struggle for peace.” – Richard Pryor

“I came west in search of a better life, but my American dream was turned into a nightmare by poverty and hardship and greed.” – Kristin Hannah

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” – Seneca

“Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.” – Erich Fromm

“Republicans stand for raw, unbridled evil and greed and ignorance smothered in balloons and ribbons.” – Frank Zappa

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed. mahatma Gandhi

In Conclusion

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The greed quotes above come from every profession and walk of life.

Greed is a complex and multifaceted concept studied by philosophers, psychologists, economists, and other scholars for centuries. At its core, greed can be defined as an excessive desire for wealth, power, or other resources, often at the expense of others. Greed can manifest in many ways, from hoarding resources to exploiting others for personal gain.

While greed is often viewed as a negative trait, it is essential to recognize that it can also have positive aspects. For example, some degree of self-interest and ambition can be healthy and motivate people to work hard and achieve their goals. However, when greed becomes excessive and unchecked, it can lead to a range of negative consequences, both for individuals and society.

Greed can often be linked to other negative behaviors, such as dishonesty, corruption, and exploitation. It can also contribute to environmental degradation, economic inequality, and other social problems. Therefore, it is essential to develop strategies for mitigating the adverse effects of greed, such as promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior in business and government.

Ultimately, the impact of greed depends on a range of factors, including cultural norms, individual values, and the broader social and economic context. By understanding the complexities of greed and its effects, we can work towards creating a more equitable and sustainable society.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these insightful greed quotes?

Do you have any other helpful quotes to add?

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