Note: June 9, 2012
Since I wrote the following, back in April 2011, the hits on ["Enjoy the little things" "Vonnegut"] have exploded from 10,000 to 142,000, while the hits on ["Enjoy the little things" "Brault"] have increased only from 425,000 to 459,000. So, as I predicted, the hand of Kurt Vonnegut continues to reach from the grave to grab credit for words he never wrote, and which his official biographer confirms he never wrote (See comments section, below.) All I can do is hope that you, the reader, go away from here knowing who really did write those words.
I received an email this week asking if I am really the author of “Enjoy the little things….” -- the quote at the top of this page. The writer said she had seen the quote attributed to Kurt Vonnegut.
Before I go further, let me point out that “Enjoy the little things…” is one of the most quoted lines of the past 25 years. In several slight variations, it appears over a million times on the internet. It is quoted on more internet sites than any of the Ten Commandments and almost as many times as The Golden Rule. It has been used on calendars, greeting cards, stationery, t-shirts and novelty items of every sort. It has been the motto of at least two high school graduating classes.
I did a Google on “Enjoy the little things…, Vonnegut” and, sure enough, came up with over 10,000 hits. I then did a Google on “Enjoy the little things…, Brault” and came up with 425,000 hits.
I suppose I could count this as 42 to 1 confirmation that I am the acknowledged author of the quote, and put the thing out of my mind -- but experience tells me otherwise. Now that my words have been attributed to a famous person, that person will inevitably become the recognized author of the quote. Eventually, if I am remembered at all for “Enjoy the little things…,” it will be as the fellow who stole it from Kurt Vonnegut.
For the record, I wrote the quote for National Enquirer in 1985. It was reprinted by Reader’s Digest in its September 1986 issue, page 139 (Quotable Quotes). It has since been quoted in many anthologies, most visibly in the popular “Book of Positive Quotations”, Fairview Press, 1997. It is attributed to me in all instances.
I would say to those who are crediting this quote to Kurt Vonnegut, “Please state your source.” If you can locate this quote in Kurt Vonnegut’s writings prior to 1985-6, then by all means attribute the quote to him. But if you cannot reference the quote in Kurt Vonnegut’s writings, or if it appears in his writings after 1985-86, then please attribute properly.
(Below, Reader's Digest, September 1986 issue)