When you need to know what to say and how to say it — in convenient elevator pitch form

Whoa hey, thanks for holding the door! I mean, assuming you were pushing the doors-open button and not the doors-closed button, haha. Ever wondered what to say in awkward conversations like this one? Well, what you need is WIT, and by wit I mean spontaneous creativity. This book is the result of deep dive into the backstories of some of the wittiest people who ever lived — Great Wits ranging from Oscar Wilde to Jay-Z. The goal: To find out what made them so witty, and what we can learn from it. Oh, and it’s zippy and fun and filled with cartoons and quizzes and zingers freely available for your use next time you’re stuck in an elevator like this one. Here’s my floor. Bye!


"A restaurant on the moon could not have had less atmosphere." - Geoff Dyer

"I'm going to memorize your name and throw my head away." - Oscar Levant

"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip."
- Winston Churchill

"I love children, especially when they cry, for then someone takes them away." - Nancy Mitford

"Of course I talk to myself. I like a good speaker, and I appreciate an intelligent audience." - Dorothy Parker

"Inelegantly, and without my consent, time passed." - @Miranda_July

"Surely: the adverb of a man without an argument." - Edward St. Aubyn

"I believe in talking behind peoples' backs. That way, they hear it more than once." - Fran Lebowitz

“I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.”
― G.K. Chesterton

"She had brushed her teeth before vomiting as well, never able to utterly crush the optimistic streak in her nature." - Edward St. Aubyn

"I've been looking for a girl like you — not you, but a girl like you." - Groucho Marx

"A stopped clock is correct twice a day, but a sundial can be used to stab someone, even at nighttime." - John @hodgman

"There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it." - @MindyKaling

“People who begin sentences with "I may be old-fashioned but—" are usually not only old-fashioned but wrong.” - Robert Benchley

"I am the kind of writer that people think other people are reading."
- V.S. Naipaul

"One day I'll be famous! I'll be proper and prim; Go to St. James so often I will call it St. Jim!" - Alan Jay Lerner

"He's a writer for the ages — the ages of four to eight."
- Dorothy Parker

"The dusk was performing its customary intransitive operation of 'gathering'."
- Flann O'Brien

At dinner, "one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely."
- W. Somerset Maugham

"Decency is indecency's conspiracy of silence."
- G.B. Shaw

"Television is for appearing on, not looking at."
- Noël Coward

"Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character."
- Oscar Levant

"Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the results."
- Oscar Wilde

"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin."
- H.L. Mencken

"Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education." - Mark Twain

"America is the country where you buy a lifetime supply of aspirin for one dollar, and use it up in two weeks." - John Barrymore

"And what's a butterfly? At best,
He's but a caterpillar, drest."
- John Gay

"'Yes, but not in the South', with slight adjustments, will do for any argument about any place, if not about any person." - Stephen Potter

"No matter how politely or distinctly you ask a Parisian a question he will persist in answering you in French." - Fran Lebowitz

"I read Shakespeare and the Bible and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education." - Tallulah Bankhead