"Vanity is so anchored in the heart of man that a soldier, a soldier's servant, a cook, a porter brags and wishes to have his admirers. Even philosophers wish for them. Those who write against vanity want to have the glory of having written well; and those who read it desire the glory of having read it. I who write this have perhaps this desire, and perhaps those who will read it."
"Of the three forms of pride, that is to say pride proper, vanity, and conceit, vanity is by far the most harmless, and conceit by far the most dangerous. The meaning of vanity is to think too much of our bodily advantages, whether real or unreal, over others; while the meaning of conceit is to believe we are cleverer, wiser, grander, and more important than we really are."
"Vanity is as advantageous to a government as pride is dangerous. To be convinced of this we need only represent, on the one hand, the numberless benefits which result from vanity, as industry, the arts, fashions, politeness, and taste; and on the other, the infinite evils which spring from the pride of certain nations, a laziness, poverty, a total neglect of everything."
"The vain man does not wish so much to be prominent as to feel himself prominent; he therefore disdains none of the expedients for self-deception and self-outwitting. It is not the opinion of others that he sets his heart on, but his opinion of their opinion."
"Good deeds shun the light as anxiously as evil deeds: the latter fear that disclosure will bring on pain (as punishment), while the former fear that disclosure will take away pleasure (that pure pleasure, that pleasure per se, which immediately ceases once the vanity's satisfaction is added)."
"... overconfidence in one's own ability is the root of much evil. Vanity, egoism, is the deadliest of all characteristics. This vanity, combined with extreme ignorance of conditions the knowledge of which is the very A B C of business and of life, produces more shipwrecks and heartaches than any other part of our mental make-up."
"Of all illusions in the world, the most universally received is the concern for reputation and glory, which we espouse even to the point of giving up riches, rest, life, and health, which are effectual and substantial goods, to follow that vain phantom and mere sound that has neither body nor substance."