Advice to Youth Summary by Mark Twain

A Bunch of Advice

The text is Twain’s address to the young minds and bodies who are at the cusp (point) of facing the world and instructional blueprint to tackle what it puts in front of them.

It is blatantly clear that the write has been urged to share his wisdom and had taken the opportunity to pen a unique strategy for the youth of follow.

He believes youth is the stage where the people are like clay and start to cement their habits, values, and character that would last for their entire lives.

Obedience to Parents

The first pearl of wisdom is to be obedient to one’s parents but only when they can observe you. It helps in keeping them satiated and serves well for the future. He asks them to be respectful to others, to a point.

Also, if someone hurts or insults you, then bide your time for the most opportune moment to hit back. He advises against extreme and quick reactions.

He clarifies that being explosive and belligerent is outdated and primitive so use guile and subtly to exact revenge with people.


Next, he advises to get into a good routine in terms of sleep and develop a habit of waking up early. But, he finds it even more impressive if one can train a bird to give a wakeup call as late as possible in the morning.

That way one can sleep longer and still be considered disciplined. He goes on to instruct young people to develop the art and skills of lying with immaculate proficiency.

He informs that lies are immortal and outlive even truths of the age. However, if a lie is told without perfection it results in irreparable damage to an individual’s reputation especially a young person. He does not ask youth to stick with honesty always but only in cases when they cannot lie flawlessly.

Guns and Ammunition

Next, he moves to the issue of using guns and ammunition. He asks youth to stay clear of such dangerous weapons which in hands of the untrained tyro can wreak more havoc than witnessed in wars.

He also advises young people to delve into books and add to their reservoir of knowledge. However, he warns them against choosing books without careful deliberation and thought. He encourages them to read works on religion, spirituality, morality, etc like Robertson’s sermons, etc.


He ends the text on a sarcastic note. He envisages that once young people have completely developed their personalities and characters according to his advice, they will be shocked to see how similar they end up becoming to the rest of the people.

He hits at the lack of originality and uniqueness that is a function of how society works and every individual conforms to a fixed set of expected standards.?