A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 23, 2017
“Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a night…” (joke)

A popular proverb is:

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”

A joke variation is:

“Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a day/night. Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for a lifetime.”

English author Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) wrote the line ("Build a man a fire, and he’s warm for the rest of the night. Set a man on fire, and he’s warm for the rest of his life") in the novel Jingo (1997).


Wikipedia: Terry Pratchett
Sir Terence David John (Terry) Pratchett, OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015) was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for his Discworld series of 41 novels. Pratchett’s first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971. The first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983, after which he wrote two books a year on average. His 2011 Discworld novel Snuff was at the time of its release the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-readership novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days. His final Discworld novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, was published in August 2015, five months after his death.

Pratchett, with more than 85 million books sold worldwide in 37 languages, was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s.

Wikipedia: Jingo (novel)
Jingo is the 21st novel by Terry Pratchett, one of his Discworld series. It was published in 1997. The rising of a previously submerged island and the subconstituent sovereignty dispute were inspired by the real-life island of Ferdinandea.

Google Groups: alt.fan.pratchett
[I] Sig Spotting
robert
5/31/00
(...)
Build a man a fire, and he’s warm for the rest of the night. Set a man on fire, and he’s warm for the rest of his life - Terry Pratchett, “Jingo”
spotted on:mailing.freebsd.questions

Google Groups: alt.cuddle
But wait. There’s more.
Sugarbear
9/9/01
(...)
“Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for a lifetime.”
-- unknown

Google Groups: sol.lists.freebsd.chat.digest
freebsd-chat-digest V5 #359
owner-freebs...@freebsd.org
1/22/02
(...)
Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

Google Groups: or.general
increased terrorist “chatter”
www.tourc.ca
5/24/02
(...)
‘Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.’

Google Books
A Prairie Home Companion
Pretty Good Joke Book

Introduced by Garrison Keillor
Minneapolis, MN: HighBridge
2005
Pg. 11:
Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a day, but set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

Google Books
Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet
By Cindy Van den Heuvel
Auckland, NZ: Yebo Books
2005
Pg. 58:
Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he ‘11 be warm for the rest of his life.
Terry Pratchett

Google Groups: alt.fan.pratchett
Teach a man to fish (was Re: The whole HUGO thing...)
Rocky Frisco
8/11/05
Terry Pratchett wrote:
(...)
Yesterday, at the weekly meeting of the One Village Festival planning committee, somebody was quoting the “teach a man to fish” aphorism, so I gave them your “build a man a fire” version, with attribution.

I was pleasantly surprised at the “You know Terry Pratchett????” responses.

Edward Cherlin
8/14/05
Rocky Frisco wrote:
> Yesterday, at the weekly meeting of the One Village Festival planning
> committee,

Oh, goody, another one. I’m working with the oneVillage Foundation in Silicon Valley on anti-poverty projects in Africa and Asia.

> somebody was quoting the “teach a man to fish” aphorism, so I
> gave them your “build a man a fire” version, with attribution.

Yup. I used that one too in a presentation on Free Software for the poor of the world, but I reworked it a bit.

If you light a fire for your children, you keep them warm for a night.

If you set your children on fire, you keep them warm for the rest of their lives.

Will it be the fires of greed, hate, and delusion, or the fires of hacking, community, and learning?

Well received, and pTerry is well recognized here in Silicon Valley. I find the fantasy and science fiction crowd the most receptive audience for the idea of ending poverty at a profit.

Google Books
5,000 Great One Liners
Compiled by Grant Tucker
London: Biteback Publishing
2012
Pg. ?:
Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

Google Books
The 2,548 Wittiest Things Anybody Ever Said
Selected and compiled by Robert Byrne
New York, NY: Touchstone
2012
Pg. ?:
2,388
Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life. —Terry Pratchett

Reddit—Antijokes
Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll probably die. (self.AntiJokes)
submitted May 26, 2014 by canbelieveitssnot

Reddit—Quotes
“Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.” - Terry Pratchett (self.quotes)
submitted October 10, 2014 by ASh106

Twitter
K.A. Editing‏
@kaediting
Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.
-Sir Terry Pratchett
8:57 AM - 14 Jun 2016

Twitter
Rob Currie‏
@robcurrie
Replying to @Lew_magenta
build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life...(T. Pratchett)
9:00 AM - 14 Jun 2016

Reddit—Jokes
Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a night…
submitted March 24, 2017 by bauertheycallme
Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Thursday, March 23, 2017 • Permalink