C S Lewis is best known for writing classic fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia.

‘Never too old’ motivational quote not C S Lewis

FactCheck September 6, 2019

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined a Facebook post from September 3, 2019 by an Australian user which features a quote purporting to be from British author and theologian, C S Lewis.

The quote, which appears in front of an image of a starry night sky and mountains reflecting in a still lake, reads: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

The post has been shared five times and attracted 28 reactions.

Different versions of the post have appeared widely online around the world, including in the United States, United Kingdom and India, posted by education institutions and television personalities.

A Facebook post from September 3, 2019, attributes a motivational quote to author C S Lewis.

The Analysis

C S Lewis was born in 1898 and was known for his writing, especially in the fantasy genre with The Chronicles of Narnia series one of his most famous works. He was also a theologian who wrote many books on Christianity.

The quote attributed to Lewis in the post appears in the book, “The Misquotable C S Lewis: What He Didn’t Say, What He Actually Said, and Why It Matters” by William O’Flaherty.

“While Lewis believed in encouraging others his published writings do not contain any statement similar to this. His general style of writing is very different than this cliché-like expression,” an excerpt of the book reads, which was published on the site Essential C S Lewis, also run by O’Flaherty.

The quote is also included in the C S Lewis Foundation’s list of “Quotes Misattributed to C S Lewis” which states that “due to the nature of the internet and social media, many of these quotes started out attributed to their proper author/speaker, but were soon falsely attributed to C.S. Lewis and quickly spread throughout the web.”

The C S Lewis Foundation states its goal is to “restore a vital Christian presence throughout higher education, the arts, and the culture at large.”.

Dr Jedidiah Evans, an associate lecturer in Writing Studies at the University of Sydney, advised AAP FactCheck the quote was “definitely not Lewis”.

“Most like a quote from the motivational speaker Les Brown… But not Lewis,” Dr Evans said.

Dr Devin Brown, a professor of English at Asbury University, advised AAP FactCheck that “no one has been able to find anyplace where C S Lewis wrote or said, ‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream’.”

“This does not prove that Lewis never wrote it or said it, but nearly so. I found a suggestion that it originally came from Live Your Dreams by Les Brown (1992),” Dr Brown said.

AAP FactCheck’s cited sources all credited the quote to American motivational speaker Les Brown. This was backed up by the site Quote Investigator which traced the quote back to Brown’s 1992 book, “Live Your Dreams”.

In an online video posted in 2012, Brown explained the quote detailing an experience when he was rejected for a job because of his old age. 

The Verdict 

Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the quote about never being too old to set a new goal to be misattributed to 20th century author and theologian, C S Lewis. The quote was actually from American motivational speaker, Les Brown.

False – The Facebook post is false.

First published September 6, 2019, 13:17 AEST

All information, text and images included on the AAP Websites is for personal use only and may not be re-written, copied, re-sold or re-distributed, framed, linked, shared onto social media or otherwise used whether for compensation of any kind or not, unless you have the prior written permission of AAP. For more information, please refer to our standard terms and conditions.