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Cowboy Wisdom

Edited by Gerd de Ley

Publisher: Hatherleigh Press

Price: $12.50 hardcover

Available wherever books are sold.

Gerd de Ley, a Belgian actor and curator of quotes, now offers “Cowboy Wisdom,” an enjoyable collection of sage advice and clever quips. In a high quality hardcover, the book will last a lifetime though, weighing in at 112 pages, it won’t take that long to read. It could take an evening or a week, if you break it up and read one chapter a night.

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The distinct rust red cover with the title in a typical Old West wanted poster-type font will look attractive on your bookshelf. 

“Cowboy Wisdom” shares some of the less useful information a cowboy could impart. The old standards such as “Speak your mind but ride a fast horse” and “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by” are included. The late Joan Rivers contributed with “Never buy fur from a vegetarian.”

The stereotypical quotes about crazy women and dumb farmers make their appearance. The reader should consider the time period when these were originally spoken. I would hope most folks who purchase “Cowboy Wisdom” don’t take themselves so seriously as to be offended. There are also many variations on leading a horse to water and what to do with it once it gets there. The late comedian George Carlin offers his two cents on that scenario.

His cast of quotable characters includes the likes of Baxter Black, John Wayne and Will Rogers. De Ley even uses quips from Texas Bix Bender, author of the popular “Don’t Squat with Your Spurs On” series. Some of his more unexpected contributors include Abraham Lincoln, English novelist Evelyn Waugh and Russian playwright Anton Chekov. He plumbs the depths of quotable sources sharing proverbs from Italy, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Spain and Mexico. There is even one quote attributed to an Old Cowboy proverb. 

The chapter titles, such as “What Makes a Man a Cowboy,” “Wild West Wisdoms” and “From the Horse’s Mouth,” allude to the subject of the included quotes though many could land anywhere in the book and still make sense. 

De Ley has complied a plethora of other quote books from different genres. In my mind, it seems that upon noticing his large collection of sayings regarding horses, hats and women, he thought, “Eh, might as well publish another book.” Others may see it differently and that’s OK by me.

Jennifer Theurer can be reached at 620-227-1858 or

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