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The wise man does not allow his knowledge and abilities to be sounded to the bottom, if he desires to be honored at all. He allows you to know them but not to comprehend them.

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No one must know the extent of his abilities, lest he be disappointed. No one ever has an opportunity of fathoming him entirely. For guesses and doubts about the extent of his talents arouse more veneration than accurate knowledge of them, be they ever so great. It is a matter of great importance to forego superlatives, in part to avoid offending the truth, and in part to avoid cheapening your judgment.

Exaggeration wastes distinction and testifies to the paucity of your understanding and taste.

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Praise excites anticipation and stimulates desire. Afterwards when value does not measure up to price, disappointment turns against the fraud and takes revenge by cheapening both the appraised and the appraise. For this reason let the prudent go slowly, and err in understatement rather than overstatement. The extraordinary of every kind is always rare, wherefore temper your estimate. It is the misfortune of the over-celebrated that they cannot measure up to excessive expectations.


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The actual can never attain the imagined: The imagination weds the wish, and together they always conjure up more than reality can furnish. For however great may be a person's virtues, the will never measure up to what was imagined. When people see themselves cheated in their extravagant anticipations, they turn more quickly to disparagement than to praise.

Hope is a great falsifier of the truth; the the intelligence put her right by seeing to it that the fruit is superior to its appetite. You will make a better exit when the actual transcends the imagined, and is more than was expected. The works of nature all amount to a peak of perfection; up to it they wax, beyond it they wane.

Only in matters of art have a few gone to the point where they might not be improved. It is the mark of cultivated taste to enjoy everything at its best. But all may not do this, and not all who may, know how. Even the fruits of the spirit have their moment of ripeness, and it is well to recognize this, in order to value it properly and attend to it.

It is the way of the gamblers of reputation. Quite as important as a gallant advance is a well-planned retreat. Lock up your winnings when they are enough, or when great. Continuous luck is always suspect; more secure is that which changes. Though half bitter and half sweet, it is more satisfying to the taste.

The more luck pyramids, the greater the danger of slip and collapse. For luck always compensates her intensity by her brevity. Fortune wearies of carrying anyone long upon her shoulders. Great persons are of their time. Not all were born into a period worthy of them, and many so born failed to benefit by it. Some merited a better century, for all that is good does not always triumph. Aug 24, Nick rated it it was amazing. This is one of the great books of wisdom, dispensed in brief paragraphs with headings like "better to be intensive than extensive," and "reserve is the seal of talent.

You need to be ready for it to throw something unfair, unexpected, or unpleasant back at you. It's perhaps comforting to know that the book was written years ago, a This is one of the great books of wisdom, dispensed in brief paragraphs with headings like "better to be intensive than extensive," and "reserve is the seal of talent.

It's perhaps comforting to know that the book was written years ago, and the world is still pretty much the same now as it was then. Others argue the opposite. Well-spent leisure is worth more than work. We have nothing of our own but time. Gracian's Art of Worldly Wisdom is a collection of maxims containing excellent, practical advice; very Senecan, and, at times, Machiavellian in sentiment but much more "Know a little more and live a little less. Gracian's Art of Worldly Wisdom is a collection of maxims containing excellent, practical advice; very Senecan, and, at times, Machiavellian in sentiment but much more applicable than The Prince.

Personally, I noted around 50 which I would consider essential to read in their entirety, as well as many, many more containing nuggets of gold; for a collection of , there is an impressive amount of quality.

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We are born to know and to know ourselves, and books reliably turn us into people. Let the third stage be spent entirely with yourself: Entre varias de las ideas se puede subrayar el dar una apariencia coherente, el hablar lo necesario, reflexionar bien, rodearse de amigos y nunca excederse en el trato. Feb 27, Philippe Malzieu rated it it was amazing. It did not respect many thing. He had the arrogance of those which know their talent. He published his books without authorizations. His visions sour and cynical terrified his superiors.

I was very mechant with Macchiavel by advising you to substitute Gracian to him. The form will undoubtedly appear less formal to you, more futile. But at the bottom it is a fine analysis of the social reports and way to evolve in society. It is t "The contempt is the most subtle form of revenge" Gracian was Jesuit. It is the book of someone which mixed with the power without practising it like Macchiavel and which knew to keep cold blood. The slim Penguin volume is beautifully put together and if I can get even ten of these guidelines to being a better person straight this year it will be success.

As it stands, the end of ended on a pretty turbulent note for me and only in the past day or two have I been piecing myself together to saner grounds. This is a great meditation on how to live simply, wisely. Something i aphorisms over years old by Spanish writer Gracian, born four years after the release of Quixote, vol 1. Something in here for everyone, from saintly grandmothers to the most outrageous nihilist, probably a little more for the latter.

Yet the struggle for the down and out herein to believe in the wisdom would make it the more worthwhile text. These days would be one of millions of Self-Help books, Gracian writing before a time for that kind of Market. Here is just some great, condensed advice, from what I've read spot-on. Great translation by one Jeremy Robbins, a master on Spanish Baroque culture. One which would be on my Currently Reading shelf for a long, long time, if I didn't plan to tuck it away and just read a passage or two every so often.

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Reading ten, slowly, in a row started to remind me of my lesser qualities, the voluminous nature of them. Will pick up again when feeling a little better about myself. Glad to have caught a mint condition copy out of the corner of my eye at the bookstore today. Mar 19, Melina rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book can not be over-estimated. I use this book the way others refer to the bible. I DO also read the Bible, The Qu'ran and other religous books as well However, the advice in this little book is invaluable.

There are days when I am troubled and I will meditate on the problem, run my thumb over the pages and pick a random spot and it never fails to deliver some sage and relevant advice. Jul 17, Gregorycox rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Excellent series of lessons that people from all walk's of life can enjoy and learn from. Very insightful and thought provoking. May 07, Erdogan Cicek rated it really liked it. The book is like a social version of "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu and it advises to approach to all events and preventing from human-relational problems by wisdom and intelligence..

May 29, Mike rated it it was ok. So I decided on this small handbook of paragraph-long aphorisms. Each paragraph contained a string of one-sentence aphorisms that give the appearance of world-weary wisdom to mask their overgeneralization. Some were so astonishingly manipulative that I felt I were reading a handbook for sociopaths.

I struggled through to the end, reading a few per day. Normally I read books of aphorisms slowly in order to savor each one. I read this book slowly because it was such a painful experience. I wish I would have had this book in high school! I think it should be on everyone's essential reading list. Although these condensed insights and suggestions come down to us from almost years ago, their relevance to our experience today is striking and proves the depth of these maxims.

The famous philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer translated this about years ago and called it "a book made for constant use" and recommended it as "a companion for life. One of the best books about, for lack of a better expression, how life and the world work, the importance of image and perception and being smart in general. Centuries later we see people, society and their perception and judgment didn't really change that much at all. Better yet it's written, how can I say, positively, without the cynicism of say, The Prince or other books who try to do the same. Jan 20, Feathers Scott rated it it was amazing.

I always believe if you want to truly know, find the inspirations and mentors of the wise. I truly love this book, could be s challengings if you're not into classic literature, but for me, one of the best books I've ever read. Very applicable and timeless wisdom. Sep 17, Osbert rated it really liked it. Theological writing, much like the religious experience, is defined in ways that diminish and ridicule its very existence.

Language and writing are rooted in the physical world, and their earthbound metaphysical potencies are limited by their human-animal exponents. Trecento aforismi, campioni di scrittura per un pensiero breve, affatto superficiale.


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  8. Dobbiamo saper dimostrare quello che siamo, non quello che altri vorrebbero che noi fossimo. Certamente non un cinico. Non pensate che questo prete spagnolo secentesco voglia fare qualcosa di inquisitivo. Dio non viene quasi mai nominato in questo suo libro. Prendere in controllo le speranze, le illusioni e i disinganni oltre che le paure.

    Non si tratta di pessimismo oppure di ottimismo, ma di strategia, quella giusta maniera per far fronte alle debolezze proprie e quelle degli altri. Una persona abbastanza difficile, come del resto sono tutti gli aragonesi. Fu in conflitto con il suo ordine, per avere pubblicato scritti senza il loro permesso.

    Le strategie estetiche corrispondono a quelle morali. Un frammento ci indica come manovrare, un altro come difendersi. Rileggetevi Machiavelli e forse capirete.

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    Jul 15, Jacopo rated it it was amazing Shelves: Baltasar Gracian's great masterwork is the only book I can say with absolute certainty has changed my life. By some genius, Gracian instructs one in the ways of temperance, fortitude, prudence, and charity, while at the same time instilling a thorough and unyielding appreciation for man's intractable selfishness. Maybe same editions 4 49 Apr 07, His proto-existentialist writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.


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    He studied at a Jesuit school in and and theology in Zaragoza. He was ordained in and took his final vows in He assumed the vows of the Jesuits in and dedicated himself to teaching in various Jesuit schools. He spent time in Huesca, where he befriended the local scholar Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa, who helped him achieve an important milestone in his intellectual upbringing. He acquired fame as a preacher, although some of his oratorical displays, such as reading a letter sent from Hell from the pulpit, were frowned upon by his superiors.

    During the Spanish war with Catalonia and France, he was chaplain of the army that liberated Lleida in This attracted the Society's displeasure.