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The Art of Worldly Wisdom Paperback – March 26, 2009
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Original Language: Spanish --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
His insights have been copied and rewritten all the time, because they are universal in nature. It is interesting to notice that even though Gracian gives counsel on how to deal with people and even enemies, the BIG difference we see in him when compared with other authors like Machiavelli (whom Gracian detested) is his love for virtues like courage, generosity and kindness.
Gracian writes in order to make people become better human beings, not to give advice on how to win a war or have success in business, with a finesse that unfortunately is not found easily any more in our brute and materialistic world of today.
Nietzche and Shopenhauer were fans of Gracian, but none ever reached his clarity and accessibility..THE translation by Christopher Maurer is the ONLY ONE worth reading, for he is as clear as Gracian...Don't bother with the rest...
Baltasar Gracian is a man still ahead of his time...
In the deepest Augustinian sense - where 'sin' is that which brings us misery - Gracian turns his great insight - that sin is folly & folly is sin - to its most beneficial application in his economic, witty, utile, most often profound guide to prudentia (practical wisdom), that venerable, yet too often elusive, lynchpin of virtue... and success.
As Maurer tells us in his informative introduction to what is in my opinion - the definitive English translation (I can vouch only for its impact)- that Gracian learned from his former illustrious associate Aphorism 251: "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones". I claim that Gracian uses both - to the most efficacious extent in this slender, but ever deeper masterpiece.
To the aphorisms, themselves!
I can't list all my favorites. I'd end up hand-copying almost the entire work, and it would take a lifetime to begin sorting out what might be best. Besides, I'd rather spend my time attempting to apply the wisdom found here, though I can but hope to master the bulk of it, try as I might. More hopefully, bits and pieces of a few will encourage you to pick up a book we might all do well to read more in.
"The art of moving people's wills involves more skill than determination.Read more ›
These few hundred brief, oblique, and aphoristic guidelines come down from the 17th century, but are as fresh and true as today's "talk" with your boss. They describe honor, skill, honesty, and trust. They describe the times when each must be pressed, and when each must be left behind. Gracián states again and again how each moment nurtures some effort or other, and how each kind of effort must await its moment. He also prescribes a peaceful mind, most times. That means letting go of matters that do not matter, for your own sake, for mercy towards those around you who may suffer brief lapses, and for your reputation as a person of judegement.
I fault Gracián for exactly one lack: continuous and clear-eyed self criticism. The essence of all art and all science, in terms of daily practice, is the ability to look at one's own work, and to see clearly what parts succeed and what parts fail. Somehow, Gracián missed the bravery required to tear down your own work when it needs to be torn down, in order to build up something more worthy in its place. I also question Gracián's central emphasis on luck, on the benificent forces of the stars. I have seen luck, good and bad, and have always seen that it is a thing a person creates for him/herself. In my own life, I acknowledge random effects for good or bad, but I see little or no "luck."
Gracián's essential message describes a person of honor, determination, insight, and adaptability. This person, in the end, can only succeed. This is a book to read, to re-read, and to re-read again. Mark it up, add your thoughts - it can only become more true.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fast shipping, received what was advertised, quality seller, excellent book as wellPublished 3 months ago by Dustin Smit
Not as good as I thought. Very common. No "new" information. Just a basic book that I honestly could not finish reading.Published 3 months ago by Jim C.
One of the best books I've ever read. A bit like reading the Tao Te Ching, it is essentially laws of power and the right way to do things. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lee Watkins
A true gem, one that has not received the recognition it deserves. I strongly agree with Arthur Schopenhauer when he said that this book ought to be a companion for life.Published 4 months ago by Seth
If you study the wise words in this book you'll be on your way to becoming a sage in no time.Published 5 months ago by J.