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The Art of Worldly Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle Hardcover – January 1, 1992
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Publisher
- Publisher : Doubleday; 1st edition (January 1, 1992)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385421311
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385421317
- Item Weight : 9.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.16 x 0.75 x 7.53 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #394,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In no time I was talking about it to everybody I know and decided to buy a few more copies. Gave one to my son when he was graduating from college and he was about to start his work life. Although he is not the bookish type he reads it.
Other family members got copies too.
I think it is a great book and appeals to all ages and generations. Also, much more value compared to a number of "self-help or advice" type of literature.
What is about? I will just put in a short quote and will let you decide:
"Act sometimes on Second Thoughts, sometimes on First Impulse." or "Arouse no Exaggerated Expectations on entering.It is the usual ill-luck of all celebrities not to fulfil afterwards the expectations beforehand formed of them."
Need I say more?
These aphorisms cover an enormous amount of subject areas. The following are just a small sample of the topics covered: Mind and spirit, nature and art, fortune and fame, accomplish your ends, the art of being lucky, be gracious, think, never exaggerate, be shrewd, but not too shrewd, have strength of spirit, never lose your head, work with good tools, know how to refuse, generous in action, the art of living well, attain, and maintain a reputation, deal solely with men of honor, never talk about yourself, and many other bits of great advice.
If you are a seeker of knowledge and bits of wisdom from the ancient masters, you may want to check out this book. Even though the writing style is not always clear (could be because of the translation) or easy to understand: nevertheless, this is still an excellent book to read. Some of the bits of wisdom are a pure joy to read.
Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Haiku Moments: How to read, write and enjoy haiku).
Top reviews from other countries
I think that Baltasar Gracian has left out one aphorism in this book: terrible translation obscures wisdom. Or if translated according to the work of this translator, it would read "bad translation wisdom hides". This is how awful the translation is such that one is prevented from accessing the great wisdom of Baltasar Gracian. The book has a great foreword which whets up one's appetite for wisdom, but the terrible and awkward translation destroys any promise that the worldly wisdom of Baltasar Gracian would be transferred to all but the wisest of all readers (and if you are such a wise reader, why read this book?)
The book contains such a horrendous translation that one would only be able to understand the aphorisms if one already had knowledge of such wisdom. This translation is therefore unhelpful for people seeking to acquire new wisdom (it is unobtainable through this translation), but may serve a fine purpose for those who have the time and folly to try and decipher Gracian's profound sayings mangled by the dreadful translation.
The book lists three hundred aphorisms. These life lessons can be applied to any era, or nationality. Gracians observations and recommendations are not only timeless, but also quite brilliant. Gracian also has a rather sharp dividing line. Most of his observations are divided along the lines of wise people, versus the world of fools. He then compares the resulting action of a prudent person, with the action of a foolish person.
Bottom line; do yourself a favour, and pick up a copy of this book.