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Book: The Art of Worldly Wisdom
Author: Baltasar Gracian
Doubleday Currency, New York, pp.188


Excerpt from Introduction:

The Art of Worldly Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle is a book of strategies for knowing, judging, and acting: for making oneís way in the world and achieving distinction and perfection. It is a collection of three hundred aphorisms too delicious not to share with friends and colleagues, too penetrating not to hide from enemies and rivals. Its ideal reader is someone whose daily occupation involves dealing with others; discovering their intentions, winning their favor and friendship, or (on the other hand) defeating their designs and ďcheckmating their will.Ē Like all aphorisms, these are meant to be read slowly, a few at a time.

Excerpt from Book:

A jovial character. In moderation, it is a gift, and not a defect. A pinch of wit is good seasoning. The greatest people can parlay grace and humor into universal favor. But they pay due respect to prudence and never break with decorum. Others use jest as a quick way out of difficulty. Some things should be taken jokingly, even those that others take most seriously. This shows a certain agreeableness, and works like a strange charm on the hearts of others.

Reach perfection. No one is born that way. Perfect yourself daily, both personally and professionally, until you become a consummate being, rounding off your gifts and reaching eminence. Signs of the perfect person: elevated taste, a pure intelligence, a clear will, ripeness of judgement. Some people are never complete and are always lacking something. Others take a long time to form themselves. The consummate person ó wise in speech, prudent in deed ó is admitted to, and even desired by, the singular society of the discreet.

Example of Table of Contents:

Character and intelligence

Keep matters in suspense

Donít outshine your boss

Associate with those you can learn from

Surround yourself with auxiliary wits

When you start something, donít raise the expectations of others

Know how to take a hint

Be vulgar in nothing

Know when to put something aside

Quit while you are ahead

Never exaggerate

Temper your antipathy

Never lose your self-respect

Know how to choose

Know how to wait

End well

Make others understand

Choose a heroic model

Renew your brilliance

Head off rumor

Make your reputation and keep it

Donít look self-satisfied

Get used to the failings of your friends, family, and acquaintances

Be known for your courtesy

Donít have the spirit of contradiction

Donít defend the wrong side out of stubborness

Think ahead

Know how to suffer fools