"Use human means as though divine ones did not exist, and use divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
Troughout the centuries, mankind has produced three great, timeless wisdom books: Machiavelli's The Prince, Sun-Tzu's The Art of War, and Baltasar Gracian's The Art of Wordly's Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle. And yet, until now, Gracian's astonishing classic has been largely unavailable to moderne readers.
The Art of Wordly Wisdom was written three hundred years ago by one of Spain's greatest writers - a wordly Jesuit scholar and keen observer of many in positions of power. Gracian's work draws on careful study of statesmen and potentates who managed to combine ethical behavior with wordly effectiveness. Each of the elegantly crafted maxims in this volume offers valuable insight on the art of living and the practice of achieving.
According to novelist Gail Godwin, "The oracle scintillates with Machiavellian know-how, only with scrupules... The reader today who faithfully follows its precepts will never make a fool of himself or herself and may even go on to become useful and wise."
Newly translated, Gracian's advice is as astonishingly appropriate today as it was in seventeenth-century Spain, a society resembling our own in its contiguous splendor and abject misery. These secular moral reflections on reality and appearances, self-love and friendship, wit and ignorance are sharply pragmatic, but still leave room for spirituality, tempered by prudence and discretion.
The art of worldly wisdom
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