The Art of Worldly Wisdom

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

A collection of 300 aphorisms written by Baltasar Gracian in 17th century Spain, The Art of Worldly Wisdom is the best translation on the market, by Christopher Maurer. If one did nothing other than print out each of the 300 short truths and taped one to the bathroom mirror each morning, reflecting on it and applying it to his day, I’m confident he could take the last 65 days of the year off and still have the most productive year of his life.

That is how powerful this work is. Bordering on Machiavellian foundation plus a dash of Stoicism, this 300 year old text is a gem and should be on the shelf of any serious student who wishes to behave ethically but yet successfully in a world that seems to discredit both or at least not praise them as much as in the past. Moral conduct and the raising up of oneself used to be honorable pursuit.

Today, with tabloid news covering which celebrity went out last night without any panties or vast national coverage of the spreading income inequality, yet conveniently avoiding the topics of effort, responsibility, liability, and risk inequality that must also be considered in diverse incomes, it’s hard to imagine a time when the pursuit of success and moral order were actually honored and promoted. Years ago, our heroes were writers, philosophers, government officials, orators, and religious leaders. Today, they are professional athletes and celebrities made of silicone. Surely there’s room for more of the thinking presented in Gracian’s work than we currently perceive to have the capacity to absorb.

The smartest and most-successful of my clients will find this book refreshing, inspiring and instructive. If you’ve never read it, you’ll be shocked it’s over 300 years old. It could have been written today and would still apply to the social ills and personal struggles we all face in this complex world. This is one of those rare books, that when properly applied to your life, can be a significant game changer.

Worked at Burleson Orthodontics. Attended University of Missouri–Kansas City. Lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

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