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Book Summaries Philosophy

More than Knowledge (The Art of Worldly Wisdom)

Character and Intellect: the two poles of our capacity; one without the other is but halfway to happiness. Intellect sufficeth not, character is also needed. On the other hand, it is the fool’s misfortune, to fail in obtaining the position, the employment, the neighbourhood, and the circle of friends that suit him.

Knowledge and Courage are the elements of Greatness. They give immortality, because they
are immortal. Each is as much as he knows, and the wise can do anything. A man without
knowledge, a world without light. Wisdom and strength, eyes and hands. Knowledge without
courage is sterile.

Knowledge and Good Intentions together ensure continuance of success. A fine intellect
wedded to a wicked will was always an unnatural monster. A wicked will envenoms all excellences:
helped by knowledge it only ruins with greater subtlety. ‘Tis a miserable superiority that only
results in ruin. Knowledge without sense is double folly.

A Man of Knowledge to the Point. Wise men arm themselves with tasteful and elegant
erudition; a practical knowledge of what is going on not of a common kind but more like an
expert. They possess a copious store of wise and witty sayings, and of noble deeds, and know how
to employ them on fitting occasions. More is often taught by a jest than by the most serious
teaching.

Know how to Choose well. Most of life depends thereon. It needs good taste and correct
judgment, for which neither intellect nor study suffices. To be choice, you must choose, and for
this two things are needed: to be able to choose at all, and then to choose the best. There are
many men of fecund and subtle mind, of keen judgment, of much learning, and of great
observation who yet are at a loss when they come to choose. They always take the worst as if they
had tried to go wrong. Thus this is one of the greatest gifts from above.

Be Resolute. Bad execution of your designs does less harm than irresolution in forming them.
Streams do less harm flowing than when dammed up. There are some men so infirm of purpose that
they always require direction from others, and this not on account of any perplexity, for they
judge clearly, but from sheer incapacity for action. It needs some skill to find out difficulties,
but more to find a way out of them. There are others who are never in straits . their clear
judgment and determined character fit them for the highest callings: their intelligence tells them
where to insert the thin end of the wedge, their resolution how to drive it home. They soon get
through anything: as soon as they have done with one sphere of action, they are ready for another.
Affianced to Fortune, they make themselves sure of success.

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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