Why spend a whole novel communicating wisdom when you can do it in a few words? Recently I read two books that focused on aphorisms, a modern bestseller (The Bed of Procrustes) and a classic, timeless one (Poor Richard’s Almanac). As I was reading through them I would highlight my favorite passages, knowing that one day I wanted to put them up on my walls. Here is my top 10 from each book.
Print them out. Tape them everywhere. Watch your mind grow.
Nassim Taleb’s Bed of Procrustes
There are two types of people: those who try to win and those who try to win arguments. They are never the same.
It is those who use others who are the most upset when someone uses them.
If you know, in the morning, what your day looks like with any precision, you are a little bit dead – the more precision, the more dead.
For many, instead of looking for “cause of death” when they expire, we should be looking for “cause of life” when they are still around.
Failure of second order thinking: he tells you a secret and somehow expects you to keep it, when he just gave you evidence he can’t keep it himself.
I suspect that IQ, SAT, and school grades are tests designed by nerds so they can get high scores in order to call each other intelligent.
Someone who says “I am busy” is either declaring incompetence (and lack of control of his life) or trying to get rid of you.
If you need to listen to music while walking, don’t walk; and please don’t listen to music.
What I learned on my own I still remember.
If you find any reason why you and someone are friends, you are not friends.
Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac
If your riches are yours, why don’t you take them with you to the other world?
He that falls in love with himself, will have no rivals.
Great modesty often hides great merit.
Half the truth is often a great lie.
One today is worth two tomorrows.
The proud hate pride — in others.
Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure when he is really selling himself a slave to it.
He that speaks much is much mistaken.
Lend money to an enemy and you will gain him, to a friend and you will lose him.
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.
Have any favorite aphorisms? Write them in the comments below!