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Collected Maxims and Other Reflections

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,740 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Deceptively brief and insidiously easy to read, La Rochefoucauld's shrewd, unflattering analyses of human behavior have influenced writers, thinkers, and public figures as various as Voltaire, Proust, de Gaulle, Nietzsche, and Conan Doyle. This is the fullest collection of La Rochefoucauld's writings ever published in English, and includes the first complete translation of ...more
Paperback, Oxford World’s Classics, 354 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press (first published 1665)
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4.06  · 
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 ·  2,740 ratings  ·  174 reviews


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Riku Sayuj
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it

‘Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily,’ declares La Rochefoucauld.

The editors assure us:

the same may be said of his Maxims. Few books as widely read have provoked as much resistance. Most of us can no more look at it without wavering than we could the sun. We cannot bear the thought that it might be true; the consequences would be too painful. So, to shut our eyes to it, to avoid facing it, we rely on every psychological defence we can muster. The book is a work of cynicism, pes
...more
Hadrian
L’amour-propre est le plus grand de tous les flatteurs.

Even with my own pitiful French, I can still discern a certain force and clarity in these maxims - these little sentences or digressions are polished to a high sheen.

Though Rochefoucauld's Maxims are utterly cynical, dismissive of 'the philosophers' and classical virtue, they are not always depressing. If anything else, there are a chance to laugh at your own follies and mistakes.

Such abiding pessimism is the mark of a fine black humorist o
...more
Mohammad Ali

لاروشفوکو در این کتاب بر چند مطلب اصرار دارد: 1) فضایل ادعایی بشر اغلب چیزی جز نمودهای متنوع منیت او نیستند و فروتنی ها و اذعان به اشتباهات و ... صرفا رندی های حب ذات برای ارضاء بیشترند؛ 2) آدمی با زیرکی توانسته تنبلی را که بدترین رذایل است در میان فضایل جا دهد؛ 3) فضائل و رذائل خود را نباید چیزی جدای از فراز و فرود حرارت های مزاجمان بدانیم؛ [ 4) اما آدمی اراده ای دارد که قادر است او را از این وضع طبیعی رهایی بخشد و حقیقت و زیبایی و کمال را برایش به ارمغان آورد ]. این آخری را در براکت نوشتم چون
...more
نادية أحمد
أوّل تقييم باللغة العربية لكتاب حكم وأفكار
لفرانسوا دو لاروشفوكو هو تقييمي
الكتاب ترجّم من الفرنسية إلى العربية هذا العام ٢٠١٧
وهو ضمن الكتب المدرجة في مشروع " كلمة "
التابع لهيئة أبوظبي للسياحة والثقافة.

بدايةً الكتاب يقع ضمن كلاسيكيّات الأدب الفرنسي
ويعالج العديد من الحِكم والأفكار
و وجهات نظر الكاتب في العديد من القِيم
والمصطلحات الدارجة والأخلاقيات

سبق وذكرت في حساباتي على السوشال ميديا
بأنّ أفكار فرانسوا مقاربة جداً لأفكار جبران خليل جبران
حتى الأسلوب متقارب بطريقة عجيبة!

فرانسوا ليس متشائماً ولا سلبي
...more
Rachelle
Sep 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Depressing, bitter, single-sentence maxims that opened my naive eyes and made me want to choose to be a better person than most. La Rouchefoucauld published these first in 1665 (France), but at least 80 percent are still applicable today. Fascinating observations.
David
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The full title of the text is Reflections or Aphorisms and Moral Maxims; and in centered text below the title are the words "Our virtues are usually only vices in disguise." The subtitle says as much as the title. These aphorisms are bitter as they are pithy. Perhaps not bitter -- say, rather, that La Rochefoucauld was not optimistic about human nature. Very few of these aphorisms speak of love, friendship, virtue, or humility with anything but skepticism.

Given how nearly sublimely pessimistic L
...more
 یِکْ دَرون‌ْگَرآ
تلخیصِ رذالت و نکبت بشر در جملاتی کوتاه و گویا
Eadweard
We are more able than willing; often we imagine that things are impossible because we want to excuse ourselves in our own eyes.
----


There is more pride than kindness* in our reprimands to people who are at fault; and we reprove them not so much to correct them as to convince them that we ourselves are free from such wrongdoing.
----


What men have called friendship is merely social contact, consider ation for one another’s interests, and exchange of favours; in fact, it is simply a transaction in w
...more
Boniva
Apr 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Wow. This is seeing the glass all the way empty (& maybe smashed).

Lilian Tomlin said something like, no matter how cynical you get, it's never enough to keep up. If this jives with your view of humanity, read Rochefoucauld.

The maxims are short and pithy and misanthropic:

Self-love is subtler than the subtlest man of the world.

The moderation of happy people comes from the tranquility that good fortune gives to their disposition.

What is called generosity is most often just the vanity of giving,
...more
Shyam
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
I am of average height, well-built and well-proportioned. My complexion is dark, but fairly uniform; my forehead is high and reasonably broad; my eyes are dark, small, and deep-set, and my eyebrows black and thick, but well-shaped. I would be hard-pressed to say what kind of nose I have; for it is neither snub nor aquiline, nor thick, nor pointed, at least I do not think so; all I know is that it is on the larger rather than the small side, and that it comes down a little too low. My mouth is la ...more
Marius
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yet another great spirit who tells the Truth.

The other one is Balthasar Gracian and his The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence
AGamarra
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
MAXIMAS. Escritas por La Rochefoucauld
¿Qué es la virtud? Hoy en día seguro muchos no sabrían bien qué responder, es un tema tan difícil de responder así como lo fue en el siglo XVII y ahora creo banalizado pues poca gente se interesa en su significado y más en siquiera conocer qué es.
El duque de La Rochefoucauld fue un aristócrata francés que vivió en la época de Luis XIII y XIV, como noble participó en la vida militar y en la corte real, así como en la famosa Revolución de la Fronda en la que t
...more
Trevor
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the maxims that caught my eye:

"Philosophy triumphs easily over past evils and future evils; but present evils triumph over it."
Maxim 22

"We have more strength than will; and it is often merely for an excuse we say things are impossible." Maxim 30

"Those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things."
Maxim 41

"We have not enough strength to follow all our reason." Maxim 42

"Happiness is in the taste, and not in the things themselves; we are happy fro
...more
Tara deCamp
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My French literature textbook included ten of these maxims, and I was intrigued to see more of these timeless tidbits. Most people in my class thought Rochefoucauld displayed a very pessimistic viewpoint on life here, but I thought it was fair and neutral. Maybe I'm just super pessimistic too and didn't realize it?
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Mar 08, 2013 marked it as i-want-money  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: Moira Russell
Shelves: pretty-old-stuff
Vanity causes me to pursue an accounting of the following exchange:

"Nathan "N.R." wrote: "There is nothing worse in the world than someone who has fallen in love."

[Moira]: Nathan, you get the La Rochefoucauld (sp) award for the day."
Chuck LoPresti
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I've realized I'm writing myself notes more than reviews at times. I'm logging this stuff for my kids mostly who are 6 and 2 at the time of this writing, (Hello M. and O. If I'm dead now it doesn't mean I didn't just see what you did and you should feel horrible about your behavior the moment you are done washing your hands - now go watch 12 Chaplins and get a good night's sleep), I hope I can at least convey some central themes in the book at hand that will justify their presence on this site. ...more
Michelle Cano
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cada frase del libro es oro.

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.”
Bogdan Liviu
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand imitations."
One of the fundamental books that humanity has produced.
Stevahkno  Fwaurmo
Some are quite clever, some are quite obvious, some are quite insightful, most are worth reading.
Justin
Re-read. French courtier and spiritual precursor to -- among others -- the inverted moral perspectives and reversals worked through in Nietzsche, much of Freud and Bierce's Dictionary... Though this compact book is primarily comprised of aphorisms amenable to the Twitter format, my favorite entry is a bit lengthier:

630
"Of all human impulsions, the one we know least about is indolence. It is of them all the most vicious and intense, however unnoticed its intensity or concealed its ill effects. If
...more
J.D.
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's difficult to narrow down my thoughts on this book to a review that is not verbose. I want to say to begin with that reading "Portrait de M. R. D. fait par lui-même" (Portrait of Monsieur R----d, by Himself) was delightful. I know I was smiling the whole time whenever I was reading it. To me, that last part was less autobiographical and more personal. I think it is absolutely wonderful that they included that at the end of the book. (That is, aside from the Maxims of Doubtful Authenticity.) ...more
Abeer Abdullah
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
La Rochefoucald is a very interesting person who has lead a very interesting life, in addition to his being clearly very intelligent. Such factors naturally lead to wise, if not at least fascinating writings. I at first heard about him and his short book of maxims and thought it would be a light summer read but it took me 3 times as much effort as I thought it would to read these 500 one sentence maxims, they weren't very complex and so I wondered why it was so hard for me to do so and I came to ...more
Rick
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La Rochefoucauld’s maxims are all things that good maxims should be: pithy, shrewd, redolent of experience, and memorable. A sampling: “Few things are impossible in themselves, it is not so much the means we lack as perseverance to make them succeed.” “We are far indeed from knowing all we want.” “It is easier to stifle a first desire than to satisfy all the ensuing ones.” “We are so used to disguising ourselves from others that we end up disguising ourselves from ourselves.” “Nature provides th ...more
Garth
Our virtues are most frequently but vices in disguise.- Francois de La Rochefoucauld In the early 17th century, a French writer earned great acclaim for publishing a book of maxims that influenced French society centuries after he wrote. Important thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche admired him, and literary critics bandied his name about in comparison and contrast to their own contemporaries. Around the same time Blaise Pascal was writing what he intended to be a defense of the Christian faith, t ...more
Aaron Dellutri
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People curious about human motivation.
"Our virtues are usually only vices in disguise."

So begins this collection of hundreds of short aphorisms about human nature, most of them 3 sentences or less, which touch on love, war, business, courage, money, death, perception, politics, freindship, vanity, morality, laziness, and hypocrisy. The writer, the Duc De La Rochefoucauld, had a philosophy which linked all human action to people's "self-love".

Cynical, but not in a mean way. La Rochefoucauld was very good at seeing the hidden selfish
...more
Feliks
Fantastically precise observations of human nature. But the end result is gloom and depression. If you read just a few pages of this work at one sitting; you will be okay. If you read 1/2 of it at one fell swoop, you will probably need prescription medication. Whatever you do, do not read the whole thing at once--you might never recover. This is grim, savage, biting stuff.
Doug
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Amazing' is a bit of enthusiasm that doesn't really fit with La Rochefoucauld's pithy sentences. I'll settle for diamond-like or 'adamantine' instead. Even not in the wake of a bad relationship, these summations of human conduct, folly, and motivation are as true as philosophy could pose.
Monique
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I ever read.
Graychin
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La Rochefoucauld writes in the Maxims that “age makes men both sillier and wiser.” He does not say that progress in one entails progress in the other but it would be convenient to believe so because, as my children will agree, I am sillier now than I used to be. I indulge in bad puns and gratuitous spoonerisms. I make, and enjoy making, “dad jokes.” In my middle age I find that most of the old vices and temptations loosen their grip (La Rochefoucauld: “When the vices give us up we flatter oursel ...more
Kyle van Oosterum
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very sharp, biting insights into human nature, life, love and psychology. A simple read, to be completed in less than an hour really, but nevertheless a great collection of very potent maxims. Thoroughly recommend.
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François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac (French: [fʁɑswa d(ə) la ʁɔʃfuko]; 15 September 1613 – 17 March 1680) was a noted French author of maxims and memoirs. It is said that his world-view was clear-eyed and urbane, and that he neither condemned human conduct nor sentimentally celebrated it. Born in Paris on the Rue des Petits Champs, at a time when the royal court was vacillati ...more
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