The Art of Worldly Wisdom Quotes

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The Art of Worldly Wisdom The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracián
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The Art of Worldly Wisdom Quotes (showing 1-30 of 63)
“Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“The best skill at cards is knowing when to discard.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Keep the extent of your abilities unknown.The wise man does not allow his knowledge and abilities to be sounded to the bottom, if he desires to be honored at all. He allows you to know them but not to comprehend them. No one must know the extent of his abilities, lest he be disappointed. No one ever has an opportunity of fathoming him entirely. For guesses and doubts about the extent of his talents arouse more veneration than accurate knowledge of them, be they ever so great.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“For the advice in a joke is sometimes more useful than the most serious teaching.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“One should cultivate good habits of memory, for it is capable of making existence a Paradise or an Inferno.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Cunning grows in deceit at seeing itself discovered, and tries to deceive with truth itself.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“A beautiful woman should break her mirror early.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Be first the master of yourself”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“There are rules to luck, not everything is chance for the wise; luck can be helped by skill.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Never exaggerate. It is a matter of great importance to forego superlatives, in part to avoid offending the truth, and in part to avoid cheapening your judgment. Exaggeration wastes distinction and testifies to the paucity of your understanding and taste. Praise excites anticipation and stimulates desire. Afterwards when value does not measure up to price, disappointment turns against the fraud and takes revenge by cheapening both the appraised and the appraise. For this reason let the prudent go slowly, and err in understatement rather than overstatement. The extraordinary of every kind is always rare, wherefore temper your estimate.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Do not enter where too much is anticipated. It is the misfortune of the over-celebrated that they cannot measure up to excessive expectations. The actual can never attain the imagined: for to think perfection is easy, but to embody it is most difficult. The imagination weds the wish, and together they always conjure up more than reality can furnish. For however great may be a person's virtues, the will never measure up to what was imagined. When people see themselves cheated in their extravagant anticipations, they turn more quickly to disparagement than to praise. Hope is a great falsifier of the truth; the the intelligence put her right by seeing to it that the fruit is superior to its appetite. You will make a better exit when the actual transcends the imagined, and is more than was expected.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Things have their time, even eminence bows to timeliness.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“The happy are an exception who enjoy innocently their simple happiness.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Recognize things when they are at their best, in their season, and know how to enjoy them then. The works of nature all amount to a peak of perfection; up to it they wax, beyond it they wane. Only in matters of art have a few gone to the point where they might not be improved. It is the mark of cultivated taste to enjoy everything at its best. But all may not do this, and not all who may, know how. Even the fruits of the spirit have their moment of ripeness, and it is well to recognize this, in order to value it properly and attend to it.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“A person of your century: Great persons are of their time. Not all were born into a period worthy of them, and many so born failed to benefit by it. Some merited a better century, for all that is good does not always triumph. Fashions have their periods and even the greatest virtues, their styles. But the philosopher, being ageless, has one advantage: Should this not prove the right century, many to follow will.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Say farewell to luck when winning. It is the way of the gamblers of reputation. Quite as important as a gallant advance is a well-planned retreat. Lock up your winnings when they are enough, or when great. Continuous luck is always suspect; more secure is that which changes. Though half bitter and half sweet, it is more satisfying to the taste. The more luck pyramids, the greater the danger of slip and collapse. For luck always compensates her intensity by her brevity. Fortune wearies of carrying anyone long upon her shoulders.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Harness the imagination: Sometimes curbing her, sometimes giving her rein, for she is the whole of happiness. She sets to rights even the understanding. She sinks to tyranny, not satisfied with mere faith, but demanding works. Thus she becomes the mistress of life itself. She does so with pleasure or with pain, according to the nonsense presented. She makes people contented or discontented with themselves. By dangling before some nothing but the specter of their eternal suffering, she becomes the scourge of these fools. To others she shows nothing but fortune and romance, while merrily laughing. Of all this she is capable if not held in check by the wisest of wills.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Rivalry discovers that courtesy overlooks.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Memory is not only unruly, leaving us in the lurch when most needed, but stupid as well, putting its nose into places where it is not wanted.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
tags: memory
“The hossanas of the multitude can never bring satisfaction to the discerning. Yet there exist those chamaleons of popularity who find their joy, not in the sweet breath of Apollo, but in the smell of the crowd. And not in mind: Do not be taken in by what are miracles to the populace, for the ignorant do not rise above marveling. Thus the stupidity of a crowd is lost in admiration, even as the brain of an individual uncovers the trick.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Things are done quickly enough if done well. If just quickly done they can be quickly undone.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“The right kind of leisure is better than the wrong kind of work.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Be extraordinary in your excellence, if you like, but be ordinary in your display of it.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Nature and art: The material and the workmanship. There is no beauty unaided, no excellence that does not sink to the barbarous, unless saved by art: It redeems the bad and perfects the good. Because nature commonly forsakes us at her best, take refuge in art. The best in nature is raw without art, and the excellent is lacking if it lacks culture. Without cultivation everyone is a clown and needs polish, fine attributes notwithstanding.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
tags: art, nature
“The most and best of us depend on others; we have to live either among friends or among enemies.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“41 Never exaggerate. It isn’t wise to use superlatives. They offend the truth and cast doubt on your judgment. By exaggerating, you squander your praise and reveal a lack of knowledge and taste. Praise awakens curiosity, which begets desire, and later, when the goods seem overpriced, as often happens, expectation feels cheated and avenges itself by running down the praised and the praiser. The prudent show restraint, and would rather fall short than long. True eminences are rare, so temper your esteem. To overvalue something is a form of lying. It can ruin your reputation for good taste, and—even worse—for wisdom.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Work is the price which is paid for reputation.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
“Audacious persons hope to make themselves eternally famous by setting fire to one of the wonders of the world and of the ages. The art of reproving scandal is to take no notice of it, to combat it damages our own case; even if credited it causes discredit, and is a source of satisfaction to our opponent, for this shadow of a stain dulls the lustre of our fame even if it cannot altogether deaden it.”
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

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