Bill’s Blog

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Discovering Aphorisms

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After slogging through Wikinomics, I decided to treat myself to some lighter reading.  I started with “Lafcadio: The Lion who Shot Back” by Shel Silverstein.  It was a birthday present from my parents.  They probably knew the time would come when I’d seek it’s light hearted nature after a laborious journey through another opus.  In any event, it was a perfect fit.  It made me laugh.

Tonight I looked at my bookshelves and pondered which book to pick up next.  Rather than “Blue Ocean Strategy” I found myself picking up “The World in a Phrase” by James Geary.  It’s a brief history of the aphorism.  In case you aren’t familiar with aphorisms, I’ll give you the quick definition.

  • They are brief
  • They are definitive
  • They are personal
  • They have a twist
  • They are philosophical

Some examples of aphorisms are:

  • Knowledge may have its purposes,  but guessing is always more fun than knowing
  • There are certain mistakes we enjoy so much we are always willing to repeat them
  • The difference between a rut and a grave is the depth
  • Love decreases when it ceases to increase
  • One can only become a philosopher, not be one.  As soon as one thinks one is a philosopher, one stops becoming one.

I first heard about aphorisms on an NPR podcast several months back.  For some reason the idea stuck with me.  I ordered the book that was being discussed on the podcast and the rest is history.  I’ve just finished the first chapter, but hope to read several more before bed tonight.

If you’re familiar with the aphorism, or if the quick definition was enough, leave one here for me.

Written by bill

November 5th, 2007 at 10:12 pm

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