Aphorisms - James Geary Books
October 2, 2007 9:28 PM   Subscribe

Aphorisms: "A minimum of sound to a maximum of sense." [ram] Journalist, gnomologist and author James Geary has just released Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists [Amazon. recent NPR interview here]. It draws from such aphorists as Shakespeare, Voltaire, Emerson, Shaw, Mae West, Woody Allen and Steven Wright. Also discussed is chiasmus, the Jefferson Bible and some meta. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in your reading have been like the blast of triumph..."

... or as Michel de Montaigne put it, "I quote others only in order the better to express myself."
posted by McLir (16 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I see why Michel said that.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:21 PM on October 2, 2007

posted by Poolio at 10:28 PM on October 2, 2007

Also from Emerson: "Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say 'I think,' 'I am,' but quotes some saint or sage".
posted by one_bean at 10:33 PM on October 2, 2007

Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.

Ambrose Bierce - possibly one of the wryest aphorists ever.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:34 PM on October 2, 2007

PRESENT, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope. - Bierce
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:38 PM on October 2, 2007 [4 favorites]

War is God's way of teaching Americans geography - again. That was around a hundred years ago. Plus ca change...
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:39 PM on October 2, 2007

Demotivators : "If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon."
posted by McLir at 11:43 PM on October 2, 2007

I once started a MetaChat thread on Proverbs for the New Millennium, e.g.:
• A fool and his money are soon spammed.
• A penny saved is not subject to Swedish rounding.
It didn't go nowhere.
posted by rob511 at 12:19 AM on October 3, 2007

Aphorism!? I hardly know her!
posted by gwint at 4:05 AM on October 3, 2007

As a kid, I was fond of Ashleigh Brilliant's aphorisms. They don't seem so hot now, though...
posted by Coventry at 4:44 AM on October 3, 2007

I'd like some champagne for my real friends and some real pain for my sham friends.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:53 AM on October 3, 2007

Nietzsche: "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."
posted by McLir at 6:09 AM on October 3, 2007

I so want to agree with that.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:02 AM on October 3, 2007

this is awesome, but if you're going to provide a guide to the great aphorists, it's a bad idea to basically compile the entire Steven Wright album I Have a Pony. That's less of a guide and more of a Collected Works.
posted by shmegegge at 9:11 AM on October 3, 2007

I started writing my own aphorisms a few years ago [self-post, duh]. Note: includes mildly NSFW pix.

And of course, no discussion of aphorisms would be complete without mention of my inspiration, Eric Hoffer.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:29 PM on October 3, 2007

A ram file? wow, it's like 1996.
posted by blacklite at 7:22 PM on October 3, 2007

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