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Welcome to Balthasar Gracian's "The Art of Worldly Wisdom" mailing list and website. In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest, wrote 300 aphorisms on living life effectively called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." The book stays relevent to modern day society and has been used such as Machiavelli's "The Prince" or Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" as a guidebook for everything from business to sports.

This website is updated daily with a new aphorism that is also sent out via email and RSS to our subscribers. For further reading consider this Balthasar Gracian biography or this searchable version of "The Art of Worldly Wisdom".

Aphorism #26
Find out each Man's Thumbscrew.

íTis the art of setting their wills in action. It needs more skill than resolution. You must know where to get at any one. Every volition has a special motive which varies according to taste. All men are idolaters, some of fame, others of self-interest, most of pleasure. Skill consists in knowing these idols in order to bring them into play. Knowing any man's mainspringof motive you have as it were the key to his will. Have resort to primary motors, which are not always the highest but more often the lowest part of his nature: there are more dispositions badly organised than well. First guess a man's ruling passion, appeal to it by a word, set it in motion by temptation, and you will infallibly give checkmate to his freedom of will.

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