Where can I find the secret of success in life from famous dead people?
March 14, 2010 6:18 PM   Subscribe

I want to know if there are any other famous history figures who give out secret of success similar to Ieyasu Precept?

I recently found this precept on secret of success in life from
Tokugawa Ieyasu

Life is like walking along a long road shouldering a heavy load; there is no need to hurry.
One who treats difficulties as the normal state of affairs will never be discontented.
Patience is the source of eternal peace; treat anger as an enemy.
Harm will befall one who knows only success and has never experienced failure.
Blame yourself rather than others.
It is better not to reach than to go too far.
— 1604

Do you know of any other famous historical figures who give out similar "secrets" to explain their success?
posted by Carius to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi

I've read it and I didn't think it was very profound, but it is historically important because it strongly inflluenced the way the Bushido was perceived in the latter part of the Shogunate. And perhaps it was more radical in its time than it seems now.

For instance, he spends a lot of time trying to explain why the samurai should go out and work with artisans (from a lower caste) and try to understand what they do. In particular he talks about his time working with and observing carpenters, and what he learned from them.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:15 PM on March 14, 2010

Memoirs of Napoleon
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:19 PM on March 14, 2010

Benjamin Franklin
posted by MsMolly at 7:57 PM on March 14, 2010

I would have suggested Caesar's Commentaries, except that it's a history rather than the kind of philosophy thing you're talking about. And it's not clear how much of it, if any, was really written by Caesar.

The translator notes on the version I read said that each of the three sections had a different writing style which probably meant they were all different authors. That translator conjectured that the first one really was Caesar, but admitted that there was no way to prove it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:03 PM on March 14, 2010

Marcus Aurelius' Meditations.
posted by darkstar at 9:31 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

MsMolly thanks!
I completely forgot about Franklin's Thirteen Virtues:

1. "TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
2. "SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
3. "ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
4. "RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
5. "FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
6. "INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
7. "SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
8. "JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
9. "MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
10. "CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
11. "TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
12. "CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation."
13. "HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."

Chocolate Pickle
It really doesn't matter if Caesar's Commentaries was just history instead of concise lists philosophy to follow. The main thing is does the Commentaries explain why Caesar was successful in conquering Gaul? Is there anything about his achievement we can learn from?
posted by Carius at 8:50 PM on March 15, 2010

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