“Les Caractères/Du mérite personnel” de La Bruyèr

This old edition belonged to my father; more than 15 years now since I’ve read it for the first time. This book contains a treasure trove of timeless and increasingly timely pointers on the necessary art of living up to our social destiny and personal Merit.

I’ve learned that the personal merit is silent and doesn’t need to be reconized…and I’ve learned to not give my time to every superficial acquaintance: it is bestowing what is to you of inestimable worth, upon one who is not likely to be the better for it.

And I’ve learned that the personal merit consists less in the display of one’s own wit and intelligence, than in the power to draw forth the resources of others; he who leaves you after a long conversation, pleased with himself and the part he has taken in the discourse, will be your warmest admirer. Men do not care to admire you, they wish you to be pleased with them; they do not seek for instruction or even amusement from your discourse, but they do wish you to be made acquainted with their talents and powers of conversation; and the true man of genius will delicately make all who come in contact with him feel the exquisite satisfaction of knowing that they have appeared to advantage.This requires great genius and few are gifted with the talent.