Francois de La Rochefoucauld

French writer of moralistic maxims (1613-1680)

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We rarely think people have good sense unless they agree with us.
Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.
Confidence contributes more to conversation than wit.
Few are agreeable in conversation, because each thinks of what he intends to say than of what others are saying, and listens no more when he himself has a chance to speak.
Few things are impracticable in themselves; and it is for want of application, rather than of means, that men fail to succeed.
Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.
He who lives without folly is not so wise as he imagines.
He who lives without folly isn't so wise as he thinks.
How can we accept another to keep our secret if we have been unable to keep it ourselves.
Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue.
If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.
In jealousy there is more of self-love, than of love to another.
It is a great ability to be able to conceal one's ability.
It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.
It is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.
Jealousy feeds upon suspicion, and it turns into fury or it ends as soon as we pass from suspicion to certainty.
Minds of moderate caliber ordinarily condemn everything which is beyond their range.
No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.
Nothing is less sincere than our mode of asking and giving advice. He who asks seems to have a deference for the opinion of his friend, while he only aims to get approval of his own and make his friend responsible for his action. And he who gives advice repays the confidence supposed to be placed in him by a seemingly disinterested zeal, while he seldom means anything by his advice but his own interest or reputation.
Old people like to give good advice, as solace for no longer being able to provide bad examples.
Only the great can afford to have great defects.
Our repentance is not so much regret for the ill we have done as fear of the ill that may happen to us in consequence.
Philosophy triumphs easily over past evils and future evils; but present evils triumph over it.
Preserving health by too severe a rule is a worrisome malady.
Pride does not wish to owe and vanity does not wish to pay.
Small minds are much distressed by little things. Great minds see them all but are not upset by them.
The accent of one's birthplace remains in the mind and in the heart as in one's speech.
The confidence which we have in ourselves gives birth to much of that which we have in others.
The defects of the understanding, like those of the face, grow worse as we grow old.
The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.
The happiness or unhappiness of men depends as much on their humors as on fortune.
The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it.
The pleasure of love is in loving.
The truest mark of being born with great qualities, is being born without envy.
Those who occupy their minds with small matters, generally become incapable of greatness.
To be deceived by our enemies or betrayed by our friends in insupportable; yet by ourselves we are often content to be so treated.
To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.
To establish oneself in the world, one has to do all one can to appear established.
To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.
Vanity makes us do more things against inclination than reason.
We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others.
We always like those who admire us we do not always like those whom we admire.
We always like those who admire us; we do not always like those whom we admire.
We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.
We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones.
We often do good in order that we may do evil with impunity.
We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.
We should manage our fortunes as we do our health - enjoy it when good, be patient when it is bad, and never apply violent remedies except in an extreme necessity.
We should often be ashamed of our finest actions if the world understood our motives.
We think very few people sensible, except those who are of our opinion.
We would frequently be ashamed of our good deeds if people saw all of the motives that produced them.
What seems to be generosity is often no more than disguised ambition, which overlooks a small interest in order to secure a great one.
When our hatred is violent, it sinks us even beneath those we hate.
When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.
When we are unable to find tranquillity within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.
Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person
Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?

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