D : Five Hundred Maxims, Aphorisms, and Reflections

My latest book is a collection of original aphorisms, 500 in number, in the spirit of the great French aphorist La Rochefoucauld.

The book consists mainly of the 500 aphorisms, but also includes a brisk but bracing survey of the aphoristic tradition, covering La Rochefoucauld, Vauvenargues, La Bruyère, Chamfort, Joubert, Lichtenberg, Goethe, Nietzsche, Karl Kraus, Cioran, Don Colacho, and Ambrose Bierce.

Priced to move at US$12.95 / £9.99, D is now available on Amazon in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, India, Italy, and Japan.

Below is a selection of 15 from the 500.


The summit of style is to kill with a word.


Flattery is the only reliable tyrannicide.


In health, the body obeys the will; in sickness, the will obeys the body.


Without law, power cannot sleep.


Under a tyrant at least no one believes the newspapers.


The unhappy see themselves through the eyes of the bad, the happy through the eyes of the good.


Optimists go to war; pessimists make and keep the peace.


To speak for one’s nation is to fancy oneself a king.


To love others, we must first understand how they resemble us, because we have no other measure of esteem.


Good poetry says half of what it means; bad poetry means half of what it says.


Without moderation, self-denial is self-indulgence.


God’s punishment of human folly is not to send a plague.


The notion of art for the sake of art is too close to the notion of life for the sake of life.


Historians are hopelessly prejudiced in favour of historical significance.


We enjoy talking about ourselves chiefly because it requires no effort.