La Rochefoucauld's Maxims

I recently published a new translation of the Reflections, or Moral Opinions and Maxims of the Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680).

The Reflections, or Moral Opinions & Maxims of La Rochefoucauld are one of the great hoards of wisdom in world literature. Witty, rueful, scathing, and (above all) unflinching in his search for the motives of human conduct, the Duke put everything he knew about the ways of the world into this book. The need for love, the fear of death, the lure of glory, and the inescapable power of self-regard are his favourite subjects.

At 658 pages, it's a great deal for just US$ 22.95, and 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 12 from the La Rochefoucauld's perennially fascinating work.


It is easy to forget our faults, so long as we are the only ones who know about them.


Perfect valour consists of performing a feat without witnesses that could have been performed in front of everyone.


There are many cures for love, but none are guaranteed.


No fool is more annoying than the one with brains.


No disguise can long hide love where it exists, nor simulate it where it does not.


The desire to seem clever often prevents a man from becoming clever.


Our envy always outlasts the happiness of those we envy.


It is not as dangerous to harm most men as it is to do them too much good.


Excessive zeal to repay a debt is a kind of ingratitude.


There are stupidities that catch on like contagious diseases.


The sign of exceptional merit is that those who envy it the most are obliged to praise it.


It is a form of flirting to call attention to the fact that you never flirt.