James Geary Captures 'The World in a Phrase'Mark Twain once said, "I never let school interfere with my education." That's just one example of an aphorism from a new collection of the handy sayings gathered and annotated by author James Geary in The World in a Phrase.
In addition to The World in a Phrase, James Geary is the author of the popular science book The Body Electric: An Anatomy of the New Bionic Senses. When Geary isn't writing books, he is the Europe editor for Time magazine.
Mark Twain once said, "I never let school interfere with my education." That's just one example of an aphorism from a new collection of the handy sayings gathered and annotated by author James Geary. Renee Montagne talks to Geary about his book, The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism. The book chronicles many of the form's sharpest and most famous practitioners.
Selected aphorisms featured in The World in a Phrase:
"When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honors are things to be ashamed of." Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.)
"Do not regard as valuable anything that can be taken away." Seneca (circa 4 B.C.E.-65)
"A thought is a thing as real as a cannonball." Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)
"Truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that they are illusions." Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
"Irreverence is the champion of liberty, and its only sure defense." Mark Twain (1835-1910)
"You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot, For the places and people you're lucky you're not." Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)
"Optimists and pessimists differ only on the date of the end of the world."