Aristotle on Greatness

…even in adversity goodness shines through, when someone endures repeated and severe misfortune with patience; this is not owing to insensibility but from generosity and greatness of soul.

~ Aristotle

Charles Handy on Aristotle

After we abandon the croquet lawn for the comfort of the armchairs in Handy’s study next door (for the record, I was ahead but have no doubt that, in his prime, Handy would have trounced me), he reminds me of the central peg in his reading of the game of life: Aristotle’s concept of eudaemonia — happiness or, perhaps more accurately, fulfilment.

Handy glosses this as “do the best at what you are best at”. Making money is “a necessary and not a sufficient condition” for such a fulfilled existence, he says. He points to a beautiful bentwood chair in the study. It took three months to make.

Collecting the piece, Handy remarked to its creator that it was “a difficult way to make money”. “That’s not the point,” the craftsman responded. “It’s a difficult way to make a perfect chair.”

~ Charles Handy interviewed by Andrew Hill / FT, September 13, 2019

Aristotle on Suffering

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”

~ Aristotle

Aristotle on Desires

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.”

~ Aristotle

Aristotle on Excellence

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

~ Aristotle

Aristotle on Work

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

~ Aristotle

Aristotle on Writing

“In general, what is written must be easy to read and easy to speak; which is the same.”

~ Aristotle

Aristotle on Wisdom

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”

~ Aristotle