Baltasar Gracián y Morales, SJ (January 8, 1601 - December 6, 1658) was a Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher. He was born in Belmonte, near Calatayud (Aragon). His proto-existentialist writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
A man of honor should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.
A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.
A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
All victories breed hate.
Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.
Be master over yourself before you would be master over others.
Beauty and folly are generally companions.
Because the ignorant do not know themselves, they never know for what they are lacking. Some would be sages if they did not believe they were so already.
Better mad with the rest of the world than wise alone.
Better to be cheated by the price than by the merchandise.
Complaints will always discredit you. Rather than compassion and consolation, they provoke passion and insolence, and encourage those who hear our complaints to behave like those we complain about. Once divulged to others, the offenses done to us seem to make others pardonable. Some complain of past offenses and give rise to future ones.
Don't take the wrong side of an argument just because your opponent has taken the right side.
Fortune rarely accompanies anyone to the door.
Honorable beginnings should serve to awaken curiosity, not to heighten people's expectations. We are much better off when reality surpasses our expectations, and something turns out better than we thought it would.
Hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one.
If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.
Knowing how to keep a friend is more important than gaining a new one.
Many owe their greatness to their enemies. Flattery is fiercer than hatred, for hatred corrects the faults flattery had disguised.
Never compete with a man who has nothing to lose.
Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.
Not believing others implies that you yourself are deceitful. The liar suffers twice: he neither believes nor is believed.
Politeness and a sense of honor have this advantage: we bestow them on others without losing a thing.
Readiness is the mother of luck.
Ridicule is the subtlest form of revenge.
Some die because they feel everything, others because they feel nothing. Some are fools because they suffer no regrets, and others because they do.
The beautiful woman should break her mirror early.
The right kind of leisure is better than the wrong kind of work.
There is none who cannot teach somebody something, and there is none so excellent that he cannot be excelled.
Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.
Those who want to look like hard workers give the impression that they aren't up to their jobs.
To overvalue something is a form of lying.
Trust the friends of today as though they will be the enemies of tomorrow.
Virtue alone is for real; all else is sham. Talent and greatness depend on virtue, not on fortune.
When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.
Words are feminine; deeds are masculine.
You should avoid making yourself too clear even in your explanations.