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The Oxford Book of Aphorisms

394 pages, 2003

arts & entertainment

arts & entertainment

401 books

An aphorism is a short, pithy statement or maxim, but beneath this definition lies a wealth of wit and insight to which neither the word nor a brief description can do justice. 

This anthology demonstrates just how rewarding an art from the aphorism can be, and just how brilliantly the aphorism can illuminate the hidden truth, or lay bare the ironies of existence. Specific sections on desires and longings, self-doubt, fame and reputations, and happiness and sorrow, cover the whole range of aphoristic literature. 

This book brings together the most diverse figures-the classic aphorisms, like La Rochefoucauld; the philosophers, from the Greeks to Samuel Johnson to Virginia Woolf-as well as statesmen, scientists, boulevardiers, Olympians, and gadflies. John Gross draws on their wisdom and wit to produce an anthology that will be referred to time and time again. 

The Power of Brevity

John Gross has masterfully curated a collection of aphorisms that demonstrate the power of brevity. He shows us that a single, well-crafted sentence can convey a profound thought or idea. This book encourages us to appreciate the beauty of concise language and to apply it in our own communication.

Insights into Human Nature

The Oxford Book of Aphorisms is not just a collection of witty sayings, it's a deep exploration into human nature. Gross has selected aphorisms that make us reflect on our behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. It's a great book to pick up if you're looking to understand more about yourself and the people around you.

A Journey through Time and Cultures

This book takes you on a journey through different eras and cultures. Gross has included aphorisms from a wide range of sources, from ancient philosophers to modern writers. It's a fascinating look into how wisdom is expressed across time and cultures.

Inspiration for Writers

If you're a writer looking for inspiration, you should definitely check out The Oxford Book of Aphorisms. The book is a treasure trove of beautifully crafted sentences that can spark your creativity. Plus, it's a great resource for learning how to express complex ideas in a concise way.

A Book for Reflection

One of the best things about this book is that it invites reflection. Each aphorism is a nugget of wisdom that you can ponder on. It's the kind of book that you can pick up anytime, read a few pages, and gain some insights. It's a great addition to anyone's bookshelf who enjoys thought-provoking literature.


authorB.J. Novak

B.J. Novak


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