Wonderful! Amazing! Incredible! Why did I not read this book DECADES ago?
I just finished a first reading of Alexander Dumas' great book The Three Musketeers. And as I read the last word on page 700, I was like the early young Harry Potter readers who wished the book could be twice as long! Friendship. Honor. Courage. Intrigue. The Unknown. Strategy. Unsheathe your swords, my friends! All for One and One for All!
In this story of nonstop action and insights into human nature, you'll be astonished at how well political machinations and tactical deceptions are portrayed. As a reader, you'll come away armed in a new way against the devious schemes of others. In fact, toward the end of the book, we find almost a novel within the novel depicting what may be the greatest villain I've ever come across, and this embodiment of evil is a woman with every physical and spiritual advantage apart from goodness. What burns within her soul makes her powerful beyond anyone's expectation. And you come to wonder whether she can ever be defeated.
The greatest wisdom of the book is in the story's many insights about dealing with Machiavellian characters. How do you protect yourself? How do you prevail? First, with friends, partners, confidants you can trust. And second, well, read the book to find out. I think of it as vastly superior to the thin swill too often published nowadays on navigating the difficulties of a sometimes harsh corporate culture.
Throughout the book there are nuggets of insight to spark your own thinking. I'll append a few below. My pagination is from the Barnes and Noble Classics Edition.
Of one thing I must warn you. Be careful in your comments, here, friends, for one untoward word or careless gesture may require the response demanded by the honor of a gentleman. En Guarde!
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Some sample passages:
A weak obstacle is sometimes sufficient to overthrow a great design. (20)
“I was just reflecting on the rapidity with which the blessings of this world leave us.” (337)
“That is rather difficult, but the merit of all things consists in the difficulty.” (338)
“Eh, gentlemen, let us recon upon accidents! Life is a chapelet of little miseries which the philosopher counts with a smile. Be philosophers, as I am, gentlemen; sit down at the table and let us drink.” (526)
“Fortune is a courtesan; favorable yesterday, she may turn her back tomorrow.” (410)
“Time, dear friend, time brings round opportunity; opportunity is the martingale of man. The more we have ventured, the more we gain, when we know how to wait.” (465)
“But then, philosopher that you are,” said D’Artagnan, “instruct me, support me. I stand in need of being taught and consoled.” (325)
“People in general,” he said, “only ask advice not to follow it; or if they do follow it, it is for the sake of having someone to blame for having given it.” (387)
“I am at the age of extravagant hope, monseigneur,” said D’Artagnan. “There are no extravagant hopes but for fools, monsieur, and you are a man of understanding.” (441)
On Too Many Public Speakers
He not only talked much, but he talked loudly, little caring, we must render him that justice, whether anybody listened to him or not. He talked for the pleasure of talking and for the pleasure of hearing himself talk. (91)