Aphorist's Corner Weekly

by Igor D. Radovic


Aphorisms, like epigrams, apothegms, maxims, axioms, proverbs, sayings, adages, bon mots and many other familiar quotations are examples of meaning and clarity enhanced by brevity. But, sadly, concise and to the point are waging a losing battle in our modern age of verbal overkill and ubiquitous, round-the-clock media babble. All the same, aphorisms and related forms, on a par with poetry, are without peer in their capacity to cut, in a sentence or two, and sometimes in most unexpected ways, to the heart of a subject that learned volumes often leave only more confusing and obscure. Eclectic, long on substance, experience and common sense, and short on empty verbiage, they are also thought provoking, easily remembered, and within the reach of any audience. Yet, for all that, aphorisms remain a comparatively and undeservedly neglected literary genre. Aphorist's Corner Weekly pays a modest tribute to it by reminding us that whatever is worth saying can usually be said better, and to better effect, with fewer rather than with more words.

As its name indicates, Aphorist's Corner Weekly (http://home.earthlink.net/~iradovic/aphorist.htm) is regularly updated. New text - this author's own attempts at aphorisms and brief personal comments on a broad variety of topics of general interest - is added every week as old text is simultaneously removed, for a rolling total of ten weeks. The views expressed in these observations are largely a matter of opinion and, admittedly, occasionally resort to overstatements and understatements to make a point, and they may sometimes err on the side of both the obvious and the ambiguous. But, more importantly, they also reflect, to the extent possible, a deliberate and sustained effort to avoid preconceived ideas and generalizations, so that they may lead to conclusions rather than be preceded and influenced by them, even if at some risk of ignoring experience, of too easily giving in to first and superficial impressions, and of courting contradictions. Whether this risk was worth taking the readers will judge by themselves.


Observations, copyright ©1968, by Igor D. Radovic

The Radovic Rule, or How to Manage the Boss, copyright © 1973, by Igor Radovic

The Aphorist's Corner, copyright ©1997, by Igor D. Radovic

Autumn Leaves, copyright © 2000, by Igor D. Radovic

Thoughts & Afterthoughts, copyright © 2003, by Igor D. Radovic

Random Remarks, copyright © 2004, by Igor D. Radovic

Fragments & Shards, copyright © 2006 by Igor D. Radovic

Notes From a Long Journey Home, copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic

Reflections at Sunset, copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic

Dyspeptic Definitions,
copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic (Amazon paperback and ebook)


Collaboration will sometimes test people more than conflict does.

On occasion, things difficult to do on one’s own are impossible to achieve in collaboration.

Cooperation and collaboration must be nurtured. Conflict feeds on itself.

Employment imposes responsibilities and, on occasion, even complicity.

The price of efficiency is often leaving something not done.

It is possible to be efficient even when one does not know what one is doing.

Bad management is the downfall of many a good idea, and good management the reason for the success of some bad ones.

We manage many things, but we are managed even more.

Man developed technology to serve him, only to have it in large measure control him.

There is always something to be done, but the lazy would rather be bored than do it.

A sloth is at a comparative advantage when there is nothing to do.

The unemployed are a drain on the economy. They also have more time for making trouble.

Retirement offers new freedoms. And frailty and disability take them away.

In retirement, it is not filling time, but filling it with an objective in mind that is often difficult.

By the time they retire, many working people have forgotten how to enjoy idle time, and have neither the time nor the capacity to learn to enjoy it again.

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761- PLAY & REST

Pain and suffering of others, not humor and games, are often the preferred sources of human amusement and entertainment, and the Colosseum is just one shameful reminder of it.

Entertainment unrelieved by work yields boredom, and no rest.

Would-be wits may or may not entertain the audience, but they always entertain themselves.

Many pastimes, considered entertainment, are as likely to be escapes.

Not relieved by different, interesting soon turns into boring.

It is what is hidden rather than what is advertised that people find more interesting.

Those easily bored are apt to be boring as well.

However deserving of respect it may be, it is very difficult to show sustained respect for what is boring.

In large measure, a vacation is a rest because it is also an escape.

People will travel in search of knowledge, but idle curiosity is the prevalent motive for it.

Travel is often less a search for the new than a diversion from the familiar.

Even if the destination is the same the journey seldom is.

Useful ages better than interesting.

To be always interesting means to talk about or do what is interesting not only to others but to oneself as well.

Interesting is safer to visit than to make home.

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Much of the joy of youth is the joy of innocence and ignorance, and it cannot be recaptured when youth is gone.

Though many wounds do heal in time, youth has the advantage of having no scars as yet.

As a prescription for a positive adulthood, nothing matches a happy childhood.

The parents’ concern is the teenagers’ meddling.

Youth without a care is remembered more than factual.

Foolish as it may be, the defiance of the young is also a declaration and assertion of their independence.

The young greet what they don’t know; the old bid good-bye to what they know.

Sadly, to be precocious often means to be robbed of one’s childhood and to learn early to distrust others.

Immaturity does not mind surprises. Maturity prefers predictability.

For the young, old age is a future they at best dimly perceive; for the old, youth is a past that is fading away. And neither has a clear understanding of the other.

By and large, the memories of our youth improve with time.

Rejuvenation has been pursued in many ways, but has never been found by trying to recapture the past.

Many of the things youth cannot resist middle and old age can no longer do.

Neglected as children, many adults spend a lifetime in search of self-esteem.

To mature early and to mature well is only a coincidence.

A mature man is not more intelligent, but only more experienced and wise.

Though what is meant may be the same, the aged would rather be described as mature rather than old.

Reluctant to leave youth behind, middle age is loath to join old age ahead.

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Week 763 - OLD AGE & YOUTH

In comparison with youth, age has an advantage in what it knows, and is at a disadvantage in what it can.

Youth has more hopes; old age, more regrets.

As a rule, old age has more advice to offer than examples to provide.

There is much to learn in old age as well, but much of it is overlooked by remembering the past.

Though it may sound critical of youth, old age is often only envious of it.

In no one do the body and the mind age at the same pace.

Old age has its infirmities and limitations, but also some freedoms not given to youth.

Old people are apt to be suspicious, partly because of incomprehension, and partly because of experience.

There is often no more wisdom in old age, only less capacity and less room for foolishness.

The young make New Year’s resolutions. The old keep their fingers crossed.

The old sometimes live in the past in an attempt to reject the present and ward off the future.

The older we get, the darker the future gets as it approaches, and the brighter the past seems as it recedes.

In old age marriage is a source of less passion, but of more reassurance.

Some shoes may not fit at any age but, in old age, few of them do.

There is a sunrise and a sunset every day, and the young greet the first while the old take leave of the second.

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Week 764 - TRUTH

By far, much more time and effort is spent proving oneself right and others wrong than in finding the truth.

Truth is subject to embellishments, but only at the risk of being replaced by lies.

Truth and knowledge are sources of no less misery than joy.

For him who seeks the truth, recognition is a bonus. And for him who seeks recognition, the truth is but a means.

The truth found rarely coincides with the truth pursued.

The more truth, the less to take on faith.

Man needs truth. And, no less, protection from it.

When soft-spoken and amiable, truth and strength are readily suspected of being lies and weakness.

He who expects others to be kindly to him should not ask them to tell him the truth.

Not safe, seeking the truth is still safer than preaching it.

Like salt and spices, truth improves taste only if used sparingly.

Some truths are constant, some are subject to change.

Whether the truth is a compliment or an insult depends on occasion only on how it is dressed.

Truth can be both beautiful and ugly, and the more it is difficult to accept, the more it is often valuable.

How the truth fares depends not only on how palatable or desirable it is, but also on who voices it, and how.

Those who are silent are not trusted, but those who tell the truth are often prosecuted.

Truth be told, lies are sometimes used for purposes more honorable than truth is.

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Week 765 - TRUTH, cont.d

To say the least, it is surprising how many obvious truths are ignored or overlooked, and how often it is necessary to bring attention to them, even at

the risk of being accused of platitudes.

On balance, truth is less difficult to live with than doubts: One can resign oneself to the first, but not to the second.

There is value in truth, but only possible profit in lies.

Man gags on few remedies as easily as on the truth.

We may insist on the truth. And it as often punishes us as it rewards us for it.

Truth is valued as an end in itself, but, like lies, is far more in demand as a means.

Truth is discovered; lies are created.

To remain a truth, many a truth must adapt.

Borrowing from the truth does not make truth out of a lie, but borrowing from lies turns any truth into a lie.

A simple truth simply stated is easily overlooked.

Rubbing shoulders with one another still does not make truth out of lies, but makes a lie out of many a truth.

Though highly effective as punishment, truth is a wrong instrument for it.

To say the least, it is surprising how many obvious truths are ignored or overlooked, and how often it is necessary to bring attention to them, even at the risk of being accused of platitudes.

Ascertaining the truth is often futile. Letting in the light never is.

Finding a truth is a possibility; finding the truth, a fantasy.

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Week 766 - LIES

Even when rejected, lies leave a residue of doubt.

It is not the lies that we believe in, but those that we lack the courage to reject that do most harm.

The truth has no escape clause, but many lies do.

Lies find many more uses for truth than truth finds uses for lies.

Lies have many choices; truth has none.

Truth requires proof; slander and rumors only an open mind.

News can be censored, rumors cannot.

Lies often require imagination, but grasping the truth sometimes requires even more of it.

The more appealing a lie, the less proof it requires. And the less truth is palatable, the more proof it needs.

The more it is repeated, the more credible a lie becomes. The opposite is often true of the truth.

Truth is the source of no less conflict than lies are.

Gossip and rumors may be roundly dismissed, but they can count on an attentive hearing first.

In polite society, a liar is often only mistaken.

Many a truth is told to hurt, and many a lie to soothe.

At times, exaggeration is a cry for attention, not an attempt at deception.

Truth wrapped in silence is often but a lie.

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Week 767 - SUCCESS

People succeed not because others believe in them, but because they believe in themselves.

The road to success is not paved with doubts.

Success comes both with and without sacrifices, but endures only with them.

Much too often, success is measured by applause and profit, not by achievement.

Success, no less than failure, is difficult to manage and control. And the greater it is, the more so.

There is always a price to success, sometimes paid for by less happiness.

Few are embarrassed by success they do not deserve.

For vanity and ambition, success without recognition is wanting.

Many a success is owed to obsession.

People like to encourage others to work long and hard for success. But they prefer to attribute their own to intelligence and talent.

He who succeeds is seldom the only one who pays the price of his success.

Success by accident is apt to be soon claimed as success by design.

Success depends on consequences; truth does not.

Many a success is owed not to its quality and merit, but to the absence of something better.

Success seldom needs rationalization, but means used to succeed often do.

Though seldom suspected or accused of it, success can keep one in a rut more than failure does.

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Week 768 --------     - SUCCESS SUCCESS - cont.d


Not to be discouraged or intimidated by failure is the principal ingredient of success.

On balance, success is more often accepted and acknowledged than it is applauded.

When applause is the only payoff it is a high price to pay for success.

Rare is a successful life that has been free of drudgery, routine, and the trivial.

Unless success is shared, its enthusiasm is seldom contagious.

Though on occasion granted by luck overnight, success generally must be earned one day at a time.

When objectives achieved are examined in the light of means used, there is much less success than may at first appear.

Success can be glamorous; succeeding seldom is.

There is a price to be paid for both success and failure.

Success forgets more than failure does.

Sometimes we are doing better than others; sometimes others are doing worse. And both are found to be sufficient reasons to claim success or victory.

Success opens many doors, but closes some as well.

Some things are achieved by daring, but many more by trying and persevering.

He makes a poor bargain who makes recognition the goal and achievement the means.

What is achieved is important, but how it is achieved is sometimes more so.

Depending on their abilities, the same achievement will make over-achievers of some, and under-achievers of others.

However remarkable, records that are broken are soon forgotten.

It takes effort, time, and talent to make the team, but it also takes something more ill-defined, like personality, and even a little magic if you will, to be the star.

A trophy on the wall may not impress a guest, but always impresses the host.

The glory is in discovery and invention, but the profit is in marketing them.

One should not expect consideration and loyalty from those in blind pursuit of glory and fame.

For many, glory is in being center-stage, not in achievement.

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Week 769 - FAILURE
Week 768

No successes are permanent, but failures often are.

Though unsuspected, not a few successes are failures in disguise, but failures are mostly what they appear to be.

Failure makes accomplices out of many collaborators.

There is nothing to be gained by admitting failure when it means accepting defeat.

Some failures one learns from; some are best forgotten.

One is more readily condemned by one’s flaws and failures than judged by one’s qualities and successes.

Compared, success is short, and failure is long.

Success has better memories, but failure has a better memory.

Success has many relatives, but failure makes orphans.

We can only be what we are, but we fail to be much of what we could be.

An occasional failure gives success a better perspective.

Success seeks attention and recognition; failure often attracts them.

It is one thing to have tried and failed, and quite another to have failed without trying.

Failure means fewer choices and possibilities; success means the opposite.

Success throws light on the road ahead; failure is a shadow that follows.

The best thing one can learn from failure is not to be discouraged by it.

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Biographical Note

Igor Radovic was born in former Yugoslavia and received his early education in France and Yugoslavia. He spent World War II under Nazi occupation, followed by several years under the Titoist communist regime in Yugoslavia, where he studied Law and Civil Engineering. He escaped from behind the Iron Curtain in 1951, and worked in Western Europe and South Africa before coming to the United States and completing doctoral studies in Industrial Engineering and Management at Columbia University in New York City. In 1965 he joined the United Nations and served in a number of capacities relating in the main to economic development and cooperation and involving a variety of regions and assignments. During this period he also taught at Columbia a graduate course on problems of industrialization in less developed countries. He retired from the U.N. as Director of the Department for Special Political Questions, Regional Cooperation, Decolonization and Trusteeship. Dr. Radovic resides on the West Coast, and divides his time between the U.S., Canada and, occasionally, Australia. He is currently working on a new manuscript.