From their first publication, Chesterfield’s letters were considered scandalous. Samuel Johnson said they taught the "morals of a whore, and the manners of a dancing-master." In... More > reality, Chesterfield advocated a strict morality that condemned lying, rudeness, cheating, corruption, vanity, idleness, ridiculing others, and vulgarity. In their place, he recommended good manners, respect for the beliefs and opinions of others, propriety, generosity, charity, eloquence, grace, amiability, good humor, self-control, common sense, and the Golden Rule to woo others, win their hearts, and advance one’s own agenda.
The purpose of this book is to encapsulate Chesterfield’s teachings in presentations accessible and easily understood by today's readers. Advice on similar topics is extracted from several letters, brought together, given headings, and arranged where possible in point-by-point format.< Less
Pragmatic rationalism is a coherent blend of elements from Epicureanism, Stoicism, Empiricism, and Existentialism. It holds that the ultimate goal of life is happiness—individual happiness... More > identified as psychic tranquility or untroubledness—and attempts to pursue that goal in the most practical, efficacious manner possible. Accordingly, it emphasizes investing this pursuit in the only things we each control, our thoughts and feelings, and minimizing desire for and reliance on all things external to us and therefore not under our control, such as wealth and fame. It insists that individuals choose, and therefore are responsible for, all they think and feel. It rejects all emotionalism and belief systems and, instead, relies on induction and probability to guide decision making and behavior.
Though an egoistic and hedonistic philosophy from the individual’s perspective, it nevertheless advocates the Golden Rule as the most useful guiding principle in interaction with others.< Less
Commentary of various lengths on a variety of topics including religion, social practices, language, having babies, keeping pets, suicide, education, art, and philosophy--most of which is irreverent... More > or iconoclastic yet instructive.< Less