The one sentence summary

Classical wisdom can teach us a lot about modern life and work.


  • This book contains daily wisdom from the Greeks and Romans to get you through your working day. There is a piece of advice for every day of the year from the best classical sources, brought up to date in a modern context, covering communicating, competitors, consumer insights, disputes, HR, innovation, leadership, personal development, presentations, project management, sales, strategy, time management, and more. Here is a selection:
  • Don’t try and find difficulties that aren’t there. Plautus.
  • We need not prolong this meeting any further. There’s proper work to be done. Homer.
  • I’m afraid I’ve expressed it badly; let me try to make my calculations clearer. Pliny the Younger.
  • It’s a clever man who can condense down many words into a brief space. And do it well. Euripides.
  • Fake news and events are created by rumour-mongering. Theophrastus.
  • The pleasure is in the work itself. Manlius.
  • Stop doing those jobs that get you running round in circles. Seneca.
  • A message sent, flies off. Irrevocably. Horace.
  • We don’t see the baggage we’re carrying on our own backs. Catullus.
  • Think before you speak. Chilon.
  • Note to self: everything is an assumption. Marcus Aurelius.
  • When in doubt, don’t do it. Pliny The Younger.
  • Some people are as oblivious to what they’re doing when they’re awake as they are when they are fast asleep. Heraclitus.
  • If you’re going to do it, then do it! Plautus.
  • It’s better to finish one small assignment first than to do many imperfectly. Socrates.
  • Be nice to foreigners. You may be one yourself one day. Menander.
  • A lion in charge of an army of deer is more to be feared than a deer in charge of an army of lions. Chabrias.
  • It’s no good expecting gratitude from anyone for anything. Catullus.
  • Everything unknown is automatically assumed to be magnificent. Tacitus.
  • One shouldn’t speak in a way that the audience can understand us, but in a way that is impossible for them to misunderstand us. Quintilian.
  • While it’s ‘on hold’, life is speeding by. Seneca.
  • An arrow doesn’t always hit its target. Horace.
  • Once you’ve begun, you’ve half the job done. Horace.
  • A lobster will give birth to an elephant before that happens. Naevius.
  • Thinking through the most useful thing you can do is the safest form of delay. Pubilius Syrus.
  • It’s hard to find good people. Juvenal.
  • Many people can come up with a strategy, but it takes experience to deliver it. Pubilius Syrus.
  • Enough of this combative and shrill discussion. Perhaps we might now enter into discussion and reach a compromise? Aristophanes.
  • No intelligent person – and there’s been a great deal written about this – has ever said that changing your plan demonstrated inconsistency. Cicero.
  • Oh the stresses of life. There is so much nonsense going on! Lucilius.


  • Advertising is a Latin word, advertere, meaning turn towards.
  • Profit comes from the Latin profectus, which means progress or success.
  • Strategy comes from the Greek meaning a leader or general.
  • Margin is from margo, meaning an edge or border.
  • Vision without action is hallucination.


  • Not much. There is stacks of wisdom here.