Charles Handy on Aristotle

After we abandon the croquet lawn for the comfort of the armchairs in Handy’s study next door (for the record, I was ahead but have no doubt that, in his prime, Handy would have trounced me), he reminds me of the central peg in his reading of the game of life: Aristotle’s concept of eudaemonia — happiness or, perhaps more accurately, fulfilment.

Handy glosses this as “do the best at what you are best at”. Making money is “a necessary and not a sufficient condition” for such a fulfilled existence, he says. He points to a beautiful bentwood chair in the study. It took three months to make.

Collecting the piece, Handy remarked to its creator that it was “a difficult way to make money”. “That’s not the point,” the craftsman responded. “It’s a difficult way to make a perfect chair.”

~ Charles Handy interviewed by Andrew Hill / FT, September 13, 2019

Pico Iyer on Luck

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

Luck is more important than either. Talent is indispensable — and the discipline to make use of it. Ambition seems to me counter-productive — winning the battle to lose the war.

~ Pico Iyer / Financial Times, 06 September, 2019


Karine Polwart on Success

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

Ambition without purpose is empty. Talent without focus is often squandered. A lot of what matters is turning up, being persistent and taking opportunities. And believing you’re entitled to try.

~ Karine Polwart / Financial Times, August 16th 2019

David Hume on Virtue

Heaven and hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad. But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.

~ David Hume