Book reviews

Richard K. Borden’s Sage Advice: The Lives and Maxims of Some of History’s Wisest People (Archangel Ink, 2020)

A remarkable collection, sure to anger cancel culture zealots but be applauded by the rest of us.

At first, I wondered why this book was necessary at all.  I mean, if any student or reader wanted to look up a phrase, a maxim, or a quote, then he or she would just use DuckDuckGo and search the internet.

Then I realized just how valuable Borden’s collection of maxims is.  In 2021, when cancel culture zealots want to destroy seemingly everything that made human culture (and Western culture especially) great, I think it is imperative that we resist those who would destroy our history by reading, learning, studying, and remembering some of the worthy quotes which inform our millennia-old human civilization.

In short, Borden’s compilation will assist all of us to appreciate the good, the true, and the beautiful as expressed by some of humanity’s most forceful people.

Borden’s introductory material clarifies the definition of “maxim” so that readers will understand why this genre of writing is the focus of the book instead of, for example, correspondence or literary works from the people he studied.  Moreover, Borden justifies admirably why he selected only eighteen of the billions of human beings who have dwelt on the planet.

The book also benefits from providing extensive biographical information for each of the eighteen sources whom he consulted.  Best of all for faculty, students, and ordinary readers, Borden provides footnote citations where warranted.  I can hear students around the globe thanking him for helping them to write masterful research papers!

The 241 pages are mellifluously written and would take about two days for a standard reading, four or more days if one concentrated and studied the quotes provided.  Either way, Borden’s book is exemplary and worth anyone’s time and effort.

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