Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the early French long-distance pilot and author, is most famously known for his enduring classic, The Little Prince. But he wrote many other books, mostly drawn from his flight experiences in Africa, South America, and during World War II, when he ultimately died during a reconnaissance flight.
The Little Prince is famous for its sage and gentle advice. Though usually heralded as a children’s book, both it and his other writings contain many wise thoughts worth pondering by adults. Some of these are collected in a small volume of just over 80 pages, titled A Guide for Grown-ups. It contains thoughtful and pithy sayings grouped thematically in six categories: Happiness, Friendship, Love, Responsibility, Fortitude, and What Is Essential.
Here are several of his sayings that I find particularly meaningful.
“If I summon up those memories that have left me with an enduring savor, if I draw up the balance sheet of the hours in my life that have truly counted, surely I find only those that no wealth could have procured me.”
“It is much harder to judge yourself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself, it’s because you are truly a wise man.”
“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
“A civilization is built on what is required of men, not on that which is provided for them.”
“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”
This slim and inexpensive book contains much that is worth reflection.