I listened to the Tim Ferriss interview of Matt Mullenweg on my way up and back to Detroit last week. I wasn’t a big 4 hour work week fan when it first came out, but I have to say his podcast has convinced me to add it to my Amazon wish list (it’s currently 838 out of 852 books…). This interview was particularly good with lots of juicy tidbits about what makes the BDFL (benevolent dictator for life) of WordPress (I thought the spelling of that was supposed to auto correct?) effective and purpose driven.
I found it fascinating that one of the first books MM mentioned was Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War. This one has been on my to read list for little bit longer than 4HWW, so when I saw a copy in Half Price Books last night, I couldn’t help myself (as is often the case when I see books on my to read list in HPB).
I’m only 50 pages in so far, but already, there is gold, just in a quote selected by the publishers in the intro:
To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action. Fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of a real man, and to plot against an enemy behind his back was perfectly legitimate self-defence . . . and indeed most people are more ready to call villainy cleverness than simple-mindedness honesty. They are proud of the first quality and ashamed of the second.
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War III
Amazing that this was written nearly 2,500 years ago. Clearly its message must timeless.
Of course the other book I picked up at HPB last night, The Death of Discourse (a random find that intrigued me from its title and back jacket…and it was only $4 and a little over 200 pages), seems to argue that the modern electronic media has removed any chance of this deep a thought ever being expressed, much less understood. Hopefully I’ve just proved them wrong.