Aphorisms by Joseph F. Conte

Joseph F. Conte says his two most interesting jobs have been as editor of a thoroughbred racing magazine in New York City and tour guide at a 900-year-old castle complex in Bergen, Norway. He writes about classical music, art, literature and philosophy, and he’s so far penned some 700 aphorisms. He cites Leibniz on the virtue of concision: “The intelligent author encloses the most of reality in the least possible compass.” Conte’s own aphorisms approach that ideal: They encapsulate a large chunk of reality in an extremely small space, while leaving plenty of room for thought. A selection from Maxims and Minims of a Philosopher, “in honor,” Mr. Conte says, “of La Rochefoucauld”:

Have your dreams, sure, but stay awake and do your work.

Just enough is plenty.

That which you love can become the banner by which you live.

Failure is an opportunity for you—to blame someone else.

Ice breaks up bridges; but a thawing wind breaks up ice.