In 1637, a Spanish Jesuit priest named Baltasar Gracian wrote “The Art of Worldly Wisdom,” distilling all that he had learned about life into concise observations.

His views still ring true today. Here are a few that are especially relevant to sales:


  • In times of prosperity, prepare for adversity.
  • Have the gift of discovery.
  • Put yourself in the center of things.
  • Do – and be seen doing.
  • Distinguish people of words from people of deeds.
  • Never contend with someone who has nothing to lose.

Making the sale

  • Keep expectation alive.
  • Know how to get your price.
  • Know your strongest quality.
  • Never exaggerate.
  • Make people depend on you.
  • Do not explain too much.

After the sale

  • Approach easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult tasks as if they were easy.
  • Do not turn one blunder into two.
  • Do good a little at a time, but often.
  • Do not take payment in politeness.
  • See to it that things end well.

Managing your reputation

  • Be a person of integrity.
  • Do not parade your position.
  • Never lose your self-respect.

Adapted from “The Art of Worldly Wisdom,” by Baltasar Gracian and translated by Joseph Jacobs. Published by Shambhala Publications. Info:

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