Analects of Confucius Book 5: new English translation

Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 5 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher. It provides colorful insights into the character and abilities of many of Confucius’s followers as well as other contemporary and historical figures.

Chapter 1
子謂公冶長,「可妻也。雖在縲絏之中,非其罪也。」以其子妻之。
Confucius said of Gongye Chang: “He would make a good husband. Although he has spent time in prison, he was innocent.” He gave him his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 5: new English translation

Leadership lessons from Confucius: love of learning

love of learning

子曰:「十室之邑,必有忠信如丘者焉,不如丘之好學也。」
Confucius said: “In a hamlet of ten houses, you’re certain to find someone as loyal and trustworthy as I am, but you won’t find a single person who loves learning as much as I do.”

Thanks to rapid technology advances, it’s never been easier to learn. No matter what subject you happen to be interested in, there is a huge variety of courses and materials online for you to choose from – often at a fraction of the cost of those offered by traditional educational institutions and publishers. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: love of learning

Leadership lessons from Confucius: keep on learning

keep on learning

子曰:「已矣乎!吾未見能見其過,而內自訟者也。」
Confucius said: “I give up! I have yet to meet a person capable of seeing their own faults and taking themselves to task in the court of their own heart.”

It’s easy enough to sit around criticizing other people and telling the world what they’re doing wrong. All of us like to think they would be able to do a much better job than our boss, the coach of the sports team we support, and the politicians crawling around the swamp. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: keep on learning

Leadership lessons from Confucius: hopes and aspirations

deepest hopes and aspirations

顏淵、季路侍。子曰:「盍各言爾志?」子路曰:「願車馬、衣輕裘,與朋友共,敝之而無憾。」顏淵曰:「願無伐善,無施勞。」子路曰:「願聞子之志。」子曰:「老者安之,朋友信之,少者懷之。」
When Yan Hui and Zilu were sitting together with him, Confucius said: “How about telling me what you would most like to do?” Zilu said: “I would like to share my carriages, horses, clothes, and furs with my friends without getting upset if they damage them.” Yan Hui said: “I would like to avoid boasting about my abilities or causing trouble for others.” Zilu said: “We would love to hear what our master would most like to do.” Confucius said: “I would like to provide comfort to the elderly, be faithful to my friends, and cherish the young.” (1)

No matter how immersive technology becomes, nothing will ever replace face-to-face communication. It’s only when you can truly look someone in the eye that you can share your deepest hopes and aspirations. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: hopes and aspirations

Leadership lessons from Confucius: hypocritical behavior?

hypocritical behavior

子曰:「巧言、令色、足恭,左丘明恥之,丘亦恥之。匿怨而友其人,左丘明恥之,丘亦恥之。」
Confucius said: “Smooth talk, pretentiousness, and obsequiousness: Zuoqiu Ming detested such behavior, and I detest it too. Acting friendly towards a person you secretly resent: Zuoqiu Ming detested such behavior, and I detest it too.”

Is there any harm in giving a few insincere compliments to people you meet at a party in order to stimulate conversation? So what if you secretly hate the dress that the guest you are talking to is wearing if you bring a smile to her face by telling them how nice she looks in it? Is there any harm either in exchanging a few friendly words with a bitter rival over a glass of wine? Who knows, you might even find a reason to like them. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: hypocritical behavior?

Leadership lessons from Confucius: a bridge too far

bridge too far

子曰:「孰謂微生高直?或乞醯焉,乞諸其鄰而與之。」
Confucius said: “Who said that Weisheng Gao was as straight as a die? When someone begged him for vinegar and he didn’t have any, he begged a neighbor for some and gave it to the person who asked him for it.”

Perseverance is one of the keys to achieving long-term success. It’s only by consistently grinding out the hard yards that you’ll reach your goals. Achieving something worthwhile requires application and hard work. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a bridge too far

Leadership lessons from Confucius: forgive and forget

forgive and forget

子曰:「伯夷叔齊,不念舊惡,怨是用希。」
Confucius said: “Boyi and Shuqi never bore grudges, so they rarely aroused any resentment from others.” (1)

Forgive and forget. The only person you’ll hurt by holding a grudge against is yourself. Revenge is a dish best never served at all. The taste of it will leave you bitter and sore. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: forgive and forget

Leadership lessons from Confucius: “Let’s go home, let’s go home!”

Let's go home

子在陳曰:「歸與!歸與!吾黨之小子狂簡,斐然成章,不知所以裁之。」
When Confucius was in the state of Chen, he said: “Let’s go home, let’s go home! Our young people are full of fire and bursting with talent, but they have no idea how to use it.”

What is the single most important piece of advice that you would give to a gifted and ambitious young person who is about to take their first steps into the big bad world? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: “Let’s go home, let’s go home!”

Leadership lessons from Confucius: appearances can be deceptive

appearances can be deceptive

子曰:「甯武子,邦有道則知,邦無道則愚。其知可及也,其愚不可及也。」
Confucius said: “When the way prevailed in his state, Ning Wuzi acted wise. When his state lost the way, Ning Wuzi acted dumb. Others may match his wisdom but not his dumbness.”

Appearances can be deceptive. Just because someone acts differently than the other members of your team, it doesn’t mean that they are any less effective. Perhaps they simply prefer to work alone or do their best thinking away from the noise of the office. Judge them by the results they achieve, not by how they fit in. The most gregarious people are not necessarily the best performers. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: appearances can be deceptive

Leadership lessons from Confucius: take the leap

take the leap

季文子三思而後行。子聞之,曰:「再斯可矣。」
Ji Wenzi always thought three times before taking action. When he heard this, Confucius said: “Twice is quite sufficient.”

It’s never easy to make a major decision. You’ll never have enough information to be entirely sure it’s the right one. And you won’t have to try too hard to find myriad reasons for postponing it if you are reluctant to take the leap. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: take the leap