Tag Archives: Confucius on smooth talk

Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Song Chao

Song Chao (宋朝) was a minister of the state of Wei who was famous for his good looks. He is said to have used his appearance in order to attract the favor of Nanzi (南子), the (allegedly) scheming and promiscuous consort of the notorious Duke Ling of Wei (衛靈公).

Indeed, according to some of the more lurid rumors that circulated about Song and Nanzi, the couple were brother and sister and Nanzi had specifically invited Song to serve in her husband’s court so that they could become lovers. There is no evidence to prove that these rumors were true – though that didn’t stop them from spreading like wildfire and further damaging Nanzi’s dubious reputation. Continue reading Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Song Chao

Leadership lessons from Confucius: an unfair advantage

unfair advantage

子曰:「不有祝鮀之佞,而有宋朝之美,難乎免於今之世矣。」
Confucius said: “It’s difficult to survive in an age like ours without the smooth tongue of Zhu Tuo and the good looks of Song Chao.” (1) (2)

There are always going to be other people around who seem to enjoy an unfair advantage over others – whether it be an amazing talent, stunning looks, or a silken tongue. Rather than bemoaning your bad luck in the genetic lottery, why not spend your time and energy figuring out how you, too, can build your own unfair advantage that will enable you to get ahead in life? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: an unfair advantage

Leadership lessons from Confucius: what use is eloquence?

what use is eloquence?

或曰:「雍也仁而不佞。」子曰:「焉用佞?御人以口給,屢憎於人。不知其仁,焉用佞?」
Someone said: “Ran Yong is good but not eloquent.” Confucius said: “What use is eloquence? A smooth tongue creates many enemies. I don’t know whether Ran Yong is good; but he definitely has no need for eloquence.” (1)

The ability to speak clearly and persuasively is vital for getting on in the world no matter what profession you are in. People who speak confidently are far more likely to be regarded more favorably than their shy or tongue-twisted counterparts even though they probably know a lot less about what they are talking about than the ones who sit quietly besides them. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: what use is eloquence?