Essays in Idleness Rothdas book review RSS
3.0 Stars

Several hundered musings by a Japanese noble from a millenia ago. The musings are a mixed bag, and in some ways it is like reading random excerpts from the bible. Some musings are useless nonsense, and talk about a minor point of court or village etiquette. These are the equivalent of the "X begat Y" bible passages. Others musings are more relevant and are recognizable as valid points that still apply to the current day. The points aren't original, but it is neat to see them in ancient texts. For example, about how a man who greatly desires wealth will be miserly and live like a poor man in order to achieve his goal. Or more generally, how someone with a great desire will end up acting like someone with no desire in order to best achieve their ends.

Many other passages are more ambivalent. They could be interepreted as Budhist or Taoist parables if you squint hard enough, or they could just be minorly amusing or odd or pointless anecdotes from the author's life. My favorite of the amusing anecdotes was a top-ten list of moments in his life where everything came off perfectly and he looked really cool and knowledgeable in front of people he wanted to impress.