If you’re looking for an abundance of masculine, worldly wisdom look no further than Qunitus Curtius. His latest work, Pathways, consists of his best essays from 2015, compiled into a carefully curated set.
I found that, compared to previous essay collections of Quintus, this book actually included a wider range of subject matter. Whereas Pantheon focused heavily on anecdotes from great men in history, Pathways included many different subjects including language, work, literature and practical tips for everyday living.
There is also mention of many classic works of literature, with Quintus providing an in-depth, yet comprehensible guide to them. Much welcomed for the aspiring man of wisdom.
Another difference in Quintus’ writings from previous works is that they seem much more acerbic. Not in a resentful, bitter way, but in a ‘I don’t have time for this bullshit way’:
Preach to me about abundance when my flour-sack is empty. How the hell can I create something from nothing?” (Your Defiance is Your Abundance).
QC has no time for impostors and puts those who slavishly worship them in their place:
We have to get down to the essentials of things. We have to get past the platitudes, past the grinning slogans, past the lectures in comfortable auditoriums where we are put to sleep by simple-minded charlatans in Buddhist tunics.” (My Own Ten Commandments).
A Contrarian View
Another facet of Pathways is the contrarian points of view Quintus offers on dogmatic stances of particular issues of life, work and relationships. Not that I necessarily disagree with these points of view, but it is important to hear the other side, especially from someone who isn’t just another twenty-something.
For one, take the notion of location-independence today, or just being self-employed. Quintus, instead of playing along, pens the article “How to Gain Your Boss’s Approval.”
Realistically, most young men work for others than for themselves. While they do work, they should do their best to become a great employee.
He also has an essay on the importance of college and education, whereas many in this sphere belittle such things.
It’s hard to tell someone how to read a book without coming across as patronizing or demeaning, but Quintus makes some keen points. The essay will be of particular interest for readers of this website:
Because you see, information management is at the heart of modern reading. There is so much information out there that the key thing is to be able to navigate through the information minefield without losing your sanity.” (How to Read a Book)
Thoughts on Language
Some of the most interesting articles I found at the end of the book, in the section on languages. The set of essays includes tips on language learning (Seven Reasons Why You’re Not Reaching Your Foreign Language Goal ), why native languages are so important for cultures, and why the omnipresence of English is unwelcome to the man of worldly wisdom:
Nothing sickens me more, when I travel, than to see the constant deference that is made to English. I don’t want to see English wherever I go. I don’t feel comforted by it. I feel oppressed by it: it is a constant and ever-present reminder of the mass media “world culture” that some countries are foisting on others.
I’ve only scratched the surface of Pathways’ contents. In all there are 57 essays that will entertain and inform. Some favorites include:
- The Trial of Saddam Hussein
- The Inquisition and Political Correctness
- Civil and Military Reorganization of the Later Roman Empire
Additionally, Quintus has been publishing with an impressive amount of frequency. So even if you do follow his blog, some of these writings may have slipped past you, and if they didn’t they deserve a refresher.
For the neophyte, these words of wisdom stand above works in this realm. It’s rare to find a scholar who can avoid the blandness of academic writing, while still evoking the principles of great philosophers. A real treat.
Click here to get your copy of Pathways by Quintus Curtius on Amazon.