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Unless you are 18 years old, plus or minus two or three years, you likely find the world a complicated place. People like you one day and hate you the next, you know not why. A machine works fine one day and dies the next for no apparent reason. And getting a thing done is rarely as easy as you imagine it to be.
It's also a scary place at times. Folks pose threats for no good reason. Sometimes they are family or neighbours. Sometimes they live half way around the world. What's with that?
It's also a disappointing place. People you thought you could trust and rely on, let you down for no apparent reason. They do the wrong thing - the opposite of the thing you'd have done in their shoes. They do it even if doing the right thing would not have been too hard. Why? That's too complicated a question to answer because human beings are quite complex creatures with infinitely varying motivations and all kinds of baggage. Ten people can look at one object and see eleven different things.
Sounds bleak, eh? Wouldn't it be nice if the world were simpler? Like if folks did what they were supposed to do, for what you believe are the right reasons. Wouldn't it be great if some folks were always motivated and diligent and loyal and acted with perfect integrity? Sure. But the world isn't like that. Sorry. Some folks are generally better due to good parenting, learning tough lessons, good dispositions, or what have you. But NO ONE is perfect.
Elbert Hubbard would like to see the world as a simple, black and white proposition. I wish he were correct, but he's not. He's oversimplifying up a storm in this book. The world isn't made up of good and bad people. You know intuitively it's not like that. Some people may fairly consistently be good in my eyes, but in another's eyes they may be bad. Or they may be good one day, but change later. Life's kooky like that.
Mr. Hubbard's vision is a nice pipe dream. But, unfortunately, that's all it is.
You probably do not need to fret. Just work at learning how to get by in our complicated world. Try reading lots of good books, but give this one a pass unless you just happen to be curious.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
this is still relevant more than a century later. I've got several versions of this essay and audio. this reader makes it engaging and his tones make it easier to understand where some of my students may not already some of the language used