“Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast” by Oscar Wilde is one of the 46 new books in the best selling Little Black Classics, which was released to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book is different in its own way thereby offering diverse options for the readers. Coming to this book, the title of the book was enough to catch my attention. This book is an amalgamation of quotes and excerpts taken from the book, Nothing except my genius: The wit and wisdom of Oscar Wilde.
About the author:
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. In college he propagandize the new Aesthetic( Art for art’s sake)Movement which made him one of the most influential people behind the 20th century pop culture. After writing in different forms in 1880s he was able to establish himself as one of the best playwrights in London. Some of his famous works includes the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and the play The importance of being Earnest. But, his success was short-lived as he was sentenced to imprisonment for two years on grounds of gross indecency. He died in Paris in ignominy in 1900.
This book is of interest for:
- People who love reading Classics.
- Anybody who loves reading about art and literature.
- Anybody looking for a short read.
Premise of the book:
“It would be unfair to expect other people to be as remarkable as oneself.”
The book started with this quote taken from his short story The Remarkable Rocket, which clearly depicted his sarcasm and arrogance right from the beginning of the book.
I expected some witty story coming my way but as I started reading it, there were short sentences with gap in between. Then I realized that this is actually a book of quotes. I thought that reading a book of quote without any reference is nothing less then stupidity but then I gave second thoughts to it and started reading it. Eventually, I noticed that even though the sentences were unordered and abrupt, there was still a certain kind of order in them. For e.g. the sentences about his views on art were together and likewise. And so everything started falling into place.
To review this book, is like reviewing something superficial because there is no sense in talking about quotes when you don’t have the reference behind it. But, after doing a careful study, some things starting making sense. This book carefully defines the personality of Wilde, what he believed in and what kind of person he was. So, I will be listing some key lessons that I learned from this book:
- Living life king size: Wilde was a believer of living an extravagant lifestyle. He loathed the idea of people living ordinary life by spending their lives doing mundane things and compromising their dreams. He believed that kind of life was even worse than the life of the galley slave, atleast his chains are golden instead of iron.
“The supreme object of life is to live. Few people live. It’s true life only to realize one’s own perfection, to make one’s every dream a reality.”
“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”
- Communication is the key: He believed that good oratory skills is the best trait anybody can have. At the end, how a person presents his ideas makes all the difference.
“Language is the noblest instrument we have, either for revealing or concealing of thought; conversation is one of the loveliest of the arts.”
- The meaning of friendship:
He believed that no friendship is good in which people say charming things in order to flatter each other. A true friend says ugly things and won’t mind giving pain for the good of his friend.
- Creativity :
Being an admirer of art and aesthetics, he wanted artists to be creative and imaginative. For him going by the facts was something like vulgarizing mankind.
- Player of words:
We can easily measure the wisdom of a person by the choice of words he uses. Oscar Wilde was no less in this. His playful choice of words sugar coated with his inherent sarcasm, would leave you dumbstruck.
” It is always silly thing to give advice, but to give a good advice is absolutely fatal. I hope you will never fall into the error. If you do, you will be sorry for it. ”
“Conversations should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.”
- His take on Education:
He believed that education is useless as whatever is worth knowing can not be taught in any institutions. Even writing long books is of no use if it lacks life and literature.
- Lover of the Art:
If I say three things that Oscar Wilde lived for it would be: Art, Art and definitely Art. His beliefs and writings revolutionized the aesthetic movement and he played a key role in redefining the way of seeing and creating art.
“ Art, even the art of fullest scope and widest vision, can never really shows us the external world. All that it shows us is our own soul.”
” A critic should be taught to criticize any work of art, without making any reference to the personality of the author. This fact is the beginning of criticism.”
- Comedy of Life:
A person who could see life for its comedies knows how to live life to the fullest. Seeing the joys in the difficult times was what Oscar Wilde believed in.
” Life is terribly deficient in form. Its catastrophes happen in the wrong way and to the wrong people. There is a grotesque horrors about its comedies. Things lasts either too long or not long enough.”
So, all in all, if Oscar Wilde would have been alive today, his twitter account would have been the most popular one. The book is a perfect example of it. Being a short and quick read with loads of wisdom in it, it is a book everybody can read. And the most important thing is that you can read it from any random page as there is something new in each and every page of this book. The lessons in this book can be read again and again through out your life.
What more can you expect from a book, which you could read from any random page and pretend to be engrossed in it? 😁