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For the man who is truly good and wise, we think, bears all the chances life becomingly and always makes the best of circumstances, as a good general makes the best military use of the army at his command and a good shoemaker makes the best shoes out of the hides that are given him; and so with all other craftsmen.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, ch. 10, sec. 13 [1101a] (350 BC) [tr. Ross (1908)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "For we hold that the man who is truly good and wise will bear with dignity whatever fortune sends, and will always make the best of his circumstances, as a good general will turn the forces at his command to the best account, and a good shoemaker will make the best shoe that can be made out of a given piece of leather, and so on with all other crafts." [tr. Peters (1893)]
  • "For our conception of the truly good and sensible man is that he bears all the chances of life with decorum and always does what is noblest in the circumstances, as a good general uses the forces at his command to the best advantage in war, a good cobbler makes the best shoe with the leather that is given him, and so on through the whole series of the arts." [tr. Weldon (1892)]
  • "We hold that the truly good and wise man will bear all kinds of fortune in a seemly way, and will always act in the noblest manner that the circumstances allow; even as a good general makes the most effective use of the forces at his disposal, and a good shoemaker makes the finest shoe possible out of the leather supplied him, and so on with all the other crafts and professions." [tr. Rackham (1926)]
Added on 18-Feb-20 | Last updated 18-Feb-20
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In order to govern, the question is not to follow out a more or less valid theory but to build with whatever materials are at hand. The inevitable must be accepted and turned to advantage.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
Deathbed statement (17 Apr 1821)
Added on 7-Sep-15 | Last updated 7-Sep-15
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In foreign policy one must make do with what one has.

Henry Kissinger (b. 1923) German-American diplomat
Years of Upheaval, ch. 12 (1982)
Added on 1-Sep-15 | Last updated 1-Sep-15
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Let us resolve to do the best we can with what we’ve got.

William Feather (1889-1981) American publisher, author
(Attributed)
Added on 3-Mar-15 | Last updated 3-Mar-15
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Life is made up of constant calls to action, and we seldom have time for more than hastily contrived answers.

Learned Hand (1872-1961) American jurist
Speech in New York (27 Jan 1952)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Nov-17
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