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Practical Wisdom: Letters to Young Men is comprised of a series of essays written by famous men from sixteenth century and seventeenth century England, the most notable of which is Sir Walter Raleigh; English aristocrat, poet, politician, courtier, explorer, and writer. Other essays in the book were written by lesser known but still incredibly influential individuals such as Sir Matthew Hale, the accomplished barrister, judge, and lawyer; and Lord Burleigh, English statesmen and chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. These educated and worldly men leave behind a wealth of interesting ideas about the world and the lives generations after them will lead, organized into one grand gift from the older generation to the younger.
Raleigh's essay "Sir Walter Raleigh's Instructions To His Son" leads the list of essays and sets the tone for the other essays in the book, all of which are aimed towards the generations of the future and loaded with wisdom, observations, and counsel. The advice given in these essays is particularly interesting from a historical perspective and also afford moments of entertainment for the modern reader who struggles to understand the application of "wrestling and vaulting have ever been looked upon by me as more useful than fencing, being often out-dared by resolution, because of the vast difference between a foyn and a sword, a house and a field." Whether relevant or archaic from the modern reader's perspective, this book is filled to the brim with the hopes and dreams of one generation passed down to the next.
Practical Wisdom: Letters to Young Men offers a series of essays on practical matters of importance in the lives of young folk and advice on how to deal with those matters. While written many hundreds of years ago, the words of these writers span across space and time and offer not only insight into a different world but also into problems that still face young individuals in our world today. This book is definitely an interesting read and surprisingly harbors advice that remains effective even though it was written for another time.
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