Writing I Love – The Little Prince

The Little Prince

This week a beautiful story, regarded as one of the best books of the 20th century.

I believe in experiencing an eclectically wide range of experiences and highly recommend this wondrous book.

It is also full of lessons for life, love and leadership. To pick just one quote :

“Make your life a dream, and a dream, a reality”

Dream big, Live big. We only have this one life.

Now, the author of this book, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is legendary himself, an aviator with a fascinating life around the time of World War II. Worth researching.

He is also famous for this wondrous quote on leadership and painting the picture of a vision for others to follow :

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

In researching this quote for the original French, the English version appears to be a derivation of a longer quote :

“Et par contre, si je communique à mes hommes l’amour de la marche sur la mer, et que chacun d’eux soit ainsi en pente à cause d’un poids dans le cœur, alors tu les verras bientôt se diversifier selon leurs mille qualités particulières. Celui-là tissera des toiles, l’autre
dans la forêt par l’éclair de sa hache couchera l’arbre. L’autre, encore, forgera des clous, et il en sera quelque part qui observeront les étoiles afin d’apprendre à gouverner. Et tous cependant ne seront qu’un. Créer le navire ce n’est point tisser les toiles, forger les
clous, lire les astres, mais bien donner le goût de la mer qui est un, et à la lumière duquel il n’est plus rien qui soit contradictoire mais communauté dans l’amour.”

Whilst I love distilling to simplicity, or “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, this quote is poetic and powerful in the detail. It can be approximately translated to :

And if, on the other hand, I communicate to my men the love of walking on the sea, and each of them is so inclined because of a weight in the heart, then you will soon see them diversify according to their thousand special qualities. This one will weave the canvas, the other in the forest by the sharpness of his axe will fell the tree. Another, again, will be forging nails, and some will be watching the stars to learn how to navigate. And all however will be one. To create the ship is not to weave the canvases, to forge the
nails, read the stars, but to give the taste of the sea which is one, and in the light of which there is nothing that is contradictory but community in love”



Also published on Medium.