The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Summary

A series of short essays on love, giving, pain, law, friendship, children, and more. You’ll gain insight into the importance of doing work you love, the relationship between joy and sorrow, the purpose of friendship, and the origins of pain.

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Key Takeaways

Love and separation

“And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”

If you want to know how you feel about someone, try saying goodbye.

Thirst for more

“Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?”

If you have everything you need and still don’t feel satisfied, it’s unlikely that more success or possessions will fulfill you. It would be wiser to examine your unquenchable thirst and find ways to tame it.

Why you should do work that you love

“For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.”

When you don’t care about your work, that lack of care will reflect in the quality and nature of what you produce. Find work that you enjoy, and what you produce will be much better.

Joy and sorrow

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.”

When we feel joy, it’s often about rising above the thing that was previously causing us sorrow.

Reason and passion

“Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.”

“For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.”

The relationship between reason and passion is fascinating. Neither is sufficient. Untempered passion will destroy you. Untempered reason will constrain you. Life and the way you feel is often a battlefield between these two competing forces.

Pain

“Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.”

Is life really so bad, or have you chosen to perceive it that way?

Friendship

“And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.”

Friendship deepens your spirit. It’s not for materially gain or anything else.

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