On impoverishing ourselves by Theodore Zeldin


AuthorTheodore Zeldin (b. 1933) Historian & Author
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Books by AuthorAn Intimate History of Humanity
CategoriesPersonal Development
LocationUnited Kingdom

Theodore Zeldin
We risk impoverishing ourselves more than we know if we sideline the personal dimension of life.

Theodore Zeldin (b. 1933) Historian & Author

Quotations are extremely effective at capturing and concisely communicating thoughts and ideas. They can be inspirational but more importantly quotations can help us reveal and assess the assumptions, values and beliefs that underlie the ways in which we perceive the world.

I have compiled over 800 quotations and short excerpts on this website. It is an eclectic mix but most of them are inspirational or insightful in nature and relate to knowledge, learning or personal development in some form.

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Quotations from Theodore Zeldin:

 To be a catalyst is the ambition most appropriate for those who see the world as being in constant change, and who, without thinking that they can control it, wish to influence its direction.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 When will we make the same breakthroughs in the way we treat each other as we have made in technology?

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 Change the way you think, and you are halfway to changing the world.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 The kind of conversation I like is one in which you are prepared to emerge a slightly different person.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 It's up to us to decide on the kind of conversations we have.

The way we talk at the office or factory shapes the work we do; it's not just machines which force us to be obedient.

I want to show how we could make our work a lot less boring and frustrating if we learned to talk differently.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 We risk impoverishing ourselves more than we know if we sideline the personal dimension of life.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 [Socrates] introduced the idea that individuals could not be intelligent on their own, that they needed someone else to stimulate them. ... His brilliant idea was that if two unsure individuals were put together, they could achieve what they could not do separately: they could discover the truth, their own truth, for themselves.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author
An Intimate History of Humanity

 All invention and progress comes from finding a link between two ideas that have never met.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author
An Intimate History of Humanity

 If I were asked what sort of history I enjoy writing most, I would answer personal or individual history.

I do not like simple labels, but this one at least has the compensation that it has two faces, since it simultaneously hints at another aspiration of equal importance.

On the one hand it suggests a form of writing which openly expresses the personality of individual historians, in the same way as painting and novels do.

The ideal of scientific history arose from the prestige of scientific discoveries in the 19th century: the growth of individualism must inevitably give rise to an individualistic kind of history.

But Personal history is not just a method: it also invites a different subject matter, a concern for the role of the individual in the past. I happen to believe that a reaction is needed against the priority given to the study of classes, nations, movements and abstract forces.

Personal history appeals to historians who want to understand themselves through their work (as opposed to finding escape in their work) and who consider that a better understanding of the individual needs to be the next broad goal of historical research.

It thus hopes to use the growth of self-consciousness and of interest in emotional states to advance knowledge of both past and present. It regards the individual as the atom of history, and thinks it is time historians tried to split their atom, studying its constituent parts more carefully.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 Technology does not automatically improve conversation, communication or behaviour

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 No amount of status or reward will compensate for your inadequacy as a human being.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 Unfortunately we are so steeped in debate, proving one’s point and challenging others, that alternative possibilities for interaction are often eclipsed from our view.

It is interesting to notice that even when we say we want to dialogue we commonly end up in debate.

We appear to have a longing to do something different but the vortex of habit confounds us.

As a result our options for building mutual respect, deepening understanding among each other, and creating more beneficial outcomes than we experience currently are severely limited.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

 Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits.

When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, and engage in new trains of thought.

Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards.

Theodore Zeldin, (b. 1933) Historian & Author

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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