James Schaffer’s book, “They Knew Then,” offers useful reference for any writer or speaker
Simple yet innovative, They Knew Then draws upon some of the oldest pieces of written history to offer interesting quotations from fascinating and diverse sources, all of which have a story to tell about the human experience. The chapters are divided into subjects of character, the Golden Rule, leadership, love, and money. Within these categories, Schaffer brings together some of the most recognizable names in ancient history, including Aristotle, Confucius, Zeno, Homer, Muhammad, Lao Tzu, St. Augustine and Dante.
Thousands upon thousands of quotations were restricted to those between the time period of 3000 BC – 1500 AD, specifically to mark the time before Charles Gutenberg, who invented the printing press, and William Shakespeare, a world-renowned writer, both of whom changed the shape of the written word and how knowledge was dispersed. “Given the dramatic influence these two men had on the accumulation of words and their usage, I wanted to capture the points of our history, before these paradigm shifts occurred,” writes Schaffer. “I wanted the pages which held these words to have withstood a physical and political ’survival of the fittest’ test.”
Ideal for a journalist writing a story, a public or motivational speaker, a student writing a paper, a best man about to give his speech or just the average reader looking for a timeless quote to drive home a point, They Knew Then takes out the hassle of sifting through a multitude of quotations. Beyond functionality, the quotations within They Knew Then share an inherently timeless quality and universal value which articulates a message about the world and humanity of another popular proverb: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
About the Author: James Schaffer is a philosopher who has studied at San Diego State University and is the CEO of the Schaffer Group, a business incubator in San Francisco.
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