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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 99: Three elements of practical wisdom

A great alchemist created the gold of practical wisdom by fusing in the crucible of his imagination intelligence, experience and goodness.

The Greeks had a word for this combination of intelligence, experience and goodness in practical affairs: phronesis. This was translated into Latin as prudential and thence into English as prudence. A better translation today is practical wisdom.

Intelligence

In this context, to be intelligent means to be able:

  • To see the point.
  • To sense relationships and analogies quickly.
  • To identify the essentials in a complex picture.
  • To ‘put two and two together’.
  • To find the salient factors in past experience that are helpful in shedding light on present difficulties.
  • To be able ...

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