The highest mastery is like water:
water benefits all,
yet always seeks the low points, despised by the masses;
thus it is like the Way.

In real estate, location is everything.
In understanding, depth is everything.
In negotiation, diplomacy is everything.
In speaking, credibility is everything.
In management, order is everything.
In consulting, effectiveness is everything.
In taking action, timing is everything.

If there is no contention, there will be no blame.


chapter notes:

The title (“Principles of Least Action”) is a reference to a classical principle in physics, in which minimizing “action” (suitably defined) mathematically determines the natural motion of objects in the world. This resonance with the philosophy of the Dao De Jing is remarkable (though I should note that it is also metaphorical, not mathematical).

The second verse is the first major collection of proverbs in the original (whether novel to the original, or “established sayings”). Here, as elsewhere, I have at least given the nod to any modern sayings that appear especially appropriate.