“They tell the truth about something,” Halpern said. For instance, “If you want to feel rich just count all the things you have that money can’t buy,” said Halpern, who has lived in Port Washington for 55 years.
The sayings are known as aphorisms, Greek for “a formulation of a truth or a sentiment,” and have been around for centuries.
Halpern began collecting aphorisms 25 years ago when retired as an advertising manager for several Ziff-Davis publications. They included Popular Electronics, Electronics World and Stereo Review.
“In a certain way I had always been interested in aphorisms, and then I began to save them in a formal way,” he said. “They get at the truth and if one is alive one is always looking for the truth. I find that generally people seem to accept a lot of things without questioning them.”
That is important “because people try in one way or another to be as accurate as possible and using aphorisms help them reach that goal,” he said.
Some well-known aphorisms include: “God helps those who help themselves,” “Better safe than sorry,” and “Life is just a bowl of cherries.”
But Halpern tends to a steer clear of the more popular aphorisms because these sayings can be a bit cliche or even off the mark.
He has written a book containing what he believes are some of the world’s best aphorisms. He judges the sayings in the book, “100 Aphorisms And Words To Live By” as being “a vivid discussion about the ways and means of living.”
Halpern created the book by using the aphorisms he had collected over the years.
The book is broken into 34 categories ranging from “Action” to “Wisdom.”
His favorites include: “Remember the kindness of others, forget you’re own,” “Tolerance is another word for indifference,” and “It’s not how you treat God, it’s how you treat people.”
A favorite area for him is humor, which includes the saying, “If other people are going to talk, conversation becomes impossible,” by James Whistler. Also, from Oscar Wilde, “If one tells the truth one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.”
The book is on sale at Dolphin Book Store and Amazon.com.
As for plans to do more books, Halpern is already at work. He has asked readers to submit their favorite aphorisms and hopes to compile them.