Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 37
Skillful Subtlety

Learn how to use the subtle art of insinuation, innuendo, and veiled remarks. One of the most sophisticated and nuanced activities of human communication, using this kind of tactfulness spans the range from malicious envy to the most skillful accomplishment. It can help us understand the people we deal with, probe their hearts, and test their integrity; but it can also cause great harm, quickly destroy solid reputations, and destroy the good will of old friends, colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates. Understanding this dynamic also helps inoculate us from the skillful manipulation of others. A foreseen attack is most easily defended against. While an unforeseen intrusion has the power of an ambush, anticipating an attack gives the defense great strength.

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