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The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 | Know the speakers

Excerpt from ‘The Less You Preach The More You Learn: Aphorisms For Our Age’ by Shashi Tharoor and Joseph Zacharias

A book of aphorisms on the mysteries of life, secrets to success and the many facets of India

October 05, 2023 03:59 pm | Updated January 18, 2024 02:11 pm IST

Snapshots from the book.

Snapshots from the book.

Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor | Photo Credit: PTI

I first met Joseph Zacharias when I set up an academy of business communication in Thiruvananthapuram shortly after leaving the United Nations in 2007. In our search for competent speakers of the language who could teach it in a practical way, we [came across] Joseph, who had retired prematurely from government service in Delhi. Slim, with a gleaming brown dome, of indeterminate age, wearing a perpetually quizzical look and a general air of inscrutability, he had the appearance of an overgrown gnome. There was something about Joseph that immediately arrested the attention of those who met him.

The academy, for various reasons, turned out to be short-lived, but the relationship with Joseph endured. When I was elected Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, I asked him whether he would join my staff. For five years during my first term (2009–14), Joseph served loyally and effectively. He regaled his colleagues in the office with his passing comments, often couched in a coruscating cynicism about the ‘system’ that not everyone easily understood. (He would later claim that he had deliberately kept one part of his brain from ‘growing up’, and it was from there that he generated his quirkiest thoughts.)

Excerpted with permission from Aleph.

The Less You Preach The More You Learn is a collection of Shashi Tharoor’s aphorisms, including observations culled from years of writings and speeches, and Joseph Zacharias’ original aphorisms.

The Less You Preach The More You Learn
Shashi Tharoor, Joseph Zacharias

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