Resurrecting Aesop: Fables Lawyers Should Remember
. Seville Publishing Company . Pensacola, FL
KF300.P365 2000 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is a motivational book for lawyers. Papantonio introduces it as a call back to the basics and understands Aesop to have made this kind of call with his fables. By basics Papantonio has in mind quality living, the kind of living that involves fundamental virtues like integrity, humility, kindness, and unselfishness. Aesop's philosophy spoke about the wisdom of simpler living. His philosophy placed a high value on serving and giving to others. He believed in the wisdom of honesty about our importance in the world. Moderation in all things was an underlying theme to Aesop's formula for maintaining a joyful spirit. (182) The book is more engaging than I had thought. Each chapter begins with a fable. Chapters deal with issues like civility, perspective, gratitude, and ambition. The chapter on joy uses fables more extensively than other chapters. It starts with the fable of the ass who admired the song of grasshoppers and so followed their advice and ate only dew until he died of malnourishment. We like the ass tend to look in the wrong places for finding the quality of life that will support our quality of spirit. Papantonio makes effective use of Aesop's story of the rich man who got used to living with the nauseating smell of the tanner next door; so young lawyers get used to dulling their spirits in the vain hope of finding a joyful period years later. Wise lawyers build their practice from the inside out, that is, to fit with their life-style and with what brings them joy. The fable about Mercury's hearing that his own statue was virtually worthless helps Papantonio to make the point that we need to get realistic perspective on our own importance. The fable of the miser says to Papantonio that resources lead to joy only when they are at the service of something beyond ourselves.