Power up with Proverbs

Proverbs store the refined wisdom of ages in short, memorable lines. Often they have several layers of understanding. This blog features a weekly proverb and explores its meaning. Sir Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister, war leader, writer, painter, historian, bon viveur, and very good bricklayer, recommended that people who lacked formal education should acquire a good stock of proverbs. "The Wisdom of Nations lies in their Proverbs... Collect and learn them". William Penn

Name: William Clark

Monday, February 06, 2006

A nimble sixpence is worth a slow shilling.


This is an old English proverb. The sixpence and shilling are UK coins from pre-decimalisation days. A sixpence (known as a "tanner") was worth half of a shilling (a "bob"). This proverb is telling us that a shopkeeper turning over a lot of small items can do better than when selling a few more pricey ones. There is also a subtext implying that a little guy who is smart and quick can compete with someone bigger but not so nimble witted. A small innovative business can run rings around an old slow-changing big one. Compare the story of David and Goliath in the Christian Bible. Or even Tom and Jerry in the Disney cartoons!

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