Dictionary of Quotations
When speaking with the wealthy it will become immediately obvious that rich people love to quote literature. In fact, it is so common that what you call quoting, they call normal conversation. You will know you are in the presence of the upper crust when you hear someone drop the “I believe it was [insert author name] that once said…” followed by a well rehearsed line. The crowd draws closer and then nods their collective head appreciatively. This can be an annoying interruption that causes you to roll your eyes as they misquote original works and use famous prose out of context or it can become the foundation of a wonderful friendship.
When rich people speak, they must constantly overcome a perpetual guilt born of boarding schools and Ivy League educations. Quoting literature is a simple way to justify their upbringing and showcase their pedigree. Naturally, the words coming out of their mouth have meaning but the real message is that they have read the classics, they understand them, they can graciously draw on them as required and this makes them sophisticated and cultured. For the middle class this personifies itself as random trivia and their subsequent self-deprecation as ‘fountains of useless knowledge’. The rich are certainly not self-deprecating and they believe books are as necessary as water, air and scotch.
To befriend the wealthy, ensure that you have a few literary gems tucked away that you can unleash in any situation. A quote from a Greek scholar, a medieval poet-playwright and a modern author will suffice. Look to Socrates or Aristotle, Shakespeare or Dante and Shaw or Wilde as examples. Quoting one of these renowned ink-slingers will induce gleeful claps and ridiculous grins on the faces of your hosts. Men and women will be drawn to you like moths to a beacon and before you know it you will have new friends hanging on your every word. The true genius of using quotes is it is incredibly hard to argue with a dead person and you are simply using their words. Beware the perils of simply speaking to be heard though, I believe it was Plato who said “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”