Zizhang asked what a scholar should do to be called prominent.

Confucius asked, “Prominent? What on earth do you mean by that?”

Zizhang replied, “To have your name known throughout your family and the state.”

Confucius replied, “You’re talking about fame, not prominence. Someone with an upright character who loves justice has prominence. They listen carefully to others and observe their countenances. They defer to others. This kind of person will have prominence in the family and the state.

To be famous, just put on a good show of humaneness while doing otherwise. Keep this con going without breaking and you’re sure to be famous among your family and the state.”


Yuan Rang was waiting for the Confucius, sprawled out.

Seeing this, Confucius said, “A youth who lacks deference and respect; to be a grown man with nothing to pass on; to be an old man who shirks death. That’s what I call a pest!”

He struck Yuan Rang across the shins with his stick.