A 13th-Century Persian poet's lessons for today

(www.bbc.com)

Despite being an acclaimed poet in the region, Sa’di felt he’d wasted his life so far and had said nothing of consequence, and so resolved to spend the rest of it in silence. At the insistence of a friend, however, he broke his vow, and, it being springtime in Shiraz, the two went for a stroll in a paradise garden. Surprised that his friend should choose to gather flowers and herbs in his robes, Sa’di remarked in Khayyam-esque fashion on the ephemerality of such things, and promised his friend that, instead, he would write a book both enjoyable and educational called the Golestan (Flower Garden), whose pages would last forever.

Almost 800 years is certainly "forever" for most people.