A company composed wholly of men of learning, though greatly to be valued and respected, is not meant by the words “good company”; they cannot have the easy manners and tournure of the world, as they do not live in it. If you can bear your part well in such company, it is extremely right to be in it sometimes, and you will be but more esteemed in other companies for having a place in that; but then do not let it engross you, for, if you do, you will be only considered as one of the literati by profession, which is not the way either to shine or rise in the world.

Wise words from Lord Chesterfield to his son, via my friend and colleague Richard Gibson. If only I had received this counsel thirty years ago… .