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778 views. 2017-5-6 18:57

Zeng Guofan is one of the most influential characters in the Chinese history. And a number of books are about him, his character and his family and so on. I believe that he is well-known to most of people who have read such books.


However, this is the first time that I have read one book about this great man. I just learnt a little information about him on TV before,  I once made up mind to spend time learning about him.

And finally, I just kept my word today.


He was born in a faraway countryside and his family was not rich but could make him and his family not feel hungry. His dad was expecting that Zeng Guofan would study hard and get a position in the government. But he was not very smart and failed many times in the imperial examination. After 7 times, he went through a test hold in the county. Then 4 years later, he passed another important test to make him get a position.


Then he became a high ranking official and won honor for his family.

Actually his experience seems that a student from a rural area get a good position in the government with much effort, which can inspire more people to change their destiny by studying hard.


What Zeng Guofan interests me is that he kept a diary every day to make him know what to do or what not to do . In fact, he made a plan to study to make himself more knowledgeable, but sometimes he failed to stick to doing it because his friend invited him to pay a visit and he felt very guilty about not studying at home. Then he would write down his guilt and regrets and think about what he would do next time. In addition, he welcomed his friends to give advice on what he were studying and writing to force himself to keep on studying all the time. In this way could he make great progress in many fields.


When he was very young and couldn’t get on well with his colleague, he often argued with them and even had a fight with one of them. In his diary, he realized that he couldn’t be like that any more. If he would like to work effectively, he must be accustomed to the way most people behave. Then he could get into the officer circle with his effort and persistence and others felt that he was a part of them.

After that, many officers were willing to drop in on him and would support what he was doing. With those officers help, he could do what he wanted to do and make a contribution to the country.


Even though he was not strict with his friends and colleagues, he was till strict with himself and his family. At that moment, most of officer led a comfortable life but he didn’t. He never accepted the off-the-books income and sometimes gave away some money to the poor when he had some extra money. In his family, his wife and daughters had to do some chores by themselves to reduce family expense. His family followed his rule and never accepted the money and gifts.


As a high ranking official, he would save a lot of money for his son and daughters, but he didn’t do that. On the one hand, he didn’t have much money. On the other hand, he insisted that it was unnecessary to leave money to the next generation. In his opinion, without money, the next generation would figure out a way to make a living. If they couldn’t depend on themselves, they couldn’t lead a normal life with much money. So it was no use giving money to the offspring. When his son was ill, his son didn’t have money to send for a doctor. At last, one of Zeng’s friends gave away some money to pull through difficulty times.


In Qing Dynasty, some officers earned so less money that they couldn’t cover their expense. So we can imagine that corruption was common. In order to meet their need, some officials abused their power to get what they wanted.


However, in their eyes, Zeng Guofan was like a saint. On the other hand, if he thought that man was talent, he were willing to give the man some chances to show the talent and serve the country.  Even if that man was not pleased with him and laughed at him, he didn’t care. He was open-minded and generous, so there were a lot of friends around him. After his death, plenty of people came to his funeral , felt very grieved and sorrowful. Some of them wrote poems in memory of him. There is no doubt that he did make a big difference to the late Qing Dynasty.


Until now, his influence is so big that many people long for learning something from him. What’s more, he set a good example to us. If we are mundane and ordinary, we also can become excellent people through working hard. As people say: a slow sparrow should make an early start.


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