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We cannot determine yet whether this sentence was initially derived from translation or not.
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edited by JimBreen, September 15, 2014
This "sentence" was actually two different proverbs which mean much the same.
Also seen using kanji.
Possible, more proverb-like wordings.
A wise man learns by the mistakes of others.
Learn from the mistakes of others.
Learn wisdom by the follies of others. (Italian proverb?)
Literally it would be something like this.
Watch how others act and correct your own behavior (accordingly).
I see that both 人のふり見て我がふり直せ and 人の振り見て我が振り直せ are here. Should one be eliminated? The version with 振り is about twice as common.