Little is known about Mencius other than what can be gathered from the book named after him. He was, perhaps, born a century or so after the death of Confucius, and it is likely that he died before the end of the fourth century BC. In his old age Mencius traveled from one state to another, hoping vainly to convert the feudal princes of the day to his view of man and morality. For a thousand years the Mencius, as part of the Four Books, was read by every schoolboy. There is no doubt that the influence exerted by Mencius over the development of Confucian thought is second only to Confucius.