Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure

Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure

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by Andreas Kluth
     
 

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A dynamic and exciting way to understand success and failure, through the life of Hannibal, one of history's greatest generals.

The life of Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps with his army in 218 B.C.E., is the stuff of legend. And the epic choices he and his opponents made-on the battlefield and elsewhere in life-offer lessons about

Overview

A dynamic and exciting way to understand success and failure, through the life of Hannibal, one of history's greatest generals.

The life of Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps with his army in 218 B.C.E., is the stuff of legend. And the epic choices he and his opponents made-on the battlefield and elsewhere in life-offer lessons about responding to our victories and our defeats that are as relevant today as they were more than 2,000 years ago. A big new idea book inspired by ancient history, Hannibal and Me explores the truths behind triumph and disaster in our lives by examining the decisions made by Hannibal and others, including Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Ernest Shackleton, and Paul Cézanne-men and women who learned from their mistakes.

By showing why some people overcome failure and others succumb to it, and why some fall victim to success while others thrive on it, Hannibal and Me demonstrates how to recognize the seeds of success within our own failures and the threats of failure hidden in our successes. The result is a page-turning adventure tale, a compelling human drama, and an insightful guide to understanding behavior. This is essential reading for anyone who seeks to transform misfortune into success at work, at home, and in life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Several books on the legendary achievements of Hannibal have dwelled on one or two aspects of the ingenious general’s life, but none has tackled the tricky mix of the impact of his life choices on and off the battlefield as well as this new analysis. Kluth, the West Coast correspondent for the Economist, brings a contemporary slant to Hannibal’s military successes. Outnumbered by Roman legions, Hannibal couldn’t win with brute force alone, but needed shrewd strategies and tactics. Bred to be a great soldier, Hannibal took the helm at age 26 in Carthage, then famously crossed the Alps to defeat one Roman army after another. For students of history or military tactics, Kluth does superior work in spelling out the elusive values of success and failure,: he explains how, like Hannibal, you can make your enemies defeat themselves; he also considers others like Fabius, who kept Hannibal on edge by attacking wherever Hannibal’s troops were not; and Kluth fast-forwards to today’s world, showing how Steve Jobs, like the ancients, learned to turn disaster into triumph. Realistic and timely, Kluth’s book uses historic truths to move us past the frequent traps of success and failure to mold practical, productive lives. (Jan.)
Library Journal
War and military metaphors are popular in business titles, but Kluth's (West Coast correspondent, The Economist) book delves further into historical detail than most. Detailing the life of Carthaginian general Hannibal, best known for marching his army (plus elephants) over the Alps to surprise his archenemy Rome, Kluth explores how the singular soldier and tactician experienced both success (he won all his battles save the last) and failure (he was driven from Italy, and Rome eventually burned Carthage to the ground). The book teases life lessons out of both Hannibal's story and stories of other singular individuals: Eleanor Roosevelt, for example, reinvented herself after the devastating experience of discovering her husband's infidelity; Kluth's own great-uncle, Ludwig Erhard, eschewed political party membership but still became chancellor of West Germany. While following Hannibal's life chronologically, Kluth quietly makes suggestions for readers of all ages: understand your early influences, recognize triumph and failure as mere steps on the journey, and keep your ideas fresh. VERDICT Business readers will likely find this how-to a surprisingly satisfying read for both its history lessons and its basic but enduring dicta.—Sarah Statz Cords, The Reader's Advisor Online
Kirkus Reviews
Economist writer Kluth takes lessons from the great military strategist and other historical titans in his quest for fulfillment beyond success. In 218 BCE, Hannibal and his army surprised the Romans by crossing the Alps to attack Italy by land. The author narrates Hannibal's story with precision, but his analysis extends beyond the highlights of the battlefield. In this retelling of the ancient drama, the major players become archetypes whose motivations, triumphs and failures mirror those of more recent historical figures. The influence of Carl Jung pervades as the narrative as Kluth digs into their psyches—examples include author Amy Tan's teenage rebellion, Eleanor Roosevelt's loneliness and Albert Einstein's dark side—to create a plausible formula for surviving disaster or even sudden, explosive success. Though brief, the contemporary examples bridge the gap between modern readers and the ancient world. Kluth's own connection to Hannibal is tenuous, explained with a brief recap of how he took off his expensive tie and left London's Wall Street to become a journalist. But his desire for a balanced life (and European disdain for ostentation) makes his voice unique among others who analyze the nuances of greatness. Kluth follows each character beyond the key moments that defined their places in history to determine the value of their lives as a whole, from the rise and fall of their careers to their evolving relationships with families and friends. The result is a study of the ephemeral nature of power that grapples, often very effectively, with the meaning of true happiness. Meatier than the average self-help book, Hannibal and Me is a rare blend of military strategy and emotional intelligence that offers a more mature solution for winning life's battles.
From the Publisher
“Andreas Kluth’s absorbing exploration of the life of the great military commander Hannibal will inspire you to look beyond simplistic notions of success toward a deeper understanding of what it is to live the good life. This is a book full of lessons both profound and practical.”
—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

“A serious and fascinating exploration of issues many of us grapple with on a daily basis.”
New York Journal of Books

“A startlingly fresh outlook on an old mystery.”
—Patrick Hunt, Electrum Magazine

“Fascinating.”
Los Angeles Magazine

“Kluth does superior work in spelling out the elusive values of success and failure…Realistic and timely, Kluth’s book uses historic truths to move us past the frequent traps of success and failure to mold practical, productive lives.”
Publishers Weekly

“A study of the ephemeral nature of power that grapples, often very effectively, with the meaning of true happiness…Hannibal and Me is a rare blend of military strategy and emotional intelligence that offers a more mature solution for winning life's battles.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[Hannibal and Me’s] fresh perspective, drawing on the life of a warrior who lived more than two millennia ago, gives it a fresh appeal.”

Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594488122
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/05/2012
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Daniel H. Pink
Andreas Kluth's absorbing exploration of the life of the great military commander Hannibal will inspire you to look beyond simplistic notions of success toward a deeper understanding of what it is to live the good life. This is a book full of lessons both profound and practical. (Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive)
From the Publisher
"Realistic and timely, Kluth's book uses historic truths to move us past the frequent traps of success and failure to mold practical, productive lives." —-Publishers Weekly

Meet the Author

Andreas Kluth has been writing for The Economist since 1997. He is currently the magazine's U.S. West Coast correspondent, covering politics, society, and economy in California and the western states. A graduate of Williams College and the London School of Economics, Kluth is a dual citizen of Germany and the United States. He blogs at andreaskluth.org.

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