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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Philosophy Extracted from Western History
Kluth, a staff writer for the Economist magazine, interprets the life trajectories of multiple historical figures, focusing primarily on Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who almost overthrew Rome. Kluth finds parallels between Hannibal's life, the other historical figures' lives, and his own. The "successes" and "failures" of these lives are interpreted to produce...
Published on January 10, 2012 by Howard Goldowsky

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun book
This book is uneven. The parts about Hannibal are lively and engrossing. The parts about modern politicians are not so much. The author must have written each in about ten minutes because he pulls their individual epiphanies from their own autobiographies with no skepticism or analysis. We all know politicians never lie. Also, apparently only Democratic politicians...
Published on July 9, 2012 by Utah Streamer


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Philosophy Extracted from Western History, January 10, 2012
This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
Kluth, a staff writer for the Economist magazine, interprets the life trajectories of multiple historical figures, focusing primarily on Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who almost overthrew Rome. Kluth finds parallels between Hannibal's life, the other historical figures' lives, and his own. The "successes" and "failures" of these lives are interpreted to produce meaning. The book derives its power from constantly challenging the reader to find parallels and meaning in her or his own life.

"Hannibal and Me" reads like a Western interpretation of Taoist and (some) Buddhist philosophy. It's no accident that the book's final paragraphs include a passage from the Bhagavad Gita, and talk about equanimity and self-actualization, the abilities of a person to remain level-headed throughout their life, both during the short- and long-term. These final paragraphs sum up Kluth's admiration for those people who can control their emotions, feel satisfied, live in the moment, and be content with their lot. Self-actualization is Kluth's modern interpretation of the Eastern monk's daily routine of meditation, of 'chop wood and carry water.' The whole book is a journey of ideas that culminates in these final paragraphs.

The strength of "Hannibal and Me" lies in its organization. The book is structured to chronologically progress through Hannibal's triumphs and failures, and in the process it references other figures' -- Steve Jobs, Eleanor Roosevelt, the explorer Shackleton, Einstein, the novelist Amy Tan, Kluth's uncle Erhard (a former head of W. Germany), Tiger Woods, Tennessee Williams, and many, many others -- parallel life situations. Kluth even references his own life, which gives the book the flavor of a memoir. Kluth analyzes these lives, based on modern psychological theory anchored by Carl Jung (yet another profile). In the end we're left with, as Aristotle would say, an examined life. The book is worth reading if only to get yourself to perform an examination on your own life.

Woven into this life analysis is a series of philosophical concepts that we need to be aware of in order to achieve equanimity and self-actualization. Some of these "life secrets," so Eastern in flavor, include the distinction between strategy and tactics, how to level emotions, how to use our opponents' aggressiveness against them (and we all have opponents, even if we don't want to admit it), how to balance between general principles and specific situations, plus many, many others, all universal truths that modern living often steals from us as we lead our busy and emotionally filled lives.

Since most people never examine their lives, Kluth likes to label traditional success and failure as impostors. What looks like "success" in the short-term often is just one step on the trajectory toward ultimate failure; what looks like "failure" is often a speed bump on the path to ultimate success. We would not know this about ourselves if we did not put our and other lives into perspective.

The only small improvement I would make to the book is that Kluth often spends a lot of time summarizing history. For someone like me who does not know many historical facts, this was wonderful; but for others some sections may seem tedious. Nevertheless, this book is a fantastic introduction to how to make your life better lived.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is some Hannibal in us all, January 13, 2012
By 
J. Lebeck "wasserjungfer" (Berkeley, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
Hannibal and Me is about taking the time to contemplate where you are in life and where you would like to be. Mr. Kluth uses Hannibal as a historical metaphore for understanding your obstacles, confronting them on your terms, and being diligent and focused in overcoming them.

Mr. Kluth draws parallels with many other famous people from antiquity (e.g. Cleopatra) to the modern (e.g. Tiger Woods) as he chronicologically works through specific milestones in Hannibal's life to draw parallels between how these different people achieved success and failure in various stages of their lives much like Hannibal did.

Mr. Kluth aptly demonstrates there are different methods of achieving success. Some people achieve greatness through great acts of insight or daring early in life while others take smaller, more methodical, steps and achieve it later in life. Some others stumble through their youth to do great things later in life through a combination of small steps and insight or daring.

He also emphysizes success can be a proverbial double-edged sword where even if a life goal is reached, there needs to be a strategy to cope with what comes after or the success could ultimately become a failure (which Mr. Kluth terms an imposter).

Hannibal and Scipio (the Roman general that ultimately defeated Hannibal) both had brilliant military careers and yet both ultimately became persona non grata to the respective aspiring empires they dedicated their youth to. If you aren't mindful of the larger picture beyond your immediate struggles, you can have great triumphs and successes during your life and yet die with nothing.

There is something in this book for everyone regardless of whether you are interested in Hannibal or not.

This is not just a book about Hannibal, we all have a little Hannibal in us, it is a book about awakening the insightful, innovative, and driven Hannibal in you.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, educational and transforming, January 10, 2012
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This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
Hannibal and Me is a journey through the triumphs and failures of not just military strategists, but great men and women in arts, literature, sports, politics, psychology and science. It is an experience that every person will relate to simply by the fact that we all succeed and fail at times in our lives.
Mr. Kluth's ability to take us from the ancient lands of Carthage and Rome to the modern tactical discipline of Tiger Woods creates a fantastic voyage through time and into the lives of many remarkable historical and modern personalities. His stories flow effortlessly bringing us into Cleopatra's mind as an ambitious seductress and Einstein's self-imposed imprisonment. His words are entertaining while educating and transforming one's outlook.
Most compelling is Mr. Kluth's skill in reforming our understanding of success and failure. By traveling in the footsteps of other's trials and tribulations, we come to see the concept of success as a prison and failure as a liberation. In a sense, he challenges us to rethink our current goals, to refocus on the tee and to let go of the chains disguised as success.
At a time when many people are staring at adversity and their own Swiss Alps to cross, Hannibal and Me is inspiring and uplifting.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun book, July 9, 2012
By 
Utah Streamer (Salt Lake City, UT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
This book is uneven. The parts about Hannibal are lively and engrossing. The parts about modern politicians are not so much. The author must have written each in about ten minutes because he pulls their individual epiphanies from their own autobiographies with no skepticism or analysis. We all know politicians never lie. Also, apparently only Democratic politicians ever have life changing experiences. In addition, the author must never watch professional golf or play golf himself. He says among pro golfers only Tiger Woods plays "green to tee" (as opposed to "tee to green"). Please Mr. Kluth, pick a sport about which you know something. All professional and good amateur golfers know exactly where they want to lay up to the green and what clubs to get them there. It just doesn't always work out the way they planned. Still a fun book-just skip the dorky parts that seem like they were written for children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good. Very worthwhile. It caused me to think about events in my own life and my subsequent actions., December 17, 2013
By 
Jane (Chicago, IL, United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
It’s an uplifting book. It reminds me of the Malcolm Gladwell books. If you like those, I think you’ll like this.

The author talks about many famous people - their triumphs, tragedies, successes, failures. What makes this book special is seeing what these people did “after” their success or failure, what happened and why. Some reacted poorly to success resulting in problems or tragedy. Some made changes in their lives after a failure which led to great success. I enjoyed these stories.

The author talks about psychological concepts: the stages of grief when there is a loss (or failure) and a little about Maslow’s self actualization. He talks about John Paul Sartre’s statement “Hell is other people” - the schoolyard bully, office politics, and any mediocre man or woman who sees others succeed and hates them for it. Hannibal and Scipio (the Roman commander) had great success but later suffered due to fellow citizens who were jealous and conspired against them.

The Hannibal story is fascinating. He was outnumbered. He was facing the Romans on a plain which is the way the Romans liked to fight. Yet Hannibal was able to surround the Romans so that most of the Romans were inside their own circle and couldn’t get to the perimeter to fight. Hannibal won. I loved what Scipio did in a later battle - how he defended against Hannibal’s attacking war elephants.

Hannibal was successful in battles, but he (Carthage) lost the war with the Romans - 13 years later. The author shows how tactics win battles, but strategies win wars. Ask whether you want to annihilate the enemy, or get concessions and live in harmony afterwards. The latter means allowing the enemy dignity.

It was fascinating how the Romans used strategy. Those who engaged in battle with Hannibal lost. Fabius (a Roman leader) was successful because he would not fight Hannibal. He was an example of how doing nothing can be the best course of action.

The author talked about early vs. late achievers. Picasso and Einstein were early achievers. Picasso’s later works were never as famous as his early works and sold for less. After Einstein’s early success, he had no more success in his field because he lost his youthful imagination and was close minded. He refused to accept the idea of randomness and chaos which is the basis for quantum something. Cezanne, Harry Truman, and Carl Jung were examples of later-in-life achievers.

Other stories include Eleanor Roosevelt, Ludwig Erhard (former head or W. Germany), Shackleton (Antartica explorer), Meriwether Lewis (Lewis & Clark expedition), Amy Tan (novelist), Morihei Ueshiba (founded the Japanese martial art of aikido), the Chinese President Liu Shaoqi and his wife, Tiger Woods, Cleopatra, Lance Armstrong, Eliot Spitzer, and Steve Jobs.

The narrator Sean Runette was good.

DATA:
Narrative mode: some 1st person, most 3rd person. Unabridged audiobook length: 12 hrs and 4 mins. Swearing language: none. Sexual content: none. Setting: Historical figures from 300 BCE to current day. Book copyright: 2011. Genre: psychology and history, nonfiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I'll reread again & again over my life as I grow older and gain more experiences, March 20, 2012
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This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
I love biographies in general and reading "Hannibal and Me" to me was like reading the crucial slices of lives of many interesting people's stories of "successes", "failures", and sometimes "impostors" (successes that actually lead to failures, or failures that become foundation of future successes) all in one book woven into many cohesive lessons.

To give you an idea of the "who's who" in the book, take a look of this partial list of characters featured in the book: Hannibal, Andreas (the author himself), Barack Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Amy Tan, Meriwether Lewis (and Thomas Jefferson, William Clark), Douglas MacArthur and Harry Truman, Ludwig Erhard, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Tiger Woods, Cleopatra, Lance Armstrong, Liu Shaoqi (and Mao Zedong), plus Albert Einstein.

In Andreas' throughly researched and eloquently written Hannibal and Me, the lives of modern day people like Steve Jobs, Tiger Woods, Amy Tan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur and Harry Truman were woven into the spectacular venture tale of Hannibal, bring every characters to live.

Don't let words like "history", "military strategist", "Hannibal" in the title deter you from reading the book. I had to study history for six years and pretty much hated every minute of it. Andreas' Hannibal and Me managed to bring all these characters to life to teach me, Kempton, teach us, readers of the book, important life-changing lessons. I originally thought I would have to skip a few pages so I can get to the interesting/fascinating modern real life stories sooner. To my pleasant surprise, I ended up reading every page over a few days. I find the lives, decisions and actions of the charters in the book absolutely fascinating and illuminating.

Ultimately, each reader will learn different lessons from the book depending on our own life experiences and life stages. Hannibal and Me is one of the best books I have read for years. To me, the book crystallized some of the life decisions I have made over the last few years and will be making in the future. I know I will be re-reading Hannibal and Me again and again over time as I grow older and gain more experiences. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did.

P.S. I've conducted a few video interviews with the book author Andreas Kluth and posted them on YouTube. You can find the four interview clips by searching for -- "Andreas Kluth Hannibal and Me author" under my YouTube account.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read, February 8, 2012
This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
The author traces Hannibal's life from childhood until his death, drawing parallels with other famous people - Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and others as well as an ancestor of his - in addition to his own life. He attempts to redefine success and failure in terms of meanings of peoples' lives. The book deals chronologically with Hannibal's life with episodes interspersed from the lives of others - sometimes with transitions that are jarringly abrupt. Overall, a good, informative read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A user's manual to Life - without a quick start guide, February 4, 2012
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This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
One of the best books I have read in a while. Not didactic in tone, yet instructing and informing through fascinating stories and intimate nuances of human life and lives. This is not, and there will never be, a manual to dealing with life as it comes at you, but this may be the compass you need as you find a time to reflect on where you have come from and where you might be headed.

There are three layers in this page turner - that informs, inquires and indicates at the same time. The first layer - the fascinating long shot story of a great general, and his life and times. The second layer - a more contemporary view of presidents, scientists and musicians in the modern world. In times of cultural revolutions and building nations. And finally - a third and personal life story of the author who interweaves his growth as a human being, with scientific precision, with the two first layers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious, Entertaining, Unique Conversation, will stir your own sensibility of what personal success means, January 21, 2012
By 
MexiSubmarine (San Francisco USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
This book is truly a unique piece, it is bringing together the stories of the most transformational leaders in our human history, with our current human situation; and what is meaningful life-work; success and failure both are formative factors to every man and woman, and have formed the situation we are all personally in. Andreas Kluth studies Hannibal's story well and delivers it to us in a correlation to figures of our contemporary history. For example, Einstein, Tiger Woods, Eleanor Roosevelt, Morihei Ueshiba all make an appearance and add to our understanding of the theme.

Often Andreas reminds me of the fantastic Professor Rufus Fears of the U. of Oklahoma, giving us the 'scoop' on what truly made humanity change through the eons. (It's really very entertaining!)

Certainly I expect future comparisons might be made to Tony Hsieh's book 'Delivering Happiness', which I also enjoyed, but I will recommend that this book takes into account a grand human history that we will enjoy recounting. Kluth is not only a wonderful writer, this book is a page-turner that goes beyond genre and is quite applicable, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's go beyond, September 10, 2013
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This review is from: Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure (Hardcover)
The book is nice, very personal and has a wide scope, but it doesn't do justice to the man. To see Hannibal out of a perspective of victory and defeat or success and failure is very common, because we usually adopt the view of the victors. Let's go beyond this. Ever pondered the passages where Hannibal talks about impermanence? About uncertainty, fear of death and courage? About peace? About his political scopes after the conclusion of a treaty with the Romans? What a pity that the writings of Silenos and Sosylos are lost.
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