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Hannibal and Me: What History's Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us about Success and Failu Re

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  716 ratings  ·  89 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Riverhead Books
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  716 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Thomas Umstattd Jr.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read in at least two years. It teaches how to meet with triumph and disaster and how to treat those two impostors just the same. Run don't walk to buy and read this book. ...more
Jim George
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The author carefully and explicitly weaves threads of similar successes through the lives of histories most famous heroes and villains. He uses clever biographical tales all through his book, and paradoxically and metaphorically thru these heroes mistakes and triumphs, gives you some life lessons to emulate and follow on your own pathways towards self actualization. A very compelling success manual, the author does a great job of bringing it all together in the last chapter.
Fascinating, accessable, relevant, well-crafted, informative, and inspirational. A really great book. I think Kluth has given an excellent framework for self-analysis here, via the examination of the succeses and failures of others (not just Hannibal). I think that is more valuable than treating this book as a "how to" guide to life, although his final chapter is excellent (and those are not mutually exclusive concepts, frankly). The observations he makes are supported by his evidence, they are ...more
Eugene Slaven
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant and highly entertaining self-help book with an in-depth overview of the lives of some of history's most intriguing personalities. ...more
Jane Stewart
Good. Very worthwhile. It caused me to think about events in my own life and my subsequent actions.

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 cha
Peter Gregoire
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book may be one that purist historiographers - who view the study of the past as its own virtue - may bristle at. But Andreas Kluth very much follows the Confuciun line of studying the past, to understand the present and to foresee the future. In doing so he takes the story of the Carthaginian general, Hannibal and makes it relevant to our times. For in Hannibal and the other two protagonists in the Hannibal story - Fabius and Scipio - we see all sides of humanity and learn lessons about th ...more
Lukáš Meravý
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! It is beyond me how an obscure German journalist could have written such a wonderful book. If you find yourself failing at achieving your life goals, this book is for you. It is not just a very good pick-me-up, but full of historian-grade knowledge applied to today's problems. I predict we are going to hear from Mr. Kluth a lot more.

Thinking about his writing I came to the realization his literary talent is the fusion of a combined English/American-German education. Most Germa
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book that tells the complex story of what it means to win and still lose as well as losing your way into victory. The Hero's journey is far more complex than we think and nothing -- neither victory or defeat -- is what it seems. Though to be fair the Romans did get their asses kicked. ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Full of history I learned so much listening to this book.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading this book was like listening to the classic music. It had a dull start but ended on a fantastically high note. Andreas is clearly a huge Hannibal fan. I didn't know about Hannibal before reading this book. That made the book more interesting for me. Andreas also told the story of Ernest Shackleton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Einstein and many others. Andreas tries to explain that success and failure are impostors. He tries to convince us that success is not always go ...more
James Bruhns
I've read this book at least three times in the last several years and never tire of it. Success & failure transcend time in this book. The author takes us on the journey of Carthage's greatest general, Hannibal Barca, and his singularly focused quest to destroy Rome to avenge his father's failure & fulfill his destiny as a basis for discovering many of life's lessons. I enjoy how the author weaves snippets of current life stories into the narrative to support his thesis and I always find some n ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that you must read throughout your lifetime.
Packed with golden information and historical events that we can all learn from.

I shall either find a way or make one ~ Hannibal
Ana-Maria Bujor
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
I really liked the book, but in a different way. Even though some may throw it in the "personal development" pile, I liked it for the historical events it presents. It reads like a novel, split into chapters, each of them following Hannibal's attempt to conquer Rome. Each chapter adds one lesson to be drawn from the story, as well as other stories of other historical figures that illustrate the lesson. I really liked the story parts and went fast through the lessons simply because they are quite ...more
Jan 16, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the stories about Hannibal, Cleopatra, Amy Tan, Uncle LuLu and the other casts of characters. I enjoyed the musings of the author about how these stories can be explained by the psychological make up of these people. The author would be a wonderful dinner guest or beer drinking companion and shares some of the greatest stories in history.

There were a few things that bothered me about the book. First, there are many footnotes, which give the impression that the statements are facts. Ho
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unexpectedly "Hannibal and Me" is full of soulful stories. You meet epic figures from the past and present (the most moving were Eleanor Roosevelt, Meriwether Lewis, Steve Jobs and Ernest Shackleton) and then learn in an unflinching and personal way why some of us succeed, why some of us fail or can't handle success and what type of person can overcome failure. As corny as this may sound, you can't help but reflect on your own life and choices you've made and see yourself in these stories. And I ...more
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is very well written and the topics that it discusses are very relevant for me at this time in my life. It is an anthology of the changes that go on during mid-life for historical figures. I do wish that he had also discussed characters that were perhaps not part of the aristocracy of our world, but it was still well done. I deeply enjoyed the discussions of letting the young hero within us die, a hero that is usually shaped by what our parents wanted for us. We have a sense of mortali ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help, bookend

When people ask me about what I read, I usually point to historical fiction or self-help. This book blends historical fiction help in one awe-inspiring package.

It begins with Hannibal. I knew him as the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps and almost defeated Rome. And at the heart of story the shifting relationships of Hannibal, Scipo Africanus, and Fabius, two Roman leaders.

Along the way, we are treated to life arcs of Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Shackleford (attempting to cross t
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just completed reading his book " Hannibal and Me" - I was lucky to read two of the best books ever (for me) and this is one of them. Andreas is not a great speaker but a brilliant writer.

As someone who have studied Hannibal quite extensively (I for example worked the Berkley Course and read extensively) I regard this as one of the best representations of his life.

However what makes this book so special is that it does not provide you with a mere overview of the great Carthaginian General's li
Matthew Ng
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great read with insightful cross referencing with other historical characters that illuminate the author's point. I learned not just about Hannibal, but also Eleanor Roosevelt, Ludwig Erhard, Morihei Ueshiba and others.

The final chapter is most interesting. The greatest lesson is that history could only teach you that which impresses you. Wrong interpretation would lead to wrong lesson. Be balanced and unmoving in the face of tumultudous forces would be key.

Now, unto the practice of these le
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book offered wonderful insight into steering your life in the right direction, taking control of your actions, how you were raised and how you react to situations to help you find success and live a more fulfilled life. Intertwined throughout the book in the rise and fall of Hannibal, which I throughly enjoyed learning about. As well as other powerful historic figures and how we can learn from their success and failures. A nice balance of self help and history I wish all self help books wer ...more
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Summary: Hannibal was a pretty cool guy. Let's compare his life to other cool people and learn about success and failure.

Why I Read This: Who doesn't want to read about failure?

Review: I actually really enjoyed this. I liked the part-history/part-business aspect of the book. It made it more engaging and interesting. Plus now I have concrete examples of everyone from Scipio to Eleanor Roosevelt to help me better understand the concepts.
Natya Nauri
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is suitable not only for executives, strategists, but also for parents, psychologists, even those who aspire to get self-insight. Reading this book makes you reflect deeply about everything in life. (What should I pursue when I'm young? How should I deal with failure? How to deal with post-power syndrome?) Unlike other self-help books with full of life tips, the author reflects life beautifully through biography of Cartagenian leader: Hannibal. ...more
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Solid. A really thoughtful examination of the arc of life success from the lives of various warriors, thinkers, politicians.

Great book to read if you are interested in thinking deeply about where you are going in life and how you plan on getting there. Engaging and thought provoking. Highly recommended.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Aside from being a treasurehouse of interesting historical information about an amazing range of people, this is also a book which will make you reassess your attitudes about success and failure and setting life goals. Well worth your time!
Margaret Sankey
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Kluth, a correspondent for The Economist, relates the life of Hannibal, and a variety of other potted history bios as a self-help study of surviving triumph and tragedy, never quite getting to what I learned from the elephant man: you can never make your enemy want what you want them to want.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read ever...!
JunRong Ng
Dec 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Finished this book on 2 Dec morning, before meeting with Hyperlive.

What a hidden gem. So much life insights from studying the life of Hannibal and his enemies. Wonderfully done, lessons derived chronologically from the different milestones of his life. I love what the author did, packaging the lessons according to the when it happened in the characters’ lives. Very easy to follow, a chronological narrative.

Highly recommend!

Nine possible insights given by the author in the last chapter:
1. Stay b
Eustacia Tan
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*4.5 Stars*

One day, Cher messaged me to ask me to read Hannibal and Me so that she had someone to discuss it. I assumed that she was done and borrowed the book, but as it turns out, we finished around the same time. We’ve had a bit of a chat about the book on telegram, but it’s time for me to continue writing out my thoughts on the book (hi Cher! I know you read this!).

The first thing to note about Hannibal and Me is that you shouldn’t be thinking about this as a regular history book, not even a
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The author, a writer for The Economist, intertwines the lessons he interprets from the life of Carthaginian general Hannibal with inspiring stories of victory and defeat from other figures in history. He then, lifecoach-style, applies these lessons to the setbacks, inspirations, opportunities, and inspired victories that we normal folk have today. Kluth urges us to think of those leaders and artists for whom victory is not a goal, but a tool. Hannibal won many victories early on, but later had n ...more
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I've been a correspondent for The Economist since 1997, moving from London to Hong Kong to the Bay Area and then Los Angeles. And now I'm also the author of Hannibal and Me. I blog at http://andreaskluth.org/ ...more

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