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.