Alexander Hamilton’s Guide To Life – Review and Giveaway

Alexander Hamilton book

Life has been a bit crazy lately.

Okay, a lot crazy.

When I received Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life by Jeff Wilser to review, I thought, “Great! That is exactly what I need.  I can use some life tips from someone successful.  Alexander Hamilton fits the bill!”  (Yes, pun intended.)

At over 300 pages, I set out for a deep read, ready to learn and grow from the knowledge imparted by one of our founding fathers.  What I found, was not so much deep thinking, as an easy read about Alexander’s life.  The Introduction put it well:

It is not a traditional biography. Instead, it’s the kind of manual that Hamilton would have written himself, perhaps, had he lived to be an old man.  That’s a bold claim, and of course Hamilton’s actual Guide to Life would have been smarter, deeper, longer, and Founding Fatherer.

Thankfully, it was not a list of maxim of Hamilton’s, as that would have been long, perhaps a bit boring, and not really taught me about the man.  Instead, what I found were sections organized around various parts of life.  These sections were then broken down into chapters based on one of Hamilton’s maxims.  (He had many and obviously they were not all used in this book, else it would have been much longer.)

The 10 areas of life covered were: Self-improvement, Career Advancement, Romance, Money, Style & Etiquette, Leisure, Friends & Family, Leadership, Office Politics, and Honor.

Within these pages, I found a founding father who was not as I had thought him to be.  Perhaps it was due to how the author chose to portray Hamilton, or maybe it was because he really was that different from what I had expected.  As it turns out, he did not have the same pedigree background as the other Fathers, he beginnings were much more humble.  He was mainly self taught rather than attending a prestigious school or having a tutor.  AND he was never President!

Disciplined. Forges his own path. Honor bound, to a fault. Studious.  These are all words which I now associate with this man.

Coming from a very less than ideal family life in one of the colonies, he was looked on as not a “true” American by some of his cohorts. That did not stop him, though, from doing his best to share his knowledge to make the country better.  Even when others dismissed him or politics got in the way, he tried to persevere.

In the end it was his honor, his pride, that got him killed.  Something which seems silly now, but was taken somewhat seriously back then – a challenge to duel over an insult.

The point of this book was not an in-depth study of the man, and perhaps that is why I come away feeling as such.  The author was clear on his point of the book (“not a traditional biography”, “), though I did not take it as seriously as I should have.  The first indication for me that I should have taken the author at his word was when I came across a reference to a modern day game.  It seemed very much out of place and like the author was trying to force a connection. (There was another reference or two throughout the book which made me feel the same, though not too many.)

While I am glad to have gotten to know a bit more about Hamilton, I feel as though there was a lot more left out.  Or perhaps it was the feeling of the author choosing what to share about this man. Or maybe it was the feeling of the book being written only because there was a musical coming out.

Either way, Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life is a good one for an introduction to the man, a place to start learning more.  If you already know a bit about him, then I would suggest moving on to a different book.


Would you like to have to chance to read the book for yourself?


Blogging For Books sent me an extra book which I am giving away!

As this is my first giveaway on the blog, I am going to keep it simple.  By 12 PM EST of Saturday (April 22), leave a comment below telling me what was the most recent book you read and why you would recommend it (or not).

Using the True Random Number Generator I will choose a winner and post it on Monday the 24th.  You will have till Wednesday to respond or I will choose a new winner. (If you leave your email when you leave a comment, I will email you if you win.)

Please, share this with your friends.  You will not get any extra entries for it (keeping it simple, remember), but I would greatly appreciate it!  I will post it on Facebook and Twitter, which should make sharing it easier. Thank you.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

27 Replies to “Alexander Hamilton’s Guide To Life – Review and Giveaway”

  1. The most recent book I read was “Shapes under the Sea” which is a great children’s book for toddles or kids just learning to read.

    1. Thanks for sharing. I think this would be right up George’s alley; he loves animals and is transitioning over to fish.

  2. The most recent book I read was ‘How to Be a Tudor’ by Ruth Goodman. If you enjoy social history and learning about how people actually lived — e.g. how they did the laundry, washed their hair, and answered nature’s call — then this is a fascinating read. The author is a historian specializing in living history (she’s got a lot of BBC specials) and she’s actually tried out virtually all of the methods in the book, so you get a first hand account of what it’s like to, say, not take a bath for months at a time.

    1. Sounds like an interesting read, definitely up my alley. The fact that she tried out a lot of these things is impressive. It is easy to write about them, harder to actually do it.

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. The most recent book I read is “The Wonder” by Emma Donoghue. I would definitely recommend this book.

    1. I would recommend it because it is a very interesting read. It is based on a true story about nurse called to Ireland to observe a “miracle” – a girl said to have survived without food for months.

  4. I don’t get much reading in these days. I do help my daughter read The Dork Diaries Series. I would totally recommend it for any with kids in the age range.

    1. Oh, I have been there. For a season of my life, I did not get any books read. It felt like forever. Even now I do not read as much as I would like to.

  5. I’m currently just finished R.A. Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt. I loved the book. I would for sure recommend it to anyone who is into Fantasy/Adventure books. I would recommend anything by R.A. Salvatore, he is an amazing author. I have almost a whole book case filled with his books. They are even better to read a second time.

    1. That is an author I don’t know. I will have to look up more about him and his books. The fact that you have a whole shelf of them AND have read them more than once is usually a good recommendation for a book/s. 🙂

  6. The last book I read was How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I wuold recommend it. It’s an interesting read and has real world application

  7. The most recent book I read is “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks. I would definitely recommend this book, it’s very romantic.

  8. The last book I read was “Yes, Please!” By Amy Poehler and I recommend it to everyone! It’s a great book, but also, Amy Poehler is my spirit animal 🙂

  9. The most recent book I’ve read was all the breaking waves and I would recommend it because it’s an interesting mystery!

  10. I just finished The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark, and I definitely recommend it. Her books are so good.

  11. The most recent book I read was a Girl at War relating life during the Bosnian-Croatian War and its aftermath ten years later on a survivor. It is excellent for teens as the protagonists are about 9-11 during the war and in college when coming to terms with their experiences.

  12. I’m currently reading Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. I’d previously read her novel Garden Spells. These two novels are quirky stories based in the south with lots of unique characters. I love books with interesting characters!

  13. The last book I read was A bullet for Carlo by Giacomo Giammatteo. I love crime stories and this is awesome!

  14. I don’t know if you would want to read something scary–this definitely isn’t for kids–but I recently very much enjoyed the graphic novel “Uzumaki” by Junji Ito. It’s about a town invaded by strange spiral shapes.

  15. The most recent book I read (and still currently reading) is A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Gary Cullen. It is for teenagers to guide them on the proper path in life but written like an exciting story. The author is my coworker but he is a good writer.

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