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.