W. Somerset Maugham: A Lesson in the Craft

william-somerset-maugham1This post is a summary of W. Somerset Maugham‘s book The Summing Up, in which he writes in an essay-like fashion on a number of topics related to writing and his life.  Maugham was a prolific writer who had a lot of smart things to say about a great many things as you will soon see. As I read the book it became abundantly clear that Maugham’s insights to writing, life, of adjusting to the market and learning through trial and error, are all of a very high calibre. He was a disciplined guy.

Even though it is a rather short book (ca 200 pages), it is a no-bullshit-straight-to-the-point kind of book that one does not read lightly. Every  page is important and it is easy to lose focus and forgo the point.

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Studying Warlords – Hannibal Barca Part 1

hannibal elephants 2

“I will either find a way, or make one.”

Background

Hannibal Barca is regarded as one of the greatest generals and military strategists in the history of mankind due to the astounding logistical feat of crossing the alps with 45000 men and 70 elephants. He ranked himself as second best in the history of war, placing only Alexander the Great and/or Pyrrhus above him, depending on what sources we get our information from. In either case it says something about his self-esteem.

Hannibal was the eldest son of the great warlord Hamilkar Barca who was responsible for uniting and transforming the Carthaginian Empire into the only  viable threat to the Roman Empire. From an early age Hannibal was instilled with hatred for Rome and is said to have sworn an oath to destroy Rome.

For fifteen years Hannibal and his army roamed around Italy and conquered much of it without any reinforcements from Carthage and remained undefeated by the Romans despite being consistently outnumbered. This was unprecedented in history as the Romans were superior in combat to everyone else.

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