An imaginative and highly creative take on motivation and
life coaching by a non-fiction author who is entertaining and engaging. Lew infuses large swathes of personality and
humour into his writing, and is very easy to relate to. He clearly has huge interest and knowledge of
his field of expertise: the military history of ancient China. Using popular fables and anecdotes from this
long, eventful period, he goes on to apply the lessons of the time to how we
approach life generally in the modern world, and he does so articulately, with a
real sense of fun.
The fables are given some sort of overall context by their correlation
to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, though I have to be honest and say that
here is where I start to miss the association a little. The book seems to use quotations and
references from the very short classic publication to go on and provide some
introduction to the fables, but in my opinion he needn’t; I would even go as
far as to say that citing The Art of War in this way doesn’t really add
anything of value to his otherwise very unambiguous and concise book. It seems to present the teachings of Sun Tzu
and apply them to the subsequent lessons quite subjectively – it does bring to
mind a little those who selectively interpret religious texts like the Bible
and the Quran to suit their discourse. This
refreshingly energetic author has obviously put a huge amount of hard work, research
and knowledge of the overall subject into his book, but I would personally have
liked to see a much clearer linear structure to its context, throughout; as it
is, it feels a bit scattergun – interesting and entertaining, but difficult to
keep traction with, because there doesn’t appear a smooth and clearly defined
route to its narrative.
Arguably the best section of the book is the Appendix, which
delves more deeply into the lives of the historical figures featured in his
book, and the brutal and ruthless feudal world they lived in. In my opinion, it is worth reading the book
if even just for this section alone, and I’m not exaggerating in saying that
the genuine endearing quality of Lew’s work and passion into this episode in
history improved my overall rating for this book.
Overall, despite my shortcomings about the narrative, I
enjoyed this book, and I think you will too.
Lew is a nice writer to read, and I hope to read more from him.
In : Book Reviews