When I read the summary of this book I thought, “Hmm, this could be interesting.” Well, it turns out the summary that you see on the cover or on a website is about the most interesting part of the book. By way of a positive, it is obvious that a good bit of historical research went in to writing this book. I learned some things about a few historical figures that I had not known before. In fact, if this had not been written as a novel and instead been written as an exploration of the principles for success of the various historical figures in the book it would have been a much better and more readable text.
As the book stands, it is mediocre at best. One of the marks of good writing and good character development is being able to read the lines of a character on a page and distinguish who is talking. Basically, the author fails to make his characters sound different. In good writing, the different characters use different words and sentence structure to distinguish their dialog and the author has to rely less on descriptors. If you have done a good job establishing that a character is arrogant, then you shouldn’t need to use descriptors every time the character speaks (e.g. ‘Churchill replied somewhat arrogantly”) . Andrews does this repeatedly and all his characters, despite coming from vastly different historical times, sound the same. Why does Anne Frank sound like Benjamin Franklin who in turn sounds just like Joan of Arc?
If you are looking for engaging writing, I’m afraid you will have to look elsewhere. The principles “that will save humanity” that are presented in the book are interesting and the way Andrews explores them through the lens of history is interesting, but the dialog and main plot device all feel very weak and contrived and thus make a book that could have been good had it been presented another way quite a bore to read.
Full Disclosure- I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.