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The Magic of Assuming Command*

Historical Lessons in Personal Mastery

This is a rather intriguing book, that, while not a simple read, is a profoundly engrossing and fascinating one. I think the author overstates the book’s potential in the blurb, but there is much of value here. The author gives us a glimpse of larger than life historical and contemporary figures through the lens of power and personal mastery–how to assume command. The introductory chapter is long but necessary. The author preframes the topics that will be looked at and addressed in the later sections that are actually about the historical and contemporary figures. I like to read and review nonfiction books, so I have often seen modern books on a lot of the topics within this book. I liked seeing the usually historical examples of personal growth and mastery. It is interesting to see the choices and circumstances that made well-known figures who they are/were. We can do well to learn from them, both from their failures and their successes. The book includes a variety of people (mostly men) from different walks of life. Some of the historical figures highlighted in this book are Benjamin Franklin, several presidents, Walter Chrysler, and Tesla. There are even a few stories about contemporary figures, like Steven Spielberg. The author groups several historical or contemporary figures into one chapter under a guiding principle. Some of these guiding principles include seizing initiative, asking for what you want, and authorizing yourself.

The book is not light reading, and I suggest reading it in small chunks. One little point stuck in my craw. I don’t particularly like how the author used the term “hustle” in the book subtitle and in the book proper. It is such a contemporary concept that I am not comfortable with it being applied to historical figures (as most featured in this book are). I’ll admit that History’s Heroes of Hustle, as it states in the subtitle, does have a certain alliterative ring to it, but I think it almost trivializes what the book is about. If you have an interest in history or personal growth, this well-researched (and well-documented) book may be right up your alley.