Robert Greene is a well-known writer in his domain. He writes mostly motivational books (that very well within his domain as well). However, to rate Greene’s literature in the best possible way, one has to be accustomed to his signature moves in a book. To give a glimpse so that the readers of Indian Book Critics can understand it better, Robert Greene is like the chess player, when he writes a book, who plays the pieces on both the sides of the chessboard. Did you get that? You will, as you read his book The 33 Strategies of War and other titles. In this review, I will discuss the one that tells the readers every moment in life is like a war being fought.
The 33 Strategies of War is a classic book with the art of deception very much embedded, perhaps, as the central feature of the book itself. Robert has tried to extract lessons for life from the annals of history – World Wars, wars between nations and wars between the great kings from our history books. However, let me say at the very outset, the author has seemingly failed in doing what he intended to do. Nevertheless, he ended up doing something which may be termed interesting and exciting, in terms of keeping the readers intact with this voluminous book.
As the title suggests, there are 33 chapters in the book and each of them discusses a different strategy of war, drawn from the books of history, offers a life-like situation based interpretation and tries to teach the readers something which, possibly, might not be learnt from that! Further to the chapter division which seems natural, there is also a distinct part-wise division, with chapters divided into 5 different parts, of the chapters which does not seem convincing (compared to the apparent and even-looking chapter division).
For the readers who understand historical contexts and know a fair amount of history themselves, this book might seem interesting and they might be curious enough to read the book to great lengths. However, the readers who are not very mich friendly with facts and figures of history might find the book not very interesting. The reason is very simple. Unless you know what the author is trying to allude to, you will not be very much convinced of the lessons that Greene draws (which often seems forceful).
Since the book is touted as self-help and motivational book, I might overlook the above-mentioned troubles for the readers who are not very friendly with history, can I discount it being overly repetitive? Certainly not! I can understand that the length of the book could not have gone as far as it has gone already without uncalled for and unnecessary repetitions that the author has featured in drawing conclusions of his ideas. The book is, if you see it carefully from a height considerable and really enough, a painfully philosophical attempt of an author in trying to do something which might seldom be done by the experts with multiple doctorates in Philosophy!
Do I advise against reading this book? No! I do advise that the readers should take interest in this book and try to find the things that interest them. However, if they find it painful enough and cannot bear it after certain chapters have passed, do put it aside and thank the author for his arduous job in making the impossible happen on the pages of this beautifully ‘designed’ book. I mean literal design. I don’t intend to offend.
On a personal note, I find this book interesting. Though not interesting enough to advise someone strongly about reading this book. However, if you are a reader who is interested in reading different, The 33 Strategies of War is a book that you will certainly like venturing into, to a length before you think it’s overpowering. Enjoy your ride!
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Review by Alok for Indian Book Critics
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The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene | Review
- Indian Book Critics' Rating
A book that should be read to understand how to dissimilar things can be brought together to bring the best in terms of motivation and otherwise, in terms of content. The philosophy that is unconvincing and writing that is remarkably holding the readers irrespective of their interest in the content… an enigma! Enjoy your read.