Book review: How to Think Like Churchill by Daniel Smith
‘What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who live in it after we are gone?’ said Winston Churchill in 1908.
He was Britain’s inspirational wartime leader, the most gifted orator of his age and one of the defining figures of the 20th century… so what can we learn from the life of the great man?
In the fifth book in his entertaining and informative Think Like series, Daniel Smith looks at the important moments in Churchill’s political, military and personal life, and reveals the key principles, philosophies and decisions that made him such an important historical and cultural figure.
By studying how and why he accomplished such major feats, how he overcame adversity and stood strong in the face of overwhelming odds, and by reading his incisive words, Smith takes us on an entertaining and enlightening journey through Churchill’s life and world vision.
Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955, Winston Churchill will always be remembered for his leadership during the Second World War and his commitment to ‘never surrender.’
His stirring speeches and radio broadcasts helped inspire British resistance to the Nazi threat when the country stood alone against an occupied Europe. Through some of the finest speeches ever heard and by sheer force of will, he dragged the nation through the war while partners in Europe were collapsing.
‘I have always earned my living by my pen and by my tongue,’ he wrote in 1954 on his 80th birthday, and a year after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.
But the road to leadership had not been easy for the boy born in 1874 into one of the great English aristocratic families. His childhood was tainted by unhappiness and he left school marked out as one who ‘could do better.’
Churchill opted to join the military and launched a twin career as an army man and journalist. Within a few years, his ambition and drive had made him extraordinarily successful and he entered the House of Commons in 1900.
However, his political career stalled when he spearheaded the disastrous Gallipoli campaign during the First World War, and he was both ridiculed and reviled in the Commons during the 1930s for continually attacking a policy of appeasement towards Hitler.
Churchill’s defining moment came in 1940 when he became Prime Minister of a wartime coalition government and led Britain from her darkest hour to her finest hour. By fending off the Nazi threat, he bought the world time and space to defeat Hitler.
Examining in detail this complex, fallible and yet truly remarkable man, Smith shows how more ordinary mortals can learn to win over the boardroom with the perfect speech, master the art of the English language using wit, wordplay and wisecracks, lead from the front and turn setbacks into positives.
The perfect book for those determined never to surrender to failure!
(Michael O’Mara, hardback, £12.99)