"What emerges in Carpenter’s prose is an abiding enthusiasm for the subject matter, a consistent optimism, and a clear mastery of the material. The reader is drawn in, and engaged." - Quintus Curtius
In the ancient world, "wisdom literature" was popular. Famous examples include Marcus Aurelius' Meditations and Hesiod's Works and Days. These books were meant to instill in their readers lessons in conduct and decision-making that would enable them to build characters that were just, enterprising, and resilient to reversals of fortune. This genre has sadly been lost in the modern world, concerned as it is with data and numbers over people and experiences. The closest we get are self-help books that can be good at teaching technique, but often lack the type of wisdom that will serve us well in all times and in all situations.
In contrast, this collection of 51 essays examines the careers of some of history's movers and shakers, spanning from the time of the unification of ancient Egypt in 3,100 B.C. to the tumultuous year of 2020. In them, you'll see the traits, habits, value systems, and approaches to decision-making that made them successful, or in certain cases, guaranteed their downfall.
From Joan of Arc's unshakeable belief in her own success that saved her nation and reversed the tides of history, to the pharaoh Akhenaten's arrogant iconoclasm that set Egypt aflame, and from the imaginative, but ethically challenged business model of John D. Rockefeller to the personal demons that sucked Alex Rodriguez's baseball career into a vortex, Lives of the Luminaries is a deep dive into the personalities of history, rich with primary sources. Kings, warriors, writers, philosophers, scientists, scholars, athletes, businessmen, and inventors all come alive in these pages, and with them comes character-building wisdom spanning 5,000 years.
Written between 2015 and 2020, these essays are meant to last and are particularly relevant in this era of increasing mass hysteria and authoritarianism.
The print version of this book is available on Amazon here.
For more information, read the extensive description here
and the official release statement here.