Books

Bookreview: Forty Ways To Look At Winston Churchill – Gretchen Rubin

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No, I did not just pick this book because Gretchen Rubin wrote it. But it did come in handy that my favorite author of all time wrote a book about an important person in history when I got into my head that I need to gain more basic knowledge. Because my basic knowledge is pretty… saddening. A 10-year-old knows more about the world than me. On the other hand, I can probably outsmart the 10-year-old when it comes to knowledge of the brain and how humans work. And nutrition, definitely nutrition. But I can’t deny that my common knowledge can use a (big) boost and fast too.

Gretchen Rubin
So Gretchen Rubin is the author of my personal bible “The Happiness Project”. You can read here five reasons why you should definitely read that. I love the way she writes. It’s cheerful and honest, simple but not too simple. I hate it when writers offend my intelligence by writing like they’re talking to a toddler. The Happiness Project is not the only amazing book she wrote. She also has a lot to say about habit formation and how tiny changes in habit can have a major effect in your life. But more about that later.

Why Winston Churchill?
I didn’t know the first thing about Churchill. Or any other important public figure who had influence in how the world goes round. My interest for him started when Boyfriend and I were addicted to the Netflix series The Crown, which I can totally recommend. Ofcourse you learn a lot about Queen Elizabeth, but Churchill made such an impression on me that I had to learn more about him. What exactly interested me about him? I thought he was endearing. With his cane and his old age (they couldn’t get rid of him till he was about 80 years old – and he kept coming to “work” till he was about 90) he was prime minister when Elizabeth became Queen.

What does the book cover?
40 ways to look at any person seems like a lot of information to work through in a book, but the chapter are nice and short. You can read a chapter on the toilet (I never do though), waiting on the bus, in a small break from work, anywhere really. Topics covered are amongst others:

  • Churchill at Liberty’s Champion: heroic view
  • Churchill as Failed Statesman: critical view
  • Churchill’s Desire for Fame: his motive
  • Churchill as Depressive: the “back dog”?
  • Churchill as Son: his most formative role
  • Churchill as Father: a good parent?
  • Churchill as Painter: his favorite pastime
  • Churchill in Tears: telling details
  • Churchill the Drinker: an alcoholic
  • Churchill and Sex: too interesting to ignore
  • Churchill and Hitler: Nemesis

Related posts:
Why We Should All Read The Happiness Project
– Why I Started Reading Voltaire (Realistic Goalsetting)

How did I get to know Churchill?
A stubborn man, not caring about anyone elses opinion, made up strategies that could be genius as well as catastrophic but he kept pushing them through anyway. An emotional man, not afraid to tear up, cried often in public and was not ashamed about it one bit. A man who at one time seemed to completely understand the English people and at other times didn’t seem to care much about them. A man determined to safe the Empire, a wish he had since early childhood. A man who idealized his father, who didn’t love him or thought much of him, after his death and kept saying he was a great man when he was really not.  The child in him always looked for approval from his late father. A man who lived for the Empire and died when he was finally no longer involved in the matter at the age of 90.

Do I recommend this book?
Yes, especially when your common knowledge is lacking like mine, this is an easy way to gain information about important figures in history and the relationships between them (Hitler, Roosevelt). In this book, the author has tried to give an overall picture about the man from multiple perspectives, having read countless books on Churchill and managing to fit a lot of it in one not too big of a book. I think it’s a remarkable thing she did here.

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Did you read this book? What did you think? 

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