How we can learn from ancient heroes

Wise heads: Alexander never lost a battle; Hannibal commanded an army which included elephants.

Are historical figures better role models than modern people? Ancient generals Alexander the Great and Hannibal reigned supreme in battle. Some say we could learn from their successes.

What’s happening

Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, has said that the secrets to success lie in the lives of ancient kings. Alexander the Great and Hannibal were two of the greatest generals in history. And they may have more to teach us than modern moguls like Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

Find out more

Here are four lessons from their lives:

1. Be original. When Hannibal invaded Italy, his path was blocked by the huge mountains of the Alps. The Romans expected him to go around them. But he surprised them by marching over the top. Forbes says you must “be an innovator” like Hannibal.

2. Prepare for failure. Even the great Hannibal lost one battle. “No matter how smart you are, you will make mistakes,” Forbes says.

3. Delegate. Alexander the Great could not have won so many battles without help from his generals. Forbes reminds us: “You can’t do it all yourself.”

4. Keep communicating. Eventually Alexander become so powerful, he thought he was a God and stopped listening to his generals. They got their revenge by poisoning him.

Some say…

What great advice. There is a reason why we are still talking about people like Hannibal and Alexander the Great: their achievements and wisdom were so great that their examples last forever. It is much better to study people from history, than follow modern celebrities who will be forgotten in a few years’ time.

Others think…

This is nonsense. The world that these men conquered was nothing like the modern world. They relied on fire for light and fought with swords, horses, and arrows. If we want to succeed in life, we must look up to the statesmen, entrepreneurs, and artists who shaped the modern world. The lessons that Forbes describes are just meaningless clichés.

You Decide

  1. Can we learn much from ancient kings and generals?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are having a party and you can invite three people from history. Who would you invite and why?

Some People Say...

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”

Alexander the Great

What do you think?

Word Watch

Forbes Magazine
American business magazine. Every year, it releases a list of the world’s richest people.
Alexander the Great
Ruled the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. He lived from BC356-323.
Hannibal
Lived between BC247-181.
Moguls
Important people who are very rich or powerful.
Innovator
A person who thinks of new methods and ideas.
Delegate
To gives tasks or responsibilities to another person.
Entrepreneurs
People who set up their own businesses.
Clichés
An overused phrase that lacks strong and original thought.

Subjects

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.