Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life, Love and Courage

Posted April 30, 2019 in Latest News & Insights, What We're Reading

By: Richard Stengel and Preface by Nelson Mandela

Reviewed by: Shelby Gobbo

The Premise: Following a preface from Nelson Mandela, Richard Stengel, former editor of Time magazine has written a compact, yet amazing book on the life and lessons of the infamous Nelson Mandela. One of my favourite quotes from the book, “we long for heroes and have too few,” sets the stage for the call to action that Stengel brings to life as a result of learning from Mandela which is: what is our legacy?

Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life, Love and Courage is a book that shares the journey of an amazing leader through the eyes of a brilliant writer. What I particularly enjoyed about this approach was that it was not just a story of what happened, or what was. It is a story of the experiences, and how the experiences and learnings were in the eyes of someone who was not Mandela, but in the eyes of someone who is like ‘us.’ Like those of us, all of us, who are not Nelson Mandela. The book starts and continues with the approach through the eyes of Richard Stengel and I think that in part is extremely effective. With chapters like “See Good in Others”, which was one of my personal favourite sections, Stengel outlines how he witnessed Mandela behave; and in one of the most impactful sections in the book shares that…  “[so]me call it a blind spot, others naiveté, but Mandela sees almost everyone as virtuous until proven otherwise.” Following Mandela intimately for 3 years, Stengel writes and shares just how Mandela was an extraordinary man and truly captures the essence of his spirit. Through 15 lessons that Stengel summarizes, the most important message that is displayed is a call to action for us to look at our own selves. The book calls us to look at ourselves and look at what we are questioning in our own lives. More importantly, calls us to question what we are taking for granted; things that we should not be taking for granted. Finally, the book, the entire book, calls us to not only think about the image and essence that we are showing now but more importantly what is the image we are leaving as a memory when we leave this place; what is the legacy each and everyone one of us wants to leave behind.

The Bottom-line: While filled with many lessons and years of wisdom, this book is easy to read and extremely well written by former Time magazine editor Richard Stengel. Sharing unbelievable stories of resilience, patience and courage about Nelson Mandela, Stengel really makes you feel as if you were along on the journey with him, watching and learning from Mandela. Stengel shares how these 15 lessons are so ground-breaking, yet at the core, so simple, so humble.

 Recommendation: If you are looking to end the day feeling a little more humbled and a little wiser, I recommend opening this book and reading cover to cover. And then, giving it a second read.


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