Caesar: The Life of a Colossus
-The life of Caesar is so valuable to us in the modern era because he is a great example of ambition and leadership. This book combines events of ancient Rome with lessons of how an "above average" man became the most powerful man in the world.
-Caesar's success does not begin until age 41 when he sets out for Gaul to became the most successful general in Roman history. (184)
-As a general he was a phenomenal leader, led by example: led his troops on foot like an ordinary legionnaire. He did not expect troops to do anything he could not do himself. (235)
- Caesar new what it took to achieve success: “made the most of his opportunity to win glory and make himself fabulously rich in the process” (292)
- “His strategy in war was aggressive, seizing and maintaining the initiative, and never doubting his ultimate success regardless of the odds that ranged against him." (356)
- Hostility arose as Caesar returned due to jealousy amongst senate members. He gained “too much glory.” (369)
- He had remarkable loyalty from his troops (381). When those below you respect you, those above seem to hate you.
- After fighting and winning the civil war over the notorious Roman General Gnaeus Pompey, he became dictator. Traditionally, dictators were limited to six month terms. Caesar just never gave up his power. (493)
-When it became clear that Caesar had become a monarch rather than just an elected official he joked “I’m not king, but Caesar.” (498) I like this because he knows his greatness, but he's not so insecure that he has to brag about it to everybody.
-Caesar refused to maintain bodyguards because he did not wish to live in fear under close guard. (506) He was dauntless and ambitious to the end.
-I highly recommend this book and encourage readers to search for the qualities that made Caesar a powerful leader and an ambitious man rather than getting into the weeds of specific events and battles.