Review of Personalities and Problems
Ken Wolfe's Personalities and Problems is a good book that goes into depth about many important figures in history. Each personality that is discussed has played a vital role in how the world has come to be and how it is run; politically, religiously, and even as far as explorations and trade is concerned. Wolfe depicts each personality very well and gives great examples of what each personality has accomplished in his/her lifetime. Each chapter is broken down into groups of two people which have certain similarities or specific differences that link the two together. For example, in his preface, Wolfe states that he grouped Hammurabi and Mahivara together because their actions reflected the dominant values of their society. Each chapter or essay begins with a series of questions that Wolfe answers about the society or personality at hand. His work is laid out very well and concisely.
Personalities and Problems is a balanced work in that it has the same layout for each group of personalities. Wolfe goes into each chapter with the notion that the reader has no previous knowledge of the situations and people he speaks about. As I mentioned earlier, each chapter's participants have something in common or some characteristic that completely contrasts the others. He goes into full detail about what the similarities or differences are between the personalities which he is discussing. One example uses Asoka and Shi Huangdi and compares them to honey and vinegar. He then goes into telling how Asoka believes that it is most effective to run a government by moral persuasion and that Shi Huangdi feels that coercion is the most effective way to govern people. This is just one example of how he states the differences of the two personalities he discusses in a chapter. When Wolfe discusses Confucius and Plato, he states first states that they both agree that only virtuous people could create a peaceful community, but...
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