Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
A compact, profoundly inspiring book that captures the spirit of Nelson Mandela, distilling the South African leader’s wisdom into 15 vital life lessons
We long for heroes and have too few. Nelson Mandela, who recently celebrated his ninety-fourth birthday, is the closest thing the world has to a secular saint. He liberated a country from a system of violent prejudice and helped unite oppressor and oppressed in a way that had never been done before.
Now Richard Stengel, the editor of Time magazine, has distilled countless hours of intimate conversation with Mandela into fifteen essential life lessons. For nearly three years, including the critical period when Mandela moved South Africa toward the first democratic elections in its history, Stengel collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography and traveled with him everywhere. Eating with him, watching him campaign, hearing him think out loud, Stengel came to know all the different sides of this complex man and became a cherished friend and colleague.
In Mandela’s Way, Stengel recounts the moments in which “the grandfather of South Africa” was tested and shares the wisdom he learned: why courage is more than the absence of fear, why we should keep our rivals close, why the answer is not always either/or but often “both,” how important it is for each of us to find something away from the world that gives us pleasure and satisfaction—our own garden. Woven into these life lessons are remarkable stories—of Mandela’s childhood as the protégé of a tribal king, of his early days as a freedom fighter, of the twenty-seven-year imprisonment that could not break him, and of his fulfilling remarriage at the age of eighty.
This uplifting book captures the spirit of this extraordinary man—warrior, martyr, husband, statesman, and moral leader—and spurs us to look within ourselves, reconsider the things we take for granted, and contemplate the legacy we’ll leave behind.
RICHARD STENGEL is the editor of Time magazine. He collaborated with Nelson Mandela on Mandela’s bestselling 1993 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and later served as coproducer of the 1996 Oscar-nominated documentary Mandela. He is also the author of January Sun and You’re Too Kind. Stengel is married to Mary Pfaff and they have two sons.
Time editor Richard Stengel spent nearly three years traveling with Nelson Mandela, collecting hours of conversation about his life for Mandela's autobiography. Stengel talks about what he learned from Mandela, and his book, Mandela's Way. More at NPR.org
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“There is no man I admire more than Nelson Mandela. Rick Stengel’s wise and moving book captures the Nelson Mandela I have been privileged to know. But reading Mandela’s Way gave me new insights and inspiration. I am confident it will give the same gifts to others. I was inspired anew, and I know others will be too.”—President Bill Clinton
“This delightfully inspiring book is a philosophical guide to how we can aspire to achieve Mandela’s grace and how we can draw upon his greatness as a model for the comportment of our lives each day.”—Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University
“Nelson Mandela has lived every word of his teaching, whatever the cost. His abiding lesson is about forgiveness. Mandela’s Way takes us into the inner life of one of the most of important heroes of the century. There are lessons here that could radically change the way you live your life.”—Deepak Chopra, author of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription
“Mandela’s Way is a timely and welcome reminder of this great man’s political genius, personal integrity, and peerless instinct for survival and triumph. Every world leader should keep Mandela’s Way within easy reach.”—Tom Brokaw
“Here is the wisdom of the world’s greatest moral leader brilliantly distilled by a wonderful writer. From the time they spent working closely together on Mandela’s memoirs, Rick Stengel draws fifteen big life lessons plus hundreds of smaller insights, while also giving us an intimate and astonishingly honest look at this inspiring human being.”—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Einstein
“Mandela’s Way is an electrically exciting, direct, and vivid way of making greatness tangible, human and complex. Richard Stengel has honed all the elegance and lucidity of thirty years of brilliant cultural and political writing into a book to illuminate, to inspire—and to endure.”—Pico Iyer, author of The Open Road and The Lady and the Monk