Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Summer 2014

Seven Pillars of Wisdom

by T.E. Lawrence

A classic pick with new relevance today. Two timely stories in one: historical parallels with the escalating conflict in Iraq and Syria, and a masterclass in mobilising networks towards a common cause

What Western powers initially view as sporadic attacks by untrained insurgents with makeshift resources, quickly unfold as a highly organised move on a string of cities in Syria. T.E. Lawrence’s account of the Arab Revolt of 1917-18, and his role in it, has clear parallels with the escalating conflict in Iraq and Syria; insurgents underestimated, seemingly disparate attacks revealed as well-planned strikes, and a powerful alignment of previously separate factions.

But Lawrence’s account is also about what can be achieved (in this case with lethal consequences) with little or no resources, and dubious authority, by travelling from place to place, sitting down with key individuals, to mobilise their networks towards a common cause.

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