Napoleon Bonaparte

Where did it all go wrong? From military prodigy to exile and death in St Helena. But what a sparkling career you had in between. Perhaps you should have made the switch from fighting to banking while you had the chance, especially since you were good at maths.

It seems that your obsession with conquering Europe was your downfall. There comes a time when all of us have to recognize that we have achieved as much as we can and settle for consolidating our position. Once you had become emperor of France, was there really anywhere else to go? You showed great promise in the financial world with your plans to found the Bank of France, stabilize the franc and set up a decent system of tax and local government. Could you have explored these areas further?

Your heart lay with the military, and the domination of Europe. But your public relations department failed you, and Europe decided it did not want to be conquered. You invited being challenged, and that’s what you provoked. Your military planning finally let you down when you delayed the deployment of Grouchy to follow the retreating Prussians, allowing Blucher to join with Wellington. And we all know what happened at Waterloo.

Perhaps if you had surrounded yourself with the right team, and been a little more open to advice, you would have lived up to the massive potential that you showed throughout most of your working life.

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