On the Social Contract

by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Review (max 500 words): Rousseau's principal aim in writing The Social Contract is to determine how freedom may be possible in civil society, and we might do well to pause briefly and understand what he means by "freedom." In the state of nature we enjoy the physical freedom of having no restraints on our behavior. By entering into the social contract, we place restraints on our behavior, which make it possible to live in a community. By giving up our physical freedom, however, we gain the civil freedom of being able to think rationally. We can put a check on our impulses and desires, and thus learn to think morally. The term "morality" only has significance within the confines of civil society, according to Rousseau. Not just freedom, then, but also rationality and morality, are only possible within civil society. And civil society, says Rousseau, is only possible if we agree to the social contract. Thus, we do not only have to thank society for the mutual protection and peace it affords us; we also owe our rationality and morality to civil society. In short, we would not be human if we were not active participants in society. This last step determines the heavily communitarian perspective that Rousseau adopts. If we can only be fully human under the auspices of the social contract, then that contract is more important than the individuals that agree to it. After all, those individuals only have value because they agree to that contract. The contract is not affirmed by each individual separately so much as it is affirmed by the group collectively. Thus, the group collectively is more important than each individual that makes it up. The sovereign and the general will are more important than its subjects and their particular wills. Rousseau goes so far as to speak of the sovereign as a distinct individual that can act of its own accord. We might react to these arguments with serious reservations, and indeed, Rousseau has been accused of endorsing totalitarianism. We live in an age where individual rights are considered vitally important, and it is insulting to think that we are just small parts of a greater whole. Rather than make freedom possible, it would seem to us that Rousseau's system revokes freedom. Rousseau would not take these charges lying down, however. Looking at us in the new millennium, he might suggest that we are not free at all. On the whole, we may lack any kind of personal agency or initiative. We often have difficulty interacting with one another in any meaningful way, and it could be argued that our decisions and behavior are largely dictated to us by a consumer culture that discourages individual thought. His system, he might claim, only seems unattractive to us because we have totally lost the community spirit that makes people want to be together. Citizens in his ideal republic are not forced into a community: they agree to it for their mutual benefit. He might argue that the citizens of ancient Greece and Rome were very active and capable of achievements that we have not come close to emulating since. The community spirit that united them did not intrude upon their individuality; rather, it gave individuality an outlet for its fullest expression.

Evance Henrico

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

 

 

The War of Art

by Steven Pressfield

Overall, the book is more motivational as opposed to teaching any particular skill or even telling a story. Although Steven Pressfield does give some personal anecdotes about his own struggles with writing, odd jobs he’s worked, and more. It’s the kind of book that perhaps you would never pick up and become entranced by the story, but on the other hand it is the kind of book you could randomly pick up, read a paragraph, and feel a bit more motivated to pursue your endeavors. For example, here’s a quick couple of sentences from the beginning of the book to give you an idea of the type of book it is, “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” (I personally just replace “real writers” with “real entrepreneurs”, etc to apply to business owners and creators in general). The book is broken down into 3 Parts: Book One: Resistance – Defining the Enemy Book Two: Combating Resistance – Turning Pro Book Three: Beyond Resistance – Higher Realm In Book One: Resistance, Pressfield basically destroys every reason you’ve ever rationalized for not getting something done. Accomplishing your goals (creative, business, or otherwise) is a battle. You are fighting resistance. And this resistance is manifested in all kinds of ways; procrastination, criticizing others, fear, depression, and many others. Here’s a small gem from the first section of the book: Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death. In Book Two: Combating Resistance, the author delves deeper into how to overcome resistance and to truly become a pro. “The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time. That’s what I mean when I say turning pro. Resistance hates it when we turn pro.” This section covers more motivational tips for overcoming resistance and truly dedicating yourself to your “craft”. Finally, in Book Three: Beyond Resistance – Higher Realm, Pressfield talks more about some of the intangible things that can work in your favor – forces that you can tap into to help you accomplish things. These forces act as the antithesis of Resistance; and he uses words like, muse, angels, love, magic, dreams, ego, life, death, and more. I think the book is good for what it was written for: a motivational book for anyone involved in creating anything. Is it a good story? No. Does it teach you a valuable skill? Not really. Will it help you overcome your inner battles and get you back to work? Probably. So, this book has to be read with the knowledge that its not really written like other books. You could consume this book in a couple of days; but you could also just open it up randomly and get some unique thoughts that might change how you view your current situation. Overall, I really liked the book. Steven Pressfield hit on a lot of “resistance” points that I face when trying to find ideas for photography, build a new photography website, or improve my own communication skills in some way. Being able to view resistance for what it is (part of an ongoing battle), helps me understand that it's not just me...but others also experience the same things.

Evance Henrico

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

by Gail Honeyman

This is a really good read and I highly recommend it. This book tackles issues such as loneliness, surviving childhood trauma and body image. Honeyman cleverly unravels the culmination of layers which reveal the inner conflict Eleanor experiences as a result of a childhood trauma. The dichotomy between comedy and tragedy elicits a sense of poignancy yet affection we as readers feel towards Eleanor, even though we recognise that she is quite unconventional. Honeyman delineates the significance human interactions have in our daily lives and the power they have to bring about change or misery. Whilst this book is not your average first person narrative, Eleanor’s matter of fact, black and white attitude acts to question the importance of existing societal norms that, upon reflection, you realize do not make sense. Honeyman’s almost seamless, detailed writing compels you to continuously turn the page, as if possessed by the spell of her words. The deceptively ‘normal environment’ she creates almost makes us feel as if we are witnessing real people experience the ups and downs of life. Ultimately, this book was very well written and encourages you to not put it down.

Nicole Jean-Louis

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The aim of the Discourse is to examine the foundations of inequality among men, and to determine whether this inequality is authorized by natural law. Rousseau attempts to demonstrate that modern moral inequality, which is created by an agreement between men, is unnatural and unrelated to the true nature of man. To examine natural law, Rousseau argues, it is necessary to consider human nature and to chart how that nature has evolved over the centuries to produce modern man and modern society. To do this, he begins in the imaginary state of nature, a condition before society and the development of reason. Discarding the Biblical account of human creation and development, Rousseau attempts to conjecture, or guess, what man in this state would be like. He examines man's physical and mental characteristics, and finds him to be an animal like any other, motivated by two key principles: pity and self-preservation. The only real attribute that separates him from the animals is his perfectibility, a quality that is vitally important in the process Rousseau goes on to describe. Man in the state of nature has few needs, no idea of good and evil, and little contact with other humans. Nevertheless, he is happy. However, man does not remain unchanged. The quality of perfectibility allows him to be shaped by, and to change in response to, his environment. Natural forces such as earthquakes and floods drive men into all parts of the globe, and force them to develop language and other skills. As men come into contact more frequently, small groups or societies start to form. The human mind begins to develop, and as man becomes more aware of others, he develops a series of new needs. The emergence of reason and society are related, but the process by which they evolve is a negative one. As men start to live in groups, pity and self- preservation are replaced by amour propre, which drives men to compare themselves to others, and to need to dominate others in order to be happy. The invention of property and the division of labor represent the beginning of moral inequality. Property allows for the domination and exploitation of the poor by the rich. Initially, however, relations between rich and poor are dangerous and unstable, leading to a violent state of war. As an attempt to escape from this war, the rich trick the poor into creating a political society. The poor believe that this creation will secure their freedom and safety, but in fact it merely fixes the relations of domination that existed before, creating laws to establish inequality. Inequality is now more or less unrelated to man's original nature; physical inequality is replaced by moral inequality. Rousseau's account of the operation of society focuses on its various stages. Beginning with the trick played by the rich, he sees society as becoming more and more unequal, until its last stage, which is despotism, or the unjust rule of everyone by one man. This development is not inevitable, but it is extremely likely. As wealth becomes the standard by which men are compared, conflict and despotism become possible. For Rousseau, the worst kind of modern society is that in which money is the only measure of value.

Evance Henrico

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

Leadership and Self-Deception

by The Arbinger Institute

Leadership and Self-Deception is an outstanding book that endeavors to highlight the subconscious limitations of even the best of leaders through the use of relatable analogies. The authors explain self deception as an unhealthy but common mindset that obscures one from seeing the true source of any problem they encounter, which therefore undermines their approach to solving it. This is what causes someone to be “in the box”, a terminological phrase the authors use to explain the act of being self deceived. This book is structured in a more story like narrative, than a guidebook one, which I believe gives the reader an easier connection to the message as they are following a singular character, Tom, that embodies a vast majority of people in one way or another. I enjoyed this book immensely, because it got through to me. I saw myself as being inside the box, and the anecdotes of Tom helped me see this. There were numerous times where I would read about a situation in which Tom self deceived, and agree with. However, once it was explained how it was an example of self deception, I couldn’t help but see the logic in it, and evaluate myself. I am of the opinion that this book’s message will open anyone’s eyes, especially an aspiring leader. Self deception is incredibly hard to spot in one’s self, but this book aids in guiding you to mastering such an invaluable skill. Personally, I don’t enjoy guidebooks as I feel that they are too vague or unrelatable to my situations, but I would say that this is an exception. I fully recommend Beacon Scholars giving this book a try, and am sure it’s effectiveness will surprise you like it did to me.

Mushabe Rutega

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

 

Becoming

by Michelle Obama

This book is an autobiography about Michelle Obama, and her life from being an ordinary girl to being the first African American First Lady of the United States of America. Michelle was born on the 17th of January 1964 to a middle class family in Chicago. Her father was a pump operator, and her mother dedicated her life to take care of her and her brother, Craig Robinson. Michelle Obama was a very bright student since she was young. She attended Princeton University, and earned a scholarship at Harvard University in 1988. During her time at University, Michelle found it hard to fit in with everyone else. Her roommates moved rooms because they did not want to share a room with a coloured person. She was either ‘Too Black for the White people’, or too ‘White for the black people’. Barack Obama met Michelle in 1989, and they got married in 1992. They welcomed their first daughter in 1998 (Malia Obama) and their second daughter in 2001. In 2002, she was appointed as the executive director of community affairs at University of Chicago Hospitals. She however quit her job to work in her husband’s presidential campaign. Barack Obama became the president of the United States of America in 2009, and Michelle volunteered in homeless shelters, and soup kitchens.It was very difficult for her and her family to get used to the life in the state house, since they were not wealthy before Barack became president. When his time in office was done and Donald Trump was elected as president, Trump made very hurtful comments about Barack. He even accused him for not being born in the USA, and this put the whole Obama family in danger. After leaving the White House, they settled in a neighbourhood close to the White House, and had everything arranged the way it was in the White House. In my opinion, I would recommend this book because it shows that you do not have to have everything to be someone. You have to come from somewhere. Even though Michelle Obama was discriminated, and abused, she did not let that bring her down. Even though she grew up in a small house, and at times lacked, she did not let that define who was she was.

Angel Mailu

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

The Power of Habit

by Charles Duhigg

The power of habit effectively describes The Power of Habit. Charles Duhigg dives into the complex process of forming and breaking a habit showing the reader that whether we know it or not our lives are fundamentally ran by habits. Each part of the book centers around a key aspect of habit formation and through case studies, it shows how a single habit can be the fundamental contributor to outcomes in one’s life, an organization or even a movement. As the reader turns the pages it becomes eerily clear the wealth of knowledge being added to one’s life and how to be more in control of it. The book is life changing and implementing even a section of its action plans will go a long way.

Naikena Mutulili 

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


Ever asked yourself why you do what you do in your life? or how to change certain behaviours that you have? This book has the answers and it goes beyond just your life but can translate into your business. This book was absolutely fantastic. In all honestly it's very rare that you will find me reading a lot of what many would call a self-help book. I usually love fiction or when it comes to true stories, give me a good crime mystery. However, this book was so much more that what I imagine self-help books to be. The power of habits. Why we do what we do. Why people do what they do. It goes beyond the individual to the organizations. Anyone can learn from this book; it is for every occupation and every character. I believe I have a much deeper understanding about who I am because of this book and it has also helped me move forward towards changing the habits I have that I do not like. Of course this doesn't happen overnight but it’s been significant in the process. You would think such a book wouldn't be as interesting or entertaining as a fiction novel. However, I found myself just as hooked when reading the experiments, the backgrounds and experiences. It is definitely a book I would recommend others to read. As a leader this book can help you create systems based on habit to reach the goals of a team as well as the individuals within it and help you work more effectively and efficiently. So worth the read!!!

Shakinar Mutulili

Rating: 4.5 Interesting/Recommend

 


 

Unbowed

by Wangari Maathai

Unbowed is the story of a woman who persevered and did not listen to the discouraging voices that told her that girls don’t need to go to school. Her interest in learning started in the very beginning of her education. Her cousin wrote on an exercise book with a pencil and she was amazed by this, however when he took out his rubber and rubbed it out it blew her mind. Ever since that day Wangari worked hard in school she earned a bachelors and masters degree in biological science and became the first female doctorate to head a university department. Wangari then became an environmentalist and dispite being attacked by the government she persuaded others to join her campains. Wangari Mathai founded the Green Belt movement that aims to protect and revive forests in Kenya. She was rewarded with the noble peace prize. The book taught me that one person can make a huge difference if they believe in themselves and ignore those who discourage them.

Betty Kunyada

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey expresses his views of how we perceive the world and that in order to change a situation we need to change ourselves. Not only that but, in order to change ourselves we need  change our perceptions. The book is filled with messages from a long term study into the principles of success on how to live a happier and more effective life. Covey outlines that in today’s age, success is measured by personal performance, skill and status. He argues that the best way to reach long lasting success is by following seven of these fundamental 'rules'/principles, the First Rule being to have a productive mindset. This means replacing reactive language such as ‘I am going to fail’ with proactive language such as ‘I need to study harder’. It also means understanding what you can control, influence and determine in one’s own life by using your own agenda. The Second Rule is to begin with an end in mind. This basically means having a clear vision to follow and that all decisions and all steps made are towards a specific goal. This acts as a guideline towards what you want to accomplish and what you stand for in general. The Third Rule is to put things first. This is getting into the habit of prioritising based on what is most important and not what is more urgent. This requires the discipline to focus and stay on track no matter how displeasing the task is. The Fourth Rule is to think 'win-win'. This means creating scenarios which results in a situation where both parties are happy. This teaches us to be considerate towards others as well as to have the courage to stick to what you stand for. The Fifth Rule is to seek, understand, then be understood. This means listening to others and putting your points forth and is one of the most important qualities of being a leader. The Sixth Rule is to synergise which means that your approach should always be based on respect and cooperation: make yourself easy to work with. Lastly, the Seventh Rule, is maintenance. This entails taking care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. This renewal process allows us to continue up the spiral of self-betterment. Personally I feel the book opens our minds on how to perfect our leadership skills and how to pave your way towards being a healthier person both inside and out. It teaches values such as patience, integrity, humility and innovation as well as refreshing facts that keep the book interesting. Since reading the book, I applied these principles in my day to day life and have seen a sure improvement in my perceptions on how much I can achieve.

Nyawira Mburia

Rating: 4 Interesting

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

by Sean Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey is a guide book that has the transformative power of changing one’s perception of their ability to control the events in their life. With the use of comical cartoons, personal and non-personal anecdotes, and activities, Covey illustrates to teenage readers ways in which they can better themselves in their academic and social spheres. What I appreciate most about this book is Covey’s choice to not solely focus on ways that teenagers can achieve highly in the academic side of their life. He emphasizes that being successful and effective does not necessarily mean studying for long periods of time or basing your self-value of the scores that you receive. He explains that by approaching the challenges and situations you will inevitably face as a teenager with proactivity versus reactivity you will find an improvement in all sectors of your life. Along with this message, Covey challenges mainstream perceptions of control by stating that while not everything in our lives are controllable, we as humans have the choice to control our reactions to their unalterable facts. The sensation of reading this book reminded me of the feeling you get when you breathe in cool air after suffering a stuffy nose. A clogged brain filled with unsolicited pressure, toxic ideologies, and a victim mindset are the stuffed noses that this book successfully attempts to clear. Throughout the guide, Sean Covey interweaves the book with daily activities that readers can use to improve their skills so they may eventually become proactive teenagers who take responsibility rather than reactive ones who blame the world before they blame themselves. A lesson that enables people to stop talking and start acting. The introspection I gained from this novel not only transformed my practical skills but overall made me strive to be a happier person. When I came across bumps in my path (which as a teenager is more often than not) instead of stopping an turning away, I gained the confidence and willpower to find a way over these bumps that once felt like mountains. I found learning opportunities out of the bad times and became increasingly present during the good times. While the book does not directly discuss leadership, it equips leaders with the tools to keep open-minds and think critically and optimistically about their involvement in the world. Additionally, it reminds the readers that in life you may not always be the leader, the start student, the first picked athlete: all of that is okay. What matters is your kindness and your drive to become the best version of you.

Mirengeri Diallo

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

The Challenge for Africa

by Wangari Maathai

In her book, Nobel Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai is on a journey of rediscovering the wealth of Africa; its people and culture, flora and fauna and the challenges of responsible stewardship. Maathai laments that many African countries 'fall short of genuine democracy'. She uses the apt example of the traditional three-legged stool to outline the prerequisites of good governance: respect for what each and every person thinks; respect for the environment; and a general, positive and respectful disposition contributing to a culture of peace.While placing the blame on African leaders who are best placed to effect change and set goals for the future, Maathai acknowledges the problems they face in being fully accountable to the people they represent. She notes a 'reluctance to embrace the concepts of accountability and transparency' in many leaders but points out that 'it is in no one’s interest to have governments threatened by guns, or coups, or civil wars.' Instead she suggests, they should be ‘threatened by votes, cast in free and fair elections. Maathai struggles with the question of the appropriateness of Western goodwill, something which often masks opportunism and a new scramble for African resources. While 'Soviet trawlers off the Angola coast' are busy fishing, Nigeria’s economy has been almost wholly reliant on oil exports. While acknowledging that multinational corporations reap huge benefits, the author also lets us know what became of the Chinese arms destined for Zimbabwe.Ever hopeful, Maathai retraces her own journey of self-discovery and encourages a re-embracing of African-ness and community. With such common ground we can strengthen our identity, she contends, and pass on to future generations something they can hold onto as they take their place on the world stage. This is the beginning of self-determination. While most of what Maathai says has a familiar ring, it is every bit of as relevant today as before. I think the question is one of alternatives. Do they exist? Is there a common sense approach to counter the fear that gives rise to corruption, ethnic tensions and poor governance? Is there an alternative model for the relationship between Africa and the West, one which affirms Africa’s cultural identity and yet enables the equitable sharing of resources? Maathai creates tension as she explores these difficult questions, offering some suggestions, but mainly encouraging a reframing of problems and solutions. I would strongly recommend more people to read this book because it offers a good insight of how Africa could look like if we fixed the damage our present leaders have done by doing the right thing in the future. Maathai gives a good view of where Africa came from, how is it being run and provides us with a wide field of ideas to think and evaluate how the future of our generation is going to look like if we correct the mistakes of our present leaders or if we keep on depending on the Westerners for our survival. This book gives us the knowledge about the future through the history of Africa and begs us to determine whether we are going to be brave and make the difference or let things flow as they have always been flowing.

Evance Henrico

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is the physical manifestation of the term “Quantity over quality”. A slim book filled with immense power, the novel entraps the reader in a series of life changing lessons and messages interwoven throughout the story. The Alchemist follows the curious character of Santiago, a shepherd from Spain as he journeys his way to Egypt to discover his Personal Legend and retrieve a prophesized treasure. On his way Santiago acquaints himself with a number of lovable characters who each individually teach him an important lesson centered around the topic of dreams; where do they go once abandoned? Do they ever really disappear? or is “dream” even  the appropriate term for these desires we have in our lifetime? The idea of Santiago growing and learning with the reader is what makes his character and the novel so endearing. I began clueless about concepts such as “personal legend” and only vague about “the power of attraction”, but so did Santiago. Through the duration of the novel we were able to both grow and become enchanted by the wise words of the Alchemist, feeling each plot twist and each accomplishment as one. Santiago began his story similar to any one of us, confused about the world around us but endlessly curious about the magic it possess. The message that transcended the most to me out of the countless ones mentioned in the book is about the universe conspiring itself in order to let us achieve the things we truly desire in life. The quote stated that “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” In order for the future readers of this book to experience the feelings you encounter from reading it and interpreting the messages for themselves, I will refrain from disclosing any more words from the novel. The story above all else is about listening to your heart, observing the hints and omens the world presents you with, and the importance of never forgetting to follow your dreams. Three statements that everyone, young or old, must head to in their life.

Mirengeri Diallo

Rating: 4.5 Interesting/Recommend

 


 

This is a book that I shall read over and over again because it has taught me too many lessons to absorb in the first read. It is a story of a humble shepherd who transforms in every spiritual way possible. The “Law of Attraction” is applicable in the spiritual realm as well – the universe conspires to make your deepest desires plausible. The lesson of hard work and innovation is portrayed in Santiago’s job as a crystal merchant. He works tirelessly to earn money for the treasure he yearns to obtain. In times of strife he looks within himself and manages to perform what was thought to be impossible. On his journey he finds the love of his life, Fatima, who shares a message not only to Santiago but to all the readers: no relationship should get in the way of what you work towards and those who love you can learn to wait and support even when the situation doesn’t please them. The protagonist’s ability to pick up so many lessons and almost instantly apply them is a trait that I can’t wait to perfect. The ending creates a beautifully painful conclusion to an outstanding book. The journey was for the growth and the treasure he was searching for lay right where he began. This is a story that shall remain in my heart for years to come. For those who have not read this book and want life’s prescious lessons taught through fantastic literature, please buy up a copy.

Amy Migunda

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Merely reading this book once is not enough. In between the rich, sandy dunes of the Sahara Dessert and the grassy, green fields of Spain lies a story determined to awaken your inner child like nature. It is an idealist outlook on the world encapsulated in awe and belief. As the reader we follow a young shepherd boy named Santiago in his pursuit to find treasure and fulfil his destiny. Against a backdrop rife with tribal wars, theft and hardship we witness the implicit mastery of Coelho, weaving seeds of wisdom and life lessons in each stage of Santiago’s journey. With each encounter Santiago experiences, we are gifted with little nuggets of advice either rooted in spiritual beliefs such as the pantheistic view of God’s existence in everything or the simple lesson that you can learn from any experience; it is easy for one to draw some form of inspiration. The dichotomy presented between contentment and ambition is a significant theme Coelho toys with in order to tip even the most apprehensive reader over into either unimaginable clarity or the realization of a concealed abyss.  Yes, the book is that powerful. However, what strikes me the most is that it is not just a story which morphs failures into triumphs and allows you to question your purpose in life, but Coelho’s undisputed command of language which paints vivid strokes of a “universe conspiring to help” in achieving one’s dreams. The deceptively simplistic nature of Coelho’s writing evident in Santiago’s narrative delineates a concurrent theme of collectivism and similarities superseding the cultural differences between a people. Perhaps, Santiago’s name is only mentioned once, as if it is Coelho’s attempt to dehumanize the main character to emphasise the universality of the values people share. Nevertheless, this could be my interpretation of Santiago’s dehumanization this time and could completely change after the next reading. Ultimately, I highly recommend the Alchemist because honestly, with just reading it once I feel like I have just analysed a one of multiple interpretations not even reaching the cusp of the many life lessons and philosophical views it has to offer.

Nicole Jean-Louis

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

My name is Malcolm Kazimil and I was very anxious to read about Malcolm X because we share the same name. My mind was electricized with knowledge after finishing this book. The autobiography of Malcolm X written with the assistance of Alex Haley is a very mind-opening book that is filled with different points of view on the human race and leadership. It was published in 1965 and is still Very famous to thousands of people worldwide.This book has strengthened my philosophy on leadership by seeing the way he saw leadership and Human rights. He was a very strong and influential person who was very committed to fighting for rights for the Black Americans in the USA. He kept on insisting on the importance of education and the Embracement of our African Culture. Many people saw him as ignorant and as a bad person that is why he got assassinated in the first place. He was very smart in class but then he dropped out and joined the streets at a very young age but he was able to Change himself in Jail after he thought about himself and started to do something good for the people and that was to fight for the rights of his people as he lived their hard life and knows what they all have to go through for daily living. I learned a lot of Valuable lessons from how he lived his life. The following are among the three Major take-aways from his autobiography. A good leader should always lead by example and empathize with his people, this means that you should not try to be different and put yourself on a different level from them (He used to live in the slums and was a drug addict and a thug too, he was able to understand the hustle that the black Americans were going through unlike the black diplomats who were more of puppets and trying to guide them on fake hope to the people in the ghetto, Malcolm X was able to introduce a rehab system that was very effective for the negroes). “I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against”- X .Being humble and treating them equally is the best thing to do and very powerful too. A good leader always has a strong stand on decision making just like how Malcolm decided to leave the religion of Islamic and search for the truth. The final and most important lesson is the importance of education, we should always be open to learning new material and knowledge. Even leaders can learn something new that is why I am always open-minded and ready to learn from my peers. Malcolm X insisted on African cultural embracement and that is why he persuaded me to get dreads as it is African and full of freedom. It does not hold any immorality unlike how it is being portrayed by the western world. I shall be leading by example through keeping and maintaining a smart appearance together with the African style that I shall try to have. I will be looking forward to reading about mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. “A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.”-Malcolm X.

Malcom Kazimil

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Outliers

by Malcolm Gladwell

As it first states on the cover of the novel, Outliers is a story about success. Through looking at the psychology, economics, and politics behind success, Malcolm Gladwell forces readers to question the infamous quotes that comment on success as a level reached by those who only work hard. Through theories such as the “ten thousand hours” rule and delving into the true reason why Asians are better in math than other ethnic groups around the world, Outliers tells a less explored version of success. While many may be strayed by the non-fiction formatting of the book and how the novel contains many statistics and graphs, the way Gladwell strings his words together piques the reader as if they were reading a mystery novel. As readers venture into the depths of the book they find the answers to questions they never knew they wanted to ask and discovered the deeper causes behind what are known to be “spontaneous events” such as plane crashes. Furthermore, readers will be shocked to discover how uncontrollable things in their lives such as where they are born, when their birthday is, and where their parents work. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who wants to succeed in life. It does not necessarily teach you HOW to succeed but shows you the WAYS you are already succeeding, and furthermore, how to become AWARE of things that may be holding you back to change your lifestyle accordingly. Outliers is a book like no other. Fascinating, revolutionary, and an absolute witty piece of writing. There were surprises around every corner. I have greatly enjoyed exploring the success stories of our world, and I truly hope whoever endeavours in this book next will feel the same way.

Mirengeri Diallo

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

This book has transformed the way I look at successs stories. On top of all the grit and endless hard work, there are conditions in order to succeed that are almost always overlooked. Opportunity: without a chance to showcase the work you’ve put in, no one will know your name. Through the stories of Bill Joy, Bill Gates, endless enterprenuers and sportsmen, and successful lawyers, such as Joe Flom, we see that being born in the right place at the right time really does increase your chances of success. In order to become a profession at what you do, 10,000 hours must be put into the craft. Then take all the opportunities flung at you.This book manages to make legends into relatable anecdotes that paint the picture of what it takes to become the best of the best. Finally: your legacy. The amount of lives you touch will increase the amount of lips that speak your name, even in centuries to come. What impact you make will forge your success and make your existence last way beyond your years. To conclude, this book is an amazing read due to it’s fantastic way of narrating and the author’s frank facts and statements. Definitely recommend.

Amy Migunda

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


In Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell sets out to explain the various factors that lead to mastery and renown. The book itself is structured as a series of case studies that span different cultures and different time periods, but that all relate to a few central theses and theories. For Gladwell, success is not simply the product of a powerful personality or a high IQ. Instead, successful individuals often thrive thanks to the right combination of hard work, community support, and meaningful opportunity.Outliers begins by considering the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, a small community with remarkably low incidence of health problems such as heart disease. After this brief introductory section, Gladwell considers the first of the major factors—personal opportunity—behind his theory of success. He shows that completely arbitrary factors, such as day and year of birth, can determine opportunities to practice and achieve excellence. However, he also argues that expected measures of brilliance, such as IQ, are less important than influences such as class background, parenting styles, and work habits in determining an individual's future.Where Gladwell's "Opportunity" section considers remarkable individuals such as programmer Bill Joy, software mogul Bill Gates, physicist Robert Oppenheimer, and unsung intellectual Chris Langan, Gladwell's next section shifts emphasis: in "Legacy." Gladwell argues that one's culture of origin—and some of the completely random circumstances that it presents—can determine success or failure. The discussion that takes place in "Legacy" addresses the cultural, social, and psychological roots of family feuds, airplane crashes, and mathematical aptitude. For Gladwell, the society of one's ancestors—whether those ancestors herded sheep in rural England or worked a rice paddy in rural China—can determine one's practices and preferences even in the present day.To support his theses in the most personal manner possible, Gladwell uses the final section of Outliers, "A Jamaican Story," to show that the forces of culture and chance that have been analyzed throughout his book shaped the lives of his grandmother, his mother, and himself.Gladwell’s story in this book is very intriguing and fascinating to read. This book plays a crucial part in helping youth understand the right meaning of success which is opposed to what many of us think. The presence of social media has been misleading many youths and making them wish for good life only through looking at the final image that those who have earned the success allow them to see. Take it from music for example, many youths, in my opinion, think it’s not that hard to make it to the top of the game. All they say is, “you just need a talent and good timing.” However, we see so many musicians fail to reach their goals due to things like lacking discipline or not knowing how to use art as a source of entertaining and not just source of money. But these are the things we will never hear being said out loud because social media is a place where only good things need to be portrayed. Gladwell’s message is very powerful and helps youth generation to understand what it takes to reach to the top. This also enables youth to become leaders among others by giving the right directions to the last destination. I would definitely encourage anyone to read this book because it’s all pouring the right information and helping us to understand the world we are living in a better perspective.

Evance Henrico

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Meditations

by Marcus Aurelius

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” The power of the mind, though often spoken about remains underrated. Aurelius was an ancient Roman Emperor who was all too aware of the power of inner peace and rational thinking. He practised a large range of spiritual and mediational practices as well as philosophy and noted his thoughts down in a journal. It was these practices and beliefs that crafted his successful leadership over the Roman Empire and what allowed him to go down in history as an exemplary Emperor. I have received a plethora of teachings and lessons which are beneficial to not just my challenges as a leader but daily lives. a lesson that stood out to me personally is that problems are created in the mind. Sometimes we are anxious about a challenge or an uncomfortable situation, this anxiety leads us to exuberate the problem at hand and causes unnecessary stress in the present. A lesson I have learnt to encompass is that stressing about the future only brings me unhappiness. To quote Marcus “Let not future things disturb you, for you will come to them, if it shall be necessary, having with you the same reason which you now use for present things.” Prepare for what you can but do not allow the fear of tomorrow to be your master as a leader you may anticipate an event you feel you may not be ready for, but you must not bring anxiety to your team but to eliminate their stress and deal with the issue when it comes forth. Another important lesson that I'm sure we should all internalize is to not make the problems of another man your own. To explain further, in your life you will meet a myriad of people all with their issues. In some situations, a person’s faults may irritate you especially if they constantly wrong you in other you may feel obligated to help this person improve. The key thing to remember is that you can only advice and demonstrate. Do not surrender to frustration, guide the person to be and do better, remember to do so without corrupting your principles. It is also important not to load other problems on yourself, help where you can but do not carry their cross you have your own to bare. As a leader, this is remarkably important. Your teammates will show faults and you must guide them to improve as well as accept help, forgive others as you would pray to be done so unto yourself and show patience with your team. I strongly encourage this book and not just to scholars, but anyone who would like some enlightenment on self-improvement.

Nyawira Mburia

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Long Walk to Freedom

by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography about one of the greatest men on earth Nelson Mandela. Tt describes the South African Apartheid. Mandela describes his childhood; his development into a freedom fighter; his twenty-seven years in prison; and his remarkable role in the construction of a new, democratic South Africa. The book begins by Mandela describing his childhood and describing his upbringing in the Xhosa tribe, one of South Africa’s biggest cultural groups. It describes his early childhood, which was spent herding cattle and practicing traditional Xhosa fighting. Then when he was older his father sent him to a school which was rare for a boy from his village. Mandela excelled in school and his uncle paid for him to continue his education at a series of elite boarding schools. He then describes his young adulthood. He tells about his journey to becoming the leader of the South African freedom movement. He moved to Johannesburg and became active in the African National Congress (ANC). He describes the issues of South Africa at the time, like the unjust racial laws and the Apartheid. It is described in great detail and really covers the issues in South Africa, it shows you just how horrible humans can be. He focuses on the political and social aspects of apartheid in South Africa and who was responsible. Mandela describes the Tactics they used to sabotage the regime, for example guerrillas. He quickly became an important figure in the fight for civil rights. He was arrested in 1961 and convicted for inciting people to strike. He was sentenced to 5 years. However, soon afterwards, additional charges of sabotage were brought against him. He then went on to describe his time at Robben island and Pollsmoor prison where he spent 25 years. Mandela endured despite the brutal conditions and maintained hope. The book then goes on to describe his embrace by the public after his release, South Africa’s first free elections, and his ascent to presidency in 1994. I think this is one of the best books in the world because it describes the life of one of the most important, amazing, inspirational person in the 20th century.

Lem Mandara

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Without having read the book, I would have easily claimed that I knew a substantial amount about the life of Nelson Mandela, one of the most renowned leaders in Africa up to date. However, after reading ‘A Long Walk To Freedom’, Mandela’s own account of his life and the struggles that he faced not only during the twenty seven years spent on Robben Island, but those that came prior to the imprisonment, and those that followed into his presidency, I realised that my claim was far from the truth. He begins by describing the humble beginnings from which he originated; consuming meals mainly consisting of corn (‘mealies’) and having to fix his own clothing at home. The accounts he gives of his childhood, not only describing the hardships he faced but also the way in which he overcame them, show that Mandela was born a leader. An example of this comes in the description of the loss of his father- Mandela’s mentor and main supporting figure in his life. This event meant that he had to seek mentorship from a village chief, and during his years in college, the chief suggested that Mandela should marry the village priests’ daughter. Understanding that this was not in line with what he wanted for himself (Mandela had no interest in marrying the girl), Mandela set off for Johannesburg, abandoning all that he knew in favour of staying true to himself. This event is only one of many in which his true character shines and we get to see a true leader, one who was ready to face the unknown rather than succumbing to the pressure surrounding him. The main purpose of this book is to show- as detailed in the title- the journey undertaken by Mandela and his fellow comrades in fighting for the freedom of blacks and other non-whites living in South Africa during the apartheid and many would agree that this was the most influential time in Mandela’s life- even more influential than the term he spent serving as South Africa’s president. This section of the book details the brute force used against Mandela and over 100 members of the National African Congress (the name of Mandela’s political party, although at this time it was simply a resistance group). After being accused of attempting to implement a communist approach to the leadership in South Africa at the time, Mandela and approximately 3000 other prisoners were taken to Robben Island where they served varying sentences, Mandela having served for 27 years. During these years, he was given the opportunity to be free as long as he stood down and agreed to stop resisting the apartheid. His refusal to such an offer is what- in my opinion- made him a true leader, a true servant leader. This was a moment in which he realised that what he was fighting for was far greater than himself, and his willingness to sacrifice his freedom so that the generations to come would never face the same brutality is what stood out the most in this book.

Maria Beebe

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


Long Walk to Freedom is an account of Nelson Mandela the many things that made him grow into the man he became. Nelson Mandela was born the son of a chief. He was given the birth name Rolilahla which when translated, means “pulling the branch of a tree” which is a euphemism for “troublemaker” which could’ve always hinted at his future. When his dad died at the age of 9, Nelson moved to the capital of Thembuland, Mqhekezweni, otherwise known as the Great place and found that the chief was now his guardian as Mandela’s father helped the regent get to his position. This change led to many new opportunities and Nelson was able to get a proper education where he got to learn English along with geography and history. Nelson Mandela had always thought of the white men in his country as benefactors and contributors to good in South Africa. This image had been disrupted at his circumcision ceremony when the main speaker revealed to them that those white men were oppressors and that the men of South Africa will work the strenuous low jobs so tht the white man will grow in prosperity. Nelson Mandela did not let himself believe the words that were said that night but he never forgot, and he soon understood these words and realised that he was the ignorant one. Nelson Mandela later studied law and he joined the ANC (African National Congress) in 1950 he describes that it was the only organisation that welcomed all people. He explains how the organisation used guerrilla tactics and underground organisations to battle against the apartheid. A person that Mandela looked up to was a lawyer in the ANC named Anton Lembede and how he strongly believed in Africa’s reclamation of their land and would stop at nothing to make sure this happened. Unfortunately, in 1961, Mandela was convicted for inciting people to strike and leaving the country without passports and he was sentenced to five years in prison. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage in the Rivonia trial instead of being given a death sentence, which was the maximum sentence for sabotage. He later described his hard and strenuous time in prison on Robben island where he stayed for 28 years as he was released in 1990 by the South African President, Frederik de Klerk. After Mandela was released from prison he was not angry at anyone. When he gave his speeches, he did not blame the white man and tell him to leave, but instead wanted them to stay as it was now their land too. He reminded his people that if they wanted something, they would have to work hard and even after he achieved freedom for South Africa, he did not feel completely accomplished and this teaches me to always work hard for what you want, and that you shouldn’t always be content with your achievements because there is always more that can be done.

Irene Githatu

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography written by the former and late president of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela is one of the greatest moral and political leaders of our time. The book is about his life and includes his 27 years in prison. Mandela writes about his life growing up in rural South Africa in contrast to the life of living under the white oppressors in a white dominant country that he later experiences. Mandela had chosen a career in law but was drawn to politics and became actively engaged in political freedom fighting for the majority black community and joined the African National Congress (ANC). In 1964 he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment on cherges of treason, plans to sabotage and violent conspiracy against the South Africa regime. He was put in a prison for political criminals called Robben Island a few miles of the coast of South Africa, here he would spend the next 27 yrs of his life. After his time in prison he was elected as the first black South African president. I personally enjoyed this book as it takes you throught the life and journey of one of the most influencial and moral leader of our time and shows that no matter where you come from you can make a change in peoples lives and in the world to. It has taught me to be patient and resillient in everything that I do and to do the best to help others and fight for what is right.

Lawrence Mutua

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

 


Long Walk To Freedom is a detailed and captivating autobiography by Nelson Mandela. The book entails Mandela’s life journey starting from his humble childhood to his twenty-seven grueling years at Robben Island. Mandela begins by describing his childhood in a village located in the Transkei region in South Africa. Here Mandela shows us an insight of his childhood partaking in stick fights with fellow boys to herding cattle and farm work. His accounts of the hardships he faced as a child and how he overcame them showed me that he was a born leader. Even though he grew up in difficult surroundings; Mandela educated himself by attending a small schoolhouse in his village often wearing loose pants secured by a loose string around the waist. At the young age of nine, Mandela faces his first hardship in life after his Father and mentor sadly passed away. This left Mandela with a void in his life leading him to move and live next to Thembu’s acting regent in Mqhekezweni. The regent insisted that Mandela should be educated and attended a range of colleges. Mandela excelled in his education and during his time as a student the Regent thought it would be best for him to marry the Thembu priests daughter; Mandela saw this not fit and in a heart-lead decision he fled to Johannesburg. This next chapter of his life (some could differ) was the most influential in Nelson’s journey to freedom. It details Mandela’s join and involvement with the ANC (African National Congress) a resistance group that was against apartheid. During this time apartheid gripped South Africa and Mandela saw how wrong and unjust it was. Mandela describes his methods of resistance against the methods of apartheid such as non-violent protests and stay ins clearly showing his leadership ways. He goes on detailing all the inhumane methods of separation during Apartheid and how to counter them. Nelson quickly became a well-known figure in the anti-apartheid civil rights movement. In 1962 Nelson and other members of the ANC were charged for multiple accounts of treason leading to his twenty-seven years of imprisonment. Not only does this book well highlight Mandela’s life it also shows how influential a leader Mandela was. A quote that really stood out for me was “A leader... is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble to go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind”. This quote shows how determined of a leader Mandela was and headstrong for the fight against apartheid.

Collins Mgomella

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


Leaders Eat Last

by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last distills contemporary management theory into an easy to understand and relate with package. The theories are succinctly presented, with well thought out examples throughout. The topic of humanizing the workforce, both management and those being managed is explored in depth. The role of a leader in the modern workforce, especially one populated by millennial (and later generations) employees, who are often being managed by older individuals is also discussed. Sufficient evidence is provided for the fluid nature of leadership in the modern workforce, and the ever increasing need for proactive management, at all levels of employment. Overall, I would strongly recommend the book as a good, easily digestible entry point into the topic of modern management.

Darryl Ursin

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

 

The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini

With the quest for redemption and journey of self-forgiveness very prominent in The Kite Runner, one can’t help but get lost within the pages. The book is about a young boy Amir that sought-after the love and attention of a father quite desperately. Amir different from all other boys that played and had a taste for sports, was burdened with passion for books and poetry. Amir had the pure loyalty and love of his servant’s child, Hassan and together they were ‘The Sultans of Kabul’. Hassan relentlessly protected Amir and would do anything for him, such fierce love and loyalty I could only consider as dangerous. However within Amir the fruit of jealously was growing and coupled with cowardice, it did nothing but harm. When Hassan undergoes a haunting experience, committed by the very same bullies Hassan protected Amir from, the ‘Sultans of Kabul’ are never the same and are in for a very rude awakening. Painful betrayal lurks, as the country falls into dangerous turmoil that seems to last forever. Will Amir ever find peace at heart? The book awakens the readers mind to the evils within us and teaches us about kindness in a painful and brutal way with absolutely no sugar coating on the realities of life and darkness of the past of a country. The book grips at your soul with the raw and powerful emotions that Hosseini conveys throughout the book (can’t lie, I shed tears a numerous amount of times). One surely can’t miss a lesson in this book, whether about the history of Afghanistan or one of personal value. I definitely recommend the book, it is an amazing read.

Shakinar Mutulili

Rating: 5 Recommend

I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai

This story is about a young girl named Malala who decided to fight for women's right to education when this fundamental right was taken away by the Taliban. Her mother was illiterate, but her father was a great speaker and he was very involved in many environmental, social and political causes around the region. He was a teacher and along with his friends and business partners, he decided to open schools for both boys and girls in a time when most of the women were illiterate and were not inclined to pursue an education. He encouraged his daughter to learn and be an independent woman rather than a humble wife who cooks, cleans, has children and never leaves the house. The arrival of the Taliban brought a dramatic change to the region. They set up a radio broadcast and started telling people to burn their books, their CD's and DVD's, to keep the girls away from schools and to return to the old ways of Islam. Pakistan was very affected by a big earthquake, by huge floods and other natural disasters so people thought that they were punished by God and listened to the Taliban. Malala kept going to school and she started giving interviews in order to promote education and women's rights. She was just a child, but she spoke from the heart and people listened to her speeches and she received many awards. She wrote a blog for the BBC website in which she described life under the Taliban rule. Her father encouraged her, and they kept their spirits up in spite of the numerous threats they received and the people that were killed every day by the Taliban. The reign of terror lasted many years and people did nothing to defend themselves and to get rid of the Taliban until the government started up a war and drove them from the region. In 2012, Malala was coming home from school when their school bus was stopped, and a young man started shooting the girls. He shot Malala in the head and he injured other two girls who happened to be in his way. Malala was taken to the local hospital, but she was getting worse and worse, so she was taken to a military hospital and then out of the country. She was transported to a hospital in England where she spent many months having surgery and recovering from her wounds. She received international support and she was visited by many important people even if she was only fifteen years old. Her dedication attracted attention all over the world and thousands of people wrote her letters and sent her gifts. Rising from the ashes, Malala gave many speeches to the UN and other international organizations promoting women's right to education. She is an internationally acclaimed young woman and she is still very involved in women's cause for freedom of speech and education. So far, she is the youngest Nobel Peace prize winner. Though many of us are in countries where freedom of speech is a still a dream, Malala tries to show us that all is possible with faith and strong determination. Sometimes, dying for the right course can be the most humane thing we could do. It’s at this point in our lives where we need to stop seeing the difference between men and women.

Evance Henrico

Rating: 5 Recommend

  


 

The book shows the amazing journey of a young girl known as Malala Yousafzai and the social and political hurdles she had to overcome in order to spread her beliefs on the importance allowing girls of all ages to obtain education. The journey begins at a town called Swat in Pakistan in a humble home. Her mother was illiterate as she never received proper education, while her father was very well spoken and involved in the community. He even opened 3 schools to ensure both boys and girls would be able to receive education. Despite being in a strongly traditional Muslim community, her Father openly and constantly encouraged her to pursue her education and become whatever she desired regardless of what members of the community had to say about open behaviours. This support helped fuel her desire for knowledge and freedom of expression. The peaceful years came to an end when the Taliban arrived in Pakistan. After a series of illegal radio broadcast claiming natural disasters to be punishments from God as the people were being ungodly and anti-Islamic, some girls were now forbidden from going to school. A war even broke out between the Taliban and the Pakistani government due to their radicalism which was fought just outside Swat. Through these years of conflict, Malala stayed strong and her voice grew. She begun having interviews for documentaries and talking to local news outlets expressing her determination to obtain her education and how she was not afraid of the widespread threats on schoolgirls. Eventually the Taliban took notice and openly targeted her. This act shook her usually brave Father who openly spoke against the Taliban, but Malala did not feel sad as she knew what she was doing was right. In October 2012 the threat became reality as 2 Taliban members stopped her bus on the way home in search for her. They shot her in the head, but this was not the end of her journey. She woke up 1 week later in a hospital in Birmingham with no recollection of the attack however, the entire world knew what happened. Her family later joined her, and they now live in Birmingham as Pakistan was no longer safe for them. While in hospital she received numerous gifts and letters of support, her voice was now heard by the entire world. After multiple surgeries and physiotherapy, she left the hospital and went to her new home. Malala went on to win the Nobel peace prize, present a speech to the UN assembly and begin the Malala fund which enables education for many children in under privileged communities in the world. The book had two underlining lessons in leadership to me. Courage and belief. When gathering support over the years, she did not fear to speak out her beliefs to anyone she came across. These two behaviours compelled everyone to hear her voice and listen.

Trevor Ntutu

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

I Am Malala is a true story about a girl called Malala Yousafzai that stood against the Taliban. The Taliban was a group of people that did not encourage girls going to school. Malala was a girl who loved school and she was not going to stop going to school. Malala is a strong and brave girl and she even once pretended to be younger than she was so that she would be allowed to go to school. Malala also started speaking out against the Taliban. Using a different name she told the rest of the world what was happening. Unfortunately her bravery led to her being harmed . Malala’s Dad was threatened a lot because he still let girls study at his school. All this led to a major event that shocked the whole world and started lots of resistance against the Taliban. I enjoyed reading I Am Malala because it is an example of how one person can make a change just by speaking out.

Betty Kunyada

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

This book is about a girl called Malala Yousafzai. It is based in Pakistan. Malala was from a family that was not too poor because they could afford to take their children to school.The family lived happily and Malala went to a school which was owned by her father. The Taliban arrived in Swat Valley (which is Malala’s home town) and changed most things negatively. The Taliban are a terrorist group which occupied Pakistan. Malala defied the Taliban and demanded that girls should go to school. The Taliban soon found out about her activism. One evening, Malala was on the school bus on her way home when a Taliban stopped their bus and asked which one of them was Malala. The girls that were on the bus with her all turned their eyes to Malala and that indicated to the Taliban who she was. He then fired three bullets at Malala. One hit Malala on top of her left eye and the other two hit her friends that were next to her. This book has taught me that you should always stand up for what you believe and you should not follow the crowd. Malala believed that girls should have the right to education and she stood up for what she believed even though there were consequences, she did not back down.

Angel Mailu

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

I Am Malala is a very inspiring story. It is a journey of a fearless young girl who realised the importance of education at such a young age, and raised a voice for herself and each and every person out there. Fighting for what she believes. she grows up with the hope to live up and have a war, fighting happiness and freedom of living life with a great virtue of life , "dignity" .A big hand was her father who never let down his daughter's hope for her education and her freedom. Standing up is appreciable but fighting out and getting a remarkable victory is far above than the greatest inspiration. Malala Yusufzai is spirited, courageous and eloquent. She speaks for civilization's finest human rights and freedoms. But she is a global heroine because she is a unique symbol of the resistance. Her leadership skills and qualities match with those of brilliant leaders. I highly recommend this book for it comes with not only an interesting story but with a lot of morals too. I learned that even if your voice is small if you rise it you can make a difference.

Faraja Laiser

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” What is it about them that makes them so attractive? In schools, workplaces and all other public forums, everybody strives to be him/her: the personable, attractive, approachable  teacher, schoolmate or colleague that everyone looks towards. They are leaders, yet they are still friends, and interaction with them is always delightful and stress- free.  Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People  is a self-help book that illustrates the mannerisms of such a person, and gives advice on how to  attract and influence others positively. Carnegie’s book explores mainly the idea that people are egoistic — in order to become close to them, you must play into their selfishness:  complement them,  make them feel important, and emphasise common interests and opinions. You must  make them feel like they came up with  the great idea, and let  them speak for the majority of the time. These ‘tricks’  are coupled with anecdotes and illustrations that are fairly dated, but still interesting to read and powerful in bringing the lesson home to the reader. One example chronicles American president Abraham Lincoln’s method of dealing with disappointing and/or underperforming employees or partners: he  would sit down and pen a scalding letter, and then fold it up and put it in his desk. Through Lincoln’s story, Carnegie then gives us the lesson: when dealing with anyone, it is imperative to exercise empathy and pour out all of your grievances before approaching them. Yet out of  these arguments also stems the sentiment that Carnegie’s book is rather useless for creating lasting intra-personal relationships. Because of its business-steel like approach to interacting with people, it is unlikely that  his advice can be used to build deep and lasting relationships. Some have even argued that it might work against you, and portray the user of these tips as a manipulator who only has their own interests in mind. I don’t quite agree with this. While it is  true that Carnegie’s  tips may not make lasting, intimate relationships, they are not quite about manipulation. Carnegie’s book  focuses  entirely on the other person and trying to create bridges of commonality between the two parties. I have tried a few of the tips in this book myself, and have found them extremely useful in situations where I have just met, or in places where I am asked to spontaneously take charge of a large group of people. From the leadership perspective, this book is extremely useful —  being a strong leader is not always about being intimate with everybody, but about strategically placing yourself to be the one that everyone looks towards for advice, and is willing to follow. If that is your goal as well, then this book offers  strong advice on how to achieve this.  People are not cynical, selfish creatures. Everybody is deeply interested in themselves because they worry about how to relate to others, and How to Win Friends and Influence People is a book that teaches how to relate to others.  It might be that the book  is not right for fostering close relationships, but it does contain valuable advice for  interaction in the public world, especially  those that require some form of leadership.

Awuor Onguru 

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

This is a must read for any scholars, parents or anyone in general who would like to refine their leadership skills, better their relationships or even just become more of an likeable person overall. The book is simple to understand, yet holds a cornucopia of both informative and entertaining suggestions and guidelines that can definitely help you navigate through your social life. An example would be to refrain from criticizing and complaining, and instead offer reward for positive behaviour then suggest improvements to their negative traits as people are more likely to retain knowledge if it feels positive. To quote Dale “when dealing with people we must remember we are dealing with creatures of logic, we are dealing with creatures of emotion.” That in mind, one must remember to appeal to positive emotions to avoid resentment. It takes character and emotional maturity to understand another person’s point of view. A principle that I personally see as important to us as future leaders is to avoid arguments. As a leader there will be moments when you disagree with your teammates, be it you find fault in their method, ot they find flaws in yours. A key thing to remember is that argument is never the answer as in the big picture no one wins; yes, perhaps you may be more factually accurate or have the high ground in the situation but by proving so through an argument you are simple causing frustration to the other person and damaging their pride. You would seem to be forcing them to realize you are superior. Instead, hold your temper and listen, look for area of agreement and or common ground. Also remember to welcome disagreement. Allow yourself to be open minded and for your ideas to be challenged. The book covers large important lessons and social cues, but also looks at the little details of social interaction which is what makes it as good as it is, because subconsciously we all appreciate the little things, such as being referred to by our names as often as possible, and having someone ask questions and seem genuinely interested in you and your ideas. This book has definitely helped me see, through a whole new light and has helped me better handle my social interactions.

Nyawira Mburia

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


I have a secret. A secret that could help you make more friends and more meaningful connections than you’ve ever had. Well, what if I told you that my little secret is one that is 83 years old? Well, maybe you would argue that my secret is outdated and may not work for this new generation. This is the best time to apply it. It’s a timeless treasure. A book I so treasure and one that I will read and re-read, and maybe even lose sleep over. This is a book that I not only enjoyed, but also applied in my day to day life and I’ll tell you all about it! The book revolves around four key parts, each with approximately 50-page chapters in between. The key parts are as follows: The Fundamental Techniques in Handling People, The Six Ways to Make People Like You, How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking and lastly, Be a Leader: How To Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment. Although this book had several chapters and fundamental lessons, I will let you in on the ones that I have come to apply and appreciate the most. First and foremost, Be Genuinely Interested in Others! Many at times when we meet someone, we don’t take keen interest in knowing them fully. Instead, we like to talk about ourselves and share all about what makes us so special and all ourselves. But don’t you think the other person feels the same or would want to be heard too. That is why, when we meet someone for the first time or even when we talk to our friends, if we want to build deep connections we must first start by discovering what their interests are and take keen note of the things that fascinate them before going on to talk about your own. When you give someone the opportunity to share their interest and expertise on a subject they enjoy, they will associate their joy with your presence. Think of the last time someone praised you for your work. How did that feel? Did it make you feel special and feel appreciated and loved? Well, why don’t we try to do it to others more often. Let us try to praise our friends for even the little things and contributions they make in our lives. It not only makes them feel loved but also helps them get better at their work and when they think about you, appreciate you even more. To build your praise and appreciation muscle, make praise and appreciation a daily habit. Lastly, smile! Smiling is the simplest way to make a great first impression and instantly makes others around you feel warm and comfortable. The Chinese have a proverb that says: A man without a smiling face must not open a shop. Your smile is a messenger of good will and brightens the lives of all who see it! So, smile often!

Ryan Nduma

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Future Chasers

by Jan Owen

Future Chasers is a book that gives youths insights regarding the lives of a few Australian innovators. Through this book, we get to see how these young innovators on different fields managed to find their ways to the top of the games. We get to learn the kind of discipline they needed to achieve their goals. We get to see how they reacted to common challenges most of us will face in the next 10-15 years. Future Chasers slightly serves as a manual to the next life, helping us relate to the lives of those innovators. I like this book because it goes beyond teaching us about leadership skills. It offers a good insight on what’s like being creative and how you can use the power of your imagination to solve problems around. This book, like many others, helps us connect to the lives of those innovative Australians and learn much more from their stories.

Evance Henrico

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

 


 

Facing Mount Kenya

by Jomo Kenyatta

This book is about the Kikuyu culture. The Kikuyu worshiped a god called Ngai. He was known as the creator. Ngai lived at the top of Mountain Kirinyaga (now known as Mt Kenya). The first man was known as Gikuyu, and the first woman was called Mumbi. The peaks of Mount Kenya were named after Batian (who owned a lot of land during the British stay in Kenya). Batian is the highest peak, followed by Nelion which was named after Batian's brother, and the lowest peak is Lenana which is named after Batian's son. The Kikuyu usually buried their loved ones with their heads facing the mountain, and their front doors in their homes faced the mountain. Due to missionaries, most kikuyus are now Christan, and their beliefs in Ngai are now slowly fading away, as well as their cultures. The Kikuyu speak very similar language to most eastern bantus such as Kambas, Merus, and Embus. The book shows that men were poligamists, and the more the wives they had, the more popular they were around their communities. Girls, and boys become men and women when they underwent circumcision. Elders in the Kikuyu community were highly respected. Communities were usually run by chiefs. There are nine major clans in the Kikuyu tribe. I would recommend this book because it has taught me about the culture of the Kikuyu community before the British colonised Kenya, and how colonization affected the Modern Kenyans today politically, socially and economically.

Angel Mailu

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Drive

by Daniel Pink

Drive seeks to explain the fundamentals of what Daniel Pink calls ‘Motivation 3.0’. In Drive, intrinsic motivation is subscribed to over extrinsic motivation, relegating the latters usefulness to a small subset of highly specific contexts. This is combined with advocacy for Flow theory and packaged as “Motivation 3.0”.  The books shining feature is the practical techniques given for incoperating Flow and intrinsic motivation into everyday processes. These techniques cover parenting, studying, managerial styles among others. They are presented in an easy to follow manner, with several alternatives offered to better suit different people. For these techniques alone, the book is worth reading. Before you reach the techniques however, one has to slog through considerable filler text. The concepts are only explained at the base level, with complexity being substituted with cases illustrating the concepts. These cases are not only too many, they are also lengthly and you have multiple cases providing similar insight to the same concept. Throughout the book, Daniel attempts to cram concepts into byte-sized, maketable lists (“The 7 types of …”, “3 rules for ..”) which offer no simplification to the already simple content in the book. The final notable flaw is Pink’s constant need to assert legitimacy by name dropping prominent institutions, sometimes as much as three times on a single page. Combined, these flaws make the first half tiring, eventually opening into a much more interesting and insightful second half. 

Darryl Ursin 

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

What would happen in a world where there were no adults? It is this question that William Golding sought to answer in Lord of the Flies. The story follows the riveting tale of schoolboys stranded on an uninhabited island following an airplane crash. Throughout the chapters, the story spins through intial surprise where the boys cannot process the reality, to their attempts to be rescued and eventually a realisation that they must fend for themselves. In the book we learn that in any society, order must exist as we see the protagonist, Ralph take charge and attempt to form some sort of government. Watching the boys not only grow but work in teams and impressively cool off after heated arguments quite quickly was something to marvel at for that young age. In the second half of the book, the tale focuses on greed and dissension, with Jake, Ralph’s right hand man, bloodthirsty quest for power. It was quite shocking to see that when reduced to conditions where the fittest survive, death comes lightly even to children. Throughout the novel, Ralph marshalls his fellow castaways to maintaining a fire to serve as a smoke signal for oncoming ships, yet efforts to this end slowly wane as time passes. We eventually realise that the Lord of the Flies is actually a very gory mental image and rather unexpected- but indeed, madness sets in on some of the main characters in the novel following a successful hunt for meat and a secession from the first social order. Whether or not they get rescued I shall leave to the reader to find out, but one thing I commend the author on is the complexity of the language juxtaposed with the age of the characters he depicts - the language seemed to get more complex as the boys lost their innocence on the island. It is definitely a classic that provides a light read.

Zawadi Mwambeyu 

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

 


 

Ender's Game

by Orson Scott Card

Earth had been invaded twice by the alien race known as the Formics and the world lies in wait for the third invasion. The military,desperate, starts up a programme to help defend the planet. Due to over population, a family can only conceive two children unless they are asked to produce another,in which case this child will be stripped from the family at age six and taken to a battle training school. Ender Wiggens is no exception, as he has been shipped off to learn military defence. The superiors quickly learn that Ender may be the soldier that they have been looking for using a series of games . Unfortunately  for Ender, the superiors try their best to make Ender feel as uncomfortable as possible so that he may quickly learn to adapt by moving his position quite often, turning and using toture techniques. Ender endures this and turns out to be absolutely brilliant as well as compassionate and soon rises to be the leader of his troop. However, he has no intention to wipe out an entire alien race and so the question remains, how do you make a soft hearted boy fight a war? The superiors soon realize this problem and decide to fool Ender into fighting this battle by making him believe that it is simply a game. Ender wins the battle only to discover that he has not only won this game, but has lost what he stood for by taking out the Formics. Ender,feeling disgusted with himself searches for a way to redeem himself and decides to give up the enterprise and his team.This teaches us to get something that you ultimetly want, you must sacrifice something you love as he begins to formulate a plan that will right the wrongs he belives he has made.

Nyawira Mburia

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

The book is about a boy called Ender and Ender wins all of the games, but it is not so clear what that means. He thinks for a large part of the book that the games are no more than they appear, and he does not realize the real meaning of his final game until it is far too late. The difference between what is a game and what is reality becomes less and less clear as the story unfolds. My favourite character is Ender, he starts off being  shy and white but he has so much power, and he is a very respectful and understanding character. The book was so interesting that I had to read it again to find the clues and piece the puzzle together. I would recommend this book because it gives you an insight into leadership qualities and is interesting too. Once you start you can't stop reading it. I really enjoyed this book as I read it twice. I learnt that being a leader you must understand your enemy to then love them the same way they love themselves. Also, that a leader is equal to the rest of their team so they should respect everyone and let them voice their opinions because at the end of all of it you as a leader are just guiding them. Your team is trusting you to lead them, lastly I learnt that you should not keep secrets from your team as they would lose faith in you.

Rosa Kimweli

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

Ender’s Game is a science fiction novel written by Orson Scott Card and first published in 1985. The story follows a boy named Ender Wiggin, the third child in a family of geniuses, and his journey to achieve the daunting task of saving his planet from losing a galactic war between a highly technologically advanced race of aliens. Throughout the book, Ender faces prejudice and isolation as a result of his high intellect and third born sibling status in his family. However, in spite of those obstacles Ender perseveres through and later on, comes to embody the role of a mighty leader among his peers. While I found this to be a creatively constructed novel with a powerful message, I repeatedly found myself getting bored of this book. The many subplots, while crucial in portraying character development, can be confusing to follow, overly long, or just uninteresting. On the other hand the story did demonstrate steady character development that is subtle, but easy to follow. While I found Ender’s Game tedious to read, I do believe that my opinion of the book is an unpopular one. A number of review websites show that Ender’s Game is a successful book with a large and age-diverse fanbase. Even though the story didn’t appeal to me, that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it. I suggest that Beacon Scholars try it out, as the message of the book is very eye opening to an aspirirng leader, and there will be a chance that you may come to enjoy reading it as well.

Mushabe Rutega

Rating: 1 Didn't enjoy 

 


 

On top of being richly enlightening, Ender’s Game is also a very emotionally captivating book. The key themes of the book are a very good guide to key eveyday life decisions and circumstances. A proper illustration of this is the underlying theme of Surivival vs Morality. Across the entire book, Ender Wiggin is faced with the difficult task of choosing between his own survival and his moral standing which constsntly conflict. As the book progresses, the author imparts the notion that it takes an unusually strong will to strike a balance between the two. Often Ender is forced to kill his enemies even when he doesn’t because it is the only permanent way of solving an continuous problem, a characteristic that earns him the interest of the Battle School. The underlying message being one that to stand out above the masses, one must possess the very rare and key instinct to strike that very important balance. As regards to style, I particularly liked the indirect discourse technique employed by the writer especially at the beginning of each chapter. Conclusively, despite the book being one about children and although on the surface may seem to be a mere children’s read, it tackles some very compelling and important issues most of which are very important especially to someone developing leadership skills.

Wise Musinguzi

Rating: 5 Recommend 

 


Trickery. Innocence. Unrelenting resolve.

These are the words that stayed with me as my eyes drifted over the last sentence of Ender’s Game. Having watched the movie many years before reading the book, I still found myself surprised despite having pre-meditated the ending. However, we ought to go back to the beginning. In the republished version, the introduction describes the novel as an “epic,” a poetic retelling of the lives of brilliant individuals. Indeed, I concur. The story takes us through Ender’s, a third-born whose brilliance surpasses that of his first-born brother Peter, life from being bullied in school to monitoring and selection into the Interplanetary Forces academy. Whilst training in Battle School, he continues to outperform and outshine his older, more experienced counterparts- every single time. This results in another round of bullying and attacks against him, while the teachers stack all the odds against his favour. Ender does not let himself lose. Ender fights with honour. In the end, Ender’s training contributes to the survival of the human race, but at a shocking cost.

This epic took us through the evolution of love, the fear of trusting others you are in competition with, the grief of childhood friendships turning into professional ones, and most importantly the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators- aptitude and fear. Everything Ender did, he did because he could think better than everyone else. Yet also, every outcome that formed a turning point in the plot, was as a result of him acting on the fear of becoming his brother Peter, whom he resembles more and more each day.

The writing is very simple and appeals to all audiences; the best stories are written simply. There is a wealth of meaning to draw form the plot. I believe the emotions of the characters were kept simple to maintain childlike innocence, but the motives were so complex and titillating. I would have liked to see a better resolution of his sister Valentine’s character development in this book though.
Of course, no book is well written of you haven’t picked up some new vocabulary. These are the words I learnt:
1. Hegemony
2. Dirigible
3. Vivisecting

Zawadi Mwambeyu

Rating: 4.5 Interesting/Recommend