Africa's Peacemakers

by Adekeye Adebajo

Africa’s Peacemakers can be said to be an anthology of articles that concentrate on the most substantial contributions to the unity and stability across the continent.
As Africa looks back on its fifty years of post-independence, this remarkable book gives genuine insight into the thirteen well-known individuals of African descent who have won the Nobel Peace Prize since 1950. From Mohamed El-Baradei, who has been variously involved in women’s rights to Barack Obama, the first American president of African descent. Africa’s Peacemakers discloses how this extraordinary compilation of individuals has changed the world – for the best or the worst.
This book would best suit those individuals that have an interest in politics as well as history. It is very educational and enlightening as it depicts both the good and the bad deeds of the thirteen laureates, in an adequate writing style. From reading the book, I could tell it is well-sourced.
One of the things that stood out to me in this book was that no hard work goes unnoticed or unawarded and that there is no such thing as a perfect leader, every single leader has a flaw. Moreover, all these great people that have accomplished great things, have also done not-so-great things, so it's just about how one chooses to perceive them, or which lens one decides to view them under, therefore as a leader one should always do their best to become the most outstanding leader they can be. As mistakes are inevitable and some will choose to focus on only those and nothing else.
I would highly suggest this book as a constructive read as it is a terrific exploration of Africa's abundant past and its creation of influential leaders.

 

Faraja Laiser

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 


From Citizen to Refugee

by Mahmood Mamdani 

Mahmood Mamdani narrates the experience of Ugandan Asians who were expelled from Uganda and relocated to Briitain following Idi Amin’s waging of an ‘economic war’ in 1972. He writes about the explusion from the initial announcements of Idi Amin on the radio to resettling in camps in London all  in less than 200 pages.  I particularly liked how open and honest he was about the events that happened. He told them in a rather objective manner despite being the victim of Amin’s racist policies. I found some of his descriptions rather insightful of not only that period of time but also society more broadly such as when he was writing about a dispute between the refugees and the resettlement board: ‘’But the generosity of the board had been of a particular kind, the sort of generosity that makes the giver feel good, while keeping the receiver dependent on further charity.’’ Although, I would have preferred if he went into more detail about the history of Asian Ugandans in Uganda. Nonetheless, overall it was a clear, concise and well-written  read and I’d recommend to anyone curious about 20th century African history.   

Amwene Etiang

 

Rating: 3 Worth Reading 

 


 

 

Slay in Your Lane

by Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinene

Halfway between a handbook and a colourful retelling of the author’s and guest contributors experience, this is a book that is relevant to all stages of the black girl experience in the UK. The book covers issues such as education, work, the university experience, representation, health through the lens of their development from black girls into black women. I found that the book gave names to many of the experiences I have observed or faced- a major selling point of the book. Some of the topics are sobering, such as the discussion on microaggressions at work and the ‘concrete ceiling’ that exists for women of colour, below the ‘glass ceiling’ in the way of our female counterparts in the workplace. All the same, the book is written in a hopeful tone that makes it seem as though your older sisters are letting you know it will all be okay in the end. Looking forward, the section highlighting the need to develop financial literacy early underscored the lack of financial education owing to the cultural differences between ethnic groups. Overall, the book was easy to follow, punctuated with witty quotes such as ‘we were bad, with very little of the boujee’ between chapters. The subject matter in the Getting Ahead and Work sections did skew towards the negative due to the inequity black women are constantly reminded of and subjected to in their professional environments. I read this book on recommendation from Beacon staff and would recommend it to any young black woman in the UK..

Zawadi Mwambeyu

Rating:  4 Interesting

 


The Mamba Mentality

by Kobe Bryant

‘To be the best, you need a different approach from everyone else’, this was the first statement that got me engrossed into the book. Kobe Bryant took his time to talk about how basketball changed his way of going about life, in an entirely different, but a conceptual way. He talks about leadership, and how it is a tough thing to master because one has to be willing to do more than anyone else and make sacrifices that others do not. One has to always work hard in the dark to shine in the light – you need to have a dominant mindset which enables you to focus on what you do best. My favourite quote in the book is, “Discomfort leads to introspection, and that leads to improvement.” I would highly recommend this book to anyone who would want to shape their mindset, because mamba mentality is not about seeking a result, it is more about the process of getting to that result. “Good coaches tell you where the fish are, but great coaches teach you how to find them”. This is a statement that I believe defines that Beacon is as a society, both its mentors and mentees.

Risper Okello

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


 

Livewired

byDavid Eagleman

The book Livewired by David Eagleman is an exploration into how the brain is constantly restructuring itself. As a neuroscience student this book fascinates me. The writer takes the reader on a journey about the wonders of neurosplasticity and how it occurs as the brain receives new information about the world around it. Did you know that your brain changes shape throughout your lifetime, who knew? The book is easily accessible for the everyday educated reader and is intellectually exhilarating. He uses fascinating anecdotes that capture the breakthroughs in current research on the brain's adaptability, making the book a true page turner. This book gets the science, storytelling and wonder right. I highly recommend it for my fellow Beacon Scholars!

Naikena Mutulili

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

 

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations

by David Landes

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is a book that explores one of the most contentious and passionately debated questions of our time: Why do some nations achieve economic success while others remain mired in poverty? The answer, However is not clear cut. Lanes definitively illustrates that it is a complex interplay of cultural mores and historical circumstance. The book is abundant with anecdotal evidence, piercing analysis, and a truly astonishing breadth of knowledge. Lanes talks about a wide range of topics such as how clocks advanced English trade with China and how high temperatures in central America may have led to lower productivity compared to colder European countries. The book is definitely controversial and brings up interesting and perhaps old-school arguments. But these questions are good stimulus for debates and for further thought. It enhances your view on the world as a whole despite it flaws. The author did write in a Eurocentric standpoint, but he criticises his on view and elaborates on the reasons for history taking this viewpoint. Overall, the book is a tentative exploration of the issue of economic progress and culture, and it’s fascinating. I believe that the book teaches valuable lessons to those who want to be leaders in the world of politics, economics or development. It highlights past mistakes and success and how they came to pass and thus can be applied in the future. It lightly touches on the geopolitical history of the world which is crucial to understand if we are to bring positive change in that aspect. It widened my outlook on life and thus when I approach certain situations I can fully appreciate more factors before making an informed decision.

Lemuel Mandara

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

 


 

On Becoming a Leader

by Warren Bennis

On Becoming a Leader Is a book written by an author who spent most of his life studying leadership. His mentor Douglas McGregor was a path-breaking management theorist who I have also come across during my study of Business and especially motivation. He authored or co-authored 20 books. On Becoming a Leader teaches how we can make leadership a personal habit. The book talks about how good leaders want to be able to express themselves fully to impact others. Leadership according to Bennis involves the whole life and is not just a one-time thing. The book talks about how good leaders first define their reality (what they believe is possible) and then set about ‘managing their dream’. This book has taught me that leadership starts with yourself and you cannot lead others if you haven’t gone down that path. It has taught me that real learning is the process of remembering what is important to us, and becoming a leader is therefore the act of becoming more and more yourself. It has taught me that leadership is varied and not only about giving speeches or management but also things like taking care of yourself and influencing others with your actions to do the same without even interacting. I have learned that taking time off to think and reflect brings answers and produces resolutions. I think that this book is amazing as it teaches you the main essentials of being a leader and introduces a new perspective of leadership that we are not taught about in society but is a key perspective on becoming a good leader. I would 100% recommend it to any one and everyone no matter your age.

Lawrence Mutua

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

 

 

Audacity of Hope

by Barack Obama

The Audacity of Hope was written in 2006, a year after Barack Obama’s election as the United States Senator of Illinois and a year prior to him campaigning for president. The book illuminates Obama’s political ideologies and social principles while providing a compass to navigate his perceived truths and his solution to “reclaiming the American dream”.

Obama highlights the country’s two uniting factors: a belief in freedom and a belief in community. He establishes this by making reference to the constitution and declaration of independence. This effectively engages his prospective audience, all Americans, since they can all relate to the need for freedom and community. This provides him with a more politically diverse audience. By establishing the uniting factor among all Americans, he unlocks the door to allow his readers to follow him to achieve his vision, no matter their political stance. To supplement this, he unexpectedly, yet ingeniously develops nonpartisan viewpoints throughout his book, which implicitly illustrates his open-mindedness and visionary character, which are both paramount in achieving good leadership.

As I was reading, I noticed a pattern of these clever tactics employed throughout the book, which creates common ground between the American people and Obama, allowing the readers to see a reflection of their ethical values in Obama, initiating relatability and making him seem to be a voice for the people. This made me realise that by forming strong united bonds among people, a leader can easily guide people by gaining more support, allowing the leader to achieve their visions systematically and effectively without much opposition.

Despite this, Obama usually falls prey to one major political stereotype. Due to his many unbiased points throughout the book, a sceptical reader who is highly dependent on logical thinking rather than emotions might quickly conclude that Obama is a people pleaser and is therefore dishonest in his claims, especially since Obama relies heavily on personal anecdotes in his writing style. As a result, his supportive audience largely revolves around the everyday Americans who can easily empathise with Obama and view him as a humble leader due to his approachable character. This has shown me the limitations of attempting to unite people despite their differences. Nonetheless, Obama’s book has taught me that a rich moral compass can lead to successful leadership despite having diversity among the people.

To conclude, Obama’s book is advantageous to those who are politically curious or passionate about leadership and service. By employing clever tactics in his writing such as underlining the importance of unity despite political diversities and using that to build relatability between himself and the American people, Obama’s book emphasises the concept of servant leadership and vision. Short answer, yes I would recommend this book to a friend.

 

Bathya Nkunda

Rating: 4 Interesting 


 

The Audacity of Hope is a book that talks about Barack Obama’s life, from his early experiences as a mixed-race child, raised by a single mother to his political career Barack Obama’s goal seems to be to find commonality amongst all political movements and to find the base ground of issues such as abortion and healthcare services. He also highlights how Americans have more in common than differences. Barack Obama argues that freedom is only guaranteed if power is decentralized and if we all stand together, united, by upholding equal treatment regardless of race, gender or religion. Obama believes in three things: 1. All Americans are united by two main beliefs: freedom and community. 2. Politicians become a lot like the citizens’ sponsors, which makes it very hard for them to do the job that their meant to do. And 3. Today’s international battles are battles of ideas, which cannot be won by use of weapons.

Risper Okello

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

 


 

 

12 Rules for Life

by Jordan B. Peterson

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini is a story about Mariam. She is a young Afghan woman and throughout the book she goes through many negative things and some positive things as well. The main aim of the author in this book is to show people what women in Afghanistan go through. They are not treated as humans but as servants of their husbands. However, the book also shows us how unity amongst people can help them get out of any negative thing. Mariam and other women in the book worked together against their abusive husbands. This book was really mind opening for me because before reading it I thought of Afghanistan as a place of war and only war. However, Hosseini descriptions of it were much more. The children playing, women talking and laughing while working and the beautiful scenery and architecture.

Miguel Obwaka

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

The book I read is called ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, and it was written by Khaled Hosseini. It is set in Afghanistan from the 1960’s, to 1990’s, during the Soviet occupation. It follows the life of women who live in a country torn apart by war, and the battles they went through in their early lives, and marriages. The first is a girl named Mariam. She was nine in the beginning of the book. She was seen as a harami, and an illegitimate child. Even as a child, she went through a lot of problems of not feeling like she belonged anywhere, and that she was out of place. Her wealthy father did not want her, and neither did her mother. After her mother committed suicide, Mariam was forced to marry a man more than twice her age at the tender age of 15. Her husband Rasheed, was seen as a kind man, and he had a sorrowful childhood similar to Mariam’s. At first, her marriage did not look as bad, until she started getting many miscarriages, and her husband started to abuse her. The second woman is called Laila. She lost her parents, and had a very sad childhood because no one really loved her. When Rasheed asked her to marry him, she accepted, hoping he would love her. As the book progresses, Mariam, and Laila built a sort of mother- daughter type of relationship, even though they were both married to the same man. Eventually, Mariam sacrificed her life for Laila, and to honor Mariam, Laila dedicated her life to the children of Kabul, using Mariam’s inheritance. At the end of the book, Laila was pregnant with a child. A significant moment at the end of the book was when Laila was looking for baby names, and she only looked for boy names because she knew that if she had a girl, she would name her Mariam.

Angel Mailu

Rating: 5 Recommended

 

Born a Crime

by Trevor Noah

 

Reading Born A crime  was a wonderful read, I personally enjoyed the book very much. It had a comedic approach to many of the challenges and obstacles that Trevor faced throughout his life. I found myself at times laughing at some of the jokes when reading alone in the library or in my room. Understanding Trevor’s journey throughout his life has taught me many different and important lessons. I appreciated the persistence he had to continue to fight even when faced with prejudice over the colour of his skin and the races of his parents. He found a way to cope and get past that and this helped me have a happier and more uplifting approach to life. We see how Trevor uses his music priacy business, burning CDs and making mixtapes. Though not too important at first glance, there is a very important lesson underneath. His journey with his business showed him how education and resources could be used to better help improve the conditions of those who have less. He saw himself use what he had to make more and reach a point where he had a sense of freedom. “Give a man a fish and he’ll be full for a  day. Teach a man how to fish and he’ll be full for life.” Trevor also teaches us that goals and aspirations are vitally important in life, because they give us a sense of purpose. In the book he encounters many people from where he lives that live life just getting by, and though difficult, he says, they don’t have the time to ask themselves any of the big important questions. Who are you? Who are you supposed to be? How do you get there? An important aspect of the book that I personally enjoyed was having such a mix of cultures from South Africa. Trevor being mixed in a time where apartheid was still in play, gave him an interesting perception of life. He talks in detail about his struggles understanding the difference and the purpose of segregation. But he also talks about how his time in South Africa taught him the importance of language. Being from such a diverse family background, he had the opportunity to learn many different languages, like Tswana, Xhosa, or Zulu. This came in very handy to them, because even though people did not immediately perceive him as one of them, the language he spoke, their language, made them feel like he was one of them. There are many important lessons hidden in the book behind the jokes and personal anecdotes. But many similarities too, between Trevor and “privileged” children in a country full of unprivileged citizens. Though not completely similar, there are aspects of Trevor’s life that I personally relate to and that make me feel at home. A great read that I would definitely recommend.

Karigo Said Msuya 

Rating: 5 Recommend


 

Born a Crime was not what I expected it to be; it absolutely beat and trampled on my expectations. As a long-term fan of Trevor Noah’s comedy, I was beyond thrilled when I saw this book on the reading list. From the very first chapter, it did not disappoint. As the name suggests, Born a Crime is a book about a mixed-race boy who was born when such was not accepted in South Africa. The book follows Trevor Noah as he makes his way through his childhood, teenagehood, and young adulthood facing various challenges because of his skin and family among other difficulties. Trevor Noah details the struggles he faced because he was not white enough to be considered white or black enough to be considered black. There were times when he literally had to be hidden for his own protection. An aspect of the book that stuck out to me was apartheid. Trevor Noah was born as black people in South Africa began to break free from the shackles of apartheid. The book explored apartheid from a more personal perspective. Trevor Noah included his accounts of apartheid which really opened me up to the more emotional and intimate effects on South Africans. Previously, I was only aware of the facts. From this book I was able to truly feel how terrible it must have been to actually go through such. In addition, the book offers few factual summaries in between chapters about apartheid and South African culture. I definitely recommend this to anyone searching for a bit of a History lesson with a comedic aspect to it. It was definitely worth the read.

Megan Kamau

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Trevor Noah is most commonly known as a stand-up comedian and his book truly captures his hilarious self while at the same time bringing awareness to the lives of people during apartheid through many stories. Trevor Noah is the child of a South African woman and a Swiss man. During apartheid, black people were not allowed to have children with white people and so he constantly ha to be hidden due to his very light skin tone and he could not be with his father in public. Trevor’s mother in particular was quite the character. Being a Xhosa woman, she was regarded as promiscuous and unfaithful but she really didn’t care about what anyone had to say and went for what she believed in. After giving birth to Trevor, she lived in an illegal apartment and got a job as a secretary and when she found another husband, she refused to submit to him even in front of his family. She was very strong-willed and she always lived by her faith, which probably saved her when her husband shot her in the head. Born a Crime is really a very educational book and it feels more personal and you get to experience the life through Trevor’s many funny stories about his childhood and one thing I learned is that they always made due with what they had, whether it was Trevor DJing to get some extra cash, or the mum taking many buses just to go to different churches across the town. They were happy and appreciative but also aimed for more. The book taught me not to stay in situations I was not comfortable with and always aim for much more even if you’re not expected to.

Irene Nyambura

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Trevor Noah is known for his witty humour, satirical social commentary and all round nice guy persona. However, I contend that his memoir ‘Born a Crime’ is one of the best autobiographical pieces of writing you will ever read. Not only did I finish this book in a matter of days, I completely connected with each chapter despite one; not being South African and two, not being a 37 year old South African man. Set against a backdrop of a deeply racist, divided South Africa, Noah depicts the damaging effects of apartheid on one’s identity, family and mindset. Though, what separates Noah from other writers is that he has the ability to relay quite tragic events in his life in such a funny way. The book has you laughing, crying and smiling all at the same time, above all wishing you could have an interview with him just to hear if all the stories are true. The collection of 18 personal entries reveals a story about a young boy navigating the challenges of life with his strong, religious mother as his guide. The seamless interweaving of the socio-political landscape and the effect this has on his life manages to capture the hope of a South Africa newly freed and the stark reality of its impact on ones daily life. Ultimately, if you are looking for a quick read that can make you reflect, laugh and witness the impact of positive change in a country, this book is for you.

Nicole Jean-Louis

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

This book was truly engaging and I was captivated by the whole book. A lesson I learned from the book was regret, not failure, is the thing we should fear the most. “We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.” - Born a Crime. This lesson is particularly important to me because it provides me the strength to continue and persevere even with the fear of failure, because the fear of regret is stronger.

Nicole Mgomella

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Eat That Frog

by Brian Tracy

In the style of an instruction manual, this is a guide to becoming a more efficient person. It teaches the habits needed to remove procrastination and the ways to feel as though you have made most productive use of your time. It provides 21 very practical ways that can be instantly applied – this is ensured with a clear summary at the of each chapter. Followed by questions you must ask yourself and explicit instructions in order to lead to an ideal life. Though very short, it has a large impact almost instantly, if applied to ones life.

Amy Migunda

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

 


 

 

Switch on your Brain

by Dr Caroline Leaf

Great book that tackles the aspect of the power of thought and how that can destroy or uplift one’s life. It can definitely be a hit or miss depending on one’s pre-existing beliefs before reading the book. However, it offers a fresh perspective on how one can begin new habits deal with difficult life situations and build confidence in themselves, through marrying the power of religion and cognitive neuroscience. Each chapter looks at different part of thinking before then ending with a 21 day detox plan. The detox plan works on mentally rejuvenating one’s thought patterns. The topics covered are very broad. The book can tend to be over detailed however once understood it does give someone a light bulb moment. For someone looking for a fresh take on self-help through thought it is definitely worth the read.

Naikena Mutulili

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

 


Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

by Geert Hofstede

While sociology, social anthropology, psychology, and politics are topics that can be difficult to grasp without a certain extent of background knowledge in the subject areas, Hofstede clearly illustrates all of them and their connections with each other in his work of non-fiction designed for all readers. 'Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind' is a book about the complex systems that dictate the human brain and how we interact and perform as members of groups. Hofstede explores fascinating phenomena such as cultural relativism, which states that to achieve success in cross-cultural communication and collaboration, humans must develop an ability to observe people who are different from them in the perspective of their culture and not their own. As a result, they avoid imposing their world views and belief systems on others who may not share them, preventing the development of toxic pre-conceived notions. The book has something for everyone because of its intersectional approach to group dynamics by observing the subject through factors such as race, gender, and social and economic class. I was most impressed with its ability to explain such complex terms through the viewpoint of someone who has never heard of them and would hardly know the lexicon.

I recommend this book to aspiring leaders because it provides greater knowledge on the best ways to approach group dynamics and leadership with sociological and anthropological backing. It relates to the modern technological world and how people interact within it, something that is important to know if you want to communicate with others effectively. Additionally, it discusses the best ways to approach cross-cultural interactions, which are increasing in frequency with the rise of globalisation and tourism. Because many of us will be leading groups of people from various cultural backgrounds, it is essential to learn how to respectfully navigate working and connecting with people who differ from ourselves.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Its clever and engaging points of discussion and writing make it an absolute must-read. 

Mirengeri Diallo

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

by Angela Duckworth

Grit serves as a much-needed reminder of the effort and time needed to become successful. Angela Duckworth highlights the importance of hard work and persistence in achieving one’s goals. By focusing on the key facets that make a person gritty in each chapter. She writes about Passion, perseverance, purpose, interest, practice, and hope that can allow us to endure even the toughest circumstances on our journeys to success. One aspect of the book I enjoyed was the Grit Scale. Being able to measure my grit was interactive, and it allowed me to gain a better understanding of what constituted grit. By answering 10 simple questions, readers can measure their grit on a scale from 1-5. These questions assess a reader’s ability to follow through with what they’ve started and their commitment and drive. Besides the Grit Scale, Duckworth also provides other exercises including a method to set goals by ordering them according to what speaks the most to our passions and purpose which was really fascinating to do. Throughout her book, Duckworth included a plethora of examples of gritty people and how they became successful. These stories are fascinating and made for a more interesting reach. We are all looking for some sort of secret to success. Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverance, explores success, but she does so from a different angle. She introduces grit. This book can guide you towards becoming a more gritty person. It can also inspire you to be more dedicated, striving to reach your full potential. I would highly recommend everyone read this book.

Ryan Nduma 

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth was quite the eyeopener for me. All my life, I have always attributed success to talent. Every time I would settle on the couch beside my football-loving dad to watch football, he would make a remark like “Victor Wanyama is really talented”. Which he probably is but I have learnt that there is probably more to his success. Every time I come across such success, I find myself recalling Angela Duckworth’s wisdom-soaked words: “as much as talent counts, effort counts twice”. Angela Duckworth, the author, is a psychologist who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She pursued teaching for a few years, during which took note of a few things she noticed. The students who had the highest IQ tended to perform significantly below their potential, while, those who were considered hardworking did significantly better. Her observations led her to studying psychology, paving the way for what I would describe as the most enlightening book there is: Grit. Grit is a topic still yet to be explored. Duckworth has elucidated on the fact that she feels that she has merely scratched the surface of a mountain that contains the secret to the treasure we all seek: Success. Nevertheless, she is certain of one thing, that is “grit matters more than talent”. Angela Duckworth spent her book exploring the question of why certain people are successful and others aren’t. In her book, she recalls her visits to West Point Military Academy, the National Spelling Bee and a divergence of schools and businesses where she conducted various investigations. She describes the appraisals that she conducted and the evaluations she made in detail. The book also brings forth strategies to increase Grit, which include utilising passion, persevering, practising and believing that you will make progress (positive mindset). I was able to benefit from the grit scale frequently referenced in the book. Evaluating my level of grit was insightful. I was able to see where my weaknesses were and use Angela Duckworth’s advice to improve my grit. By the end of the book, I am proud to say that I improved on my level of grit. One thing that I will always carry with me, is that I, nor anybody else, is limited by their “talent”; we are all capable of achieving beyond what all IQ tests would claim are our limits. Without a shadow of doubt, I highly recommend this book to anyone who can access it. The insight it provides on success is life-changing. Anyone who is feeling stuck with their goals or is struggling to make progress with their goals would benefit insurmountably from reading Grit.

Megan Kamau 

Rating: 5 Recommended


 

The Mammoth Book of Muhammad Ali

by David West (Editor)

Great Men are considered great, not only because of what they achieve but also because of the road they travel to reach their final destination and this is what Muhammad Ali had. I was excited to read Muhammad Ali's Life due to the influence that Malcolm X had on Ali’s Life and they made quite some bad decisions due to unawareness which was joining the nation of Islam. Both of these individuals were later able to get themselves out of the nation of Islam and amended for their actions and their preaching against hating the whites in America. Muhammad Ali is the complete definition of Self-Respect, he was a self-driven wrestler that worked hard to achieve what he had. He believed in himself more than anyone could have believed in him. They were both Black-right activist in America that still have an effect to-date. This book was written from many perspectives that included Muhammad’s perspective, opponent perspective, The people themselves and from many distinguished and knowledgeable authors. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in Life. ” and “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” These are two of his statements that caught my attention and I agree with them 100% as I practice them in my life everyday. We are our only limit, we should never fail to try and we should always give back.

Malcolm Kazimil 

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

 

Dreams from My Father

byBarack Obama

Dreams from my father’ is a very interesting book written by the 44th president of the United States of America, Barack Obama. It talks about the issues he went through growing up, and how he dealt with them. Barack Obama was born in 1961 to a Kenyan man, and an American woman. He grew up in Hawaii, and was raised by his mother, and maternal grand parents. His father originally went back to Kenya to study for a short while, but unfortunately him and Obama’s mother divorced. Barack’s father died in a car crash in 1982, when Barack was 21 years old. He only met his father once, when he was 10 years old. This really crushed Barack and made him question a lot of things because of the absence of his father. He also dealt with racism, especially during high school, and university. An example of the racism he endured was: when he was in high school, his basketball coach called him, and other black students racial slurs, and made racist remarks on the colour of their skin. To cope with all that he had gone through, Obama turned to drugs, and alcohol. After finishing college, Barack Obama became a community organiser, and found out that many people had similar backgrounds as him, and that it was not only him that had an issue with finding his true identity. This made him want to work harder. He decided to do law, amend got accepted to Harvard university. Before he went to university, he visited his family in Kenya for the first time, and this was a very emotional part of the book because his family in Kenya saw him as one of their own, and did not discriminate him. This made him feel like he finally belonged. I would recommend this book because it is very interesting, and it makes you understand that regardless of your background, you can still become a great person.

Angel Mailu 

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


 

Persepolis - The Story of a Childhood

by Marjane Satrapi

Satrapi's Persepolis is a book about growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. Marjane is a young girl who is experiencing everything from a child's point of view. Her father and mother are protesters and risk their lives in order to spread the word. The book gives the reader an image of Iran in these times. The closure of schools, civil wars, riots and many more. This book showed me how different children experience different things. Marjane grew up knowing what was going on in her country as her parents told her everyday. She rebelled in any small way that she would. For example, in school when they were forced to wear the burqa and she didn't want to.

Miguel Obwaka

Rating: 3 Worth Reading

 


A Thousand Splendid Suns

by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini is a story about Mariam. She is a young Afghan woman and throughout the book she goes through many negative things and some positive things as well. The main aim of the author in this book is to show people what women in Afghanistan go through. They are not treated as humans but as servants of their husbands. However, the book also shows us how unity amongst people can help them get out of any negative thing. Mariam and other women in the book worked together against their abusive husbands. This book was really mind opening for me because before reading it I thought of Afghanistan as a place of war and only war. However, Hosseini descriptions of it were much more. The children playing, women talking and laughing while working and the beautiful scenery and architecture.

Miguel Obwaka

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

The book I read is called ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, and it was written by Khaled Hosseini. It is set in Afghanistan from the 1960’s, to 1990’s, during the Soviet occupation. It follows the life of women who live in a country torn apart by war, and the battles they went through in their early lives, and marriages. The first is a girl named Mariam. She was nine in the beginning of the book. She was seen as a harami, and an illegitimate child. Even as a child, she went through a lot of problems of not feeling like she belonged anywhere, and that she was out of place. Her wealthy father did not want her, and neither did her mother. After her mother committed suicide, Mariam was forced to marry a man more than twice her age at the tender age of 15. Her husband Rasheed, was seen as a kind man, and he had a sorrowful childhood similar to Mariam’s. At first, her marriage did not look as bad, until she started getting many miscarriages, and her husband started to abuse her. The second woman is called Laila. She lost her parents, and had a very sad childhood because no one really loved her. When Rasheed asked her to marry him, she accepted, hoping he would love her. As the book progresses, Mariam, and Laila built a sort of mother- daughter type of relationship, even though they were both married to the same man. Eventually, Mariam sacrificed her life for Laila, and to honor Mariam, Laila dedicated her life to the children of Kabul, using Mariam’s inheritance. At the end of the book, Laila was pregnant with a child. A significant moment at the end of the book was when Laila was looking for baby names, and she only looked for boy names because she knew that if she had a girl, she would name her Mariam.

Angel Mailu

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


 

A Thousand Splendid Suns focuses on Mariam and the struggles she faces as a young woman in Afghanistan such as an early and abuseful marriage. This book  depicts the stereotypes and attitudes against women during that period. This book helped me understand the culture of the Afghans and also the origin of the Taliban crisis which has showed that despite women proving themselves, these attitudes have continued to persist such as women are denied education and married off early instead. Mariam’s strength and perserverance is truly inspiring and impactful even on her co wife Laila. This reinforces to me that success in life is really how much you are able to positively impact the lives of others. I loved this book and it is one of those that you want to know what happens next. I greatly recommend.

Nancy Oundo

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


The Havoc of Choice

by Wanjiru Koinange

This is a ravishing story that tackles elitism and the problem of class in Kenya through multiple perspectives experiencing the Election period and the post-election violence of the 2008 Kenyan Election. It really allowed me to reflect on my own privileges. As the violence awakens at the closing of the year, the few people who are secured with immense police protection are those in the ‘safer areas’ of Nairobi. The promise of peace and security are only for those who can buy into it. It begins with a rather peaceful description of an Upper-middle class family going about their lives, with a house in the Nyari Estate, a couple of house-helps and a driver. As the story unfolds, we read into the lives of the parents from their years as university students, allowing us to see the struggles of adulthood, marriage and the pressures of gender stereotypes. We then follow the children as they tackle the world, witnessing the violence with naivety and hope for a better Kenya. Then, at the height of violence, and peak of emotion, Koinange delves deep into the lives of those who work for the family. Their lives are shaken up further each day, as the violence surges on. The emotive language and the intimacy of individual stories through the novel, make for personal connections with each character and a unique empathy that I have not experienced in many stories. With an over-arching story circled around pain and patrioty, the people are pieced together eloquently, as though moulding limbs onto a body. This book was the highlight of my year and would highly recommend.

Amy Migunda

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

I personally loved The Havoc of Choice especially because it was much closer to home. It talked about events that I know very well which was the 2007-2008 post-election vioilence and I feel it was represented quite well. The book is written from the view of the Ngugi family. There is Ngugi, his wife Kavata, and their two children, Wanja and Amani. The book starts on a normal Sunday after church where Kavata invites the pastor and his wife for lunch at their home. As she finishes cooking, Kavata says she forgot to buy the ice-cream for dessert and says she needs to rush to the supermarket and so goes with their driver, Thuo. Instead, Kavata asks Thuo to take her to the airport and drop her off and tells him to say that he dropped her off at her bestfriend’s house. Kavata is the daughter of Hon. Muli, the former MP of Machakos who ran for the longest and was infamous for corruption, and so naturally, Kavata did not like her father an wanted to be away from him and all his money as much as he offered to support her and her husband. Ngugi was an architect and after he had finished schooling and married Kavata, he got his first big project (although suspicious) for building affordable, sustainable housing for the poor. Ngugi was praised by people all over but after a few years later, a scandal came out where the houses were revealed to be under the names of Muli’s associates and not the people Ngugi chose and so his reputation was destroyed all because of Kavata’s father while he remained untouched. And so when Ngugi later announced that he would run for the MP of Machakos with the help of Hon. Muli, Kavata was surprised but more so disappointed. So much so, that she was depressed for almost a year, refused to talk to her husband and decided that she had to desert him and go to the US just days before the election. A few days after she had left, Kavata’s bestfriend, gave Ngugi a letter written by her saying it was his choice that led her to leave him and that people’s choices can wreak havoc on other people’s lives. Another demonstration of what she said happened with the election. Because Muli and other parties were corrupt, they put agents at the polling stations but they were not vetted because of the inconvenience of elections happening during Christmas and many agents took a lot of time sending these results back. Because the results delayed, many Kenyans sensed foul play and when a Kikuyu won the presidency, when they were not majority at the time, there was outrage. Luos and Kalenjins were killing kikuyus all over Kenya while Kikuyus did the same to Luos and Kalenjins and it was dangerous to be in a town that wasn’t your tribes. It reached the point where Kikuyu people, including women and children were burned in a church in Eldoret (which is true) and this shows how all the crooked politicians did not see what their actions would do to the country and only cared about winning no matter what. This shows that as a leader, you should think about how your choices will affect others and all your choices should always be to their best interest.

Irene Nyambura 

Rating: 4 Interesting

We the Peoples

by Kofi Annan

Most of us I am sure have heard the name Kofi Annan somewhere in our life. As for Kenyans we know him as he came to help restore peace during the 2007-2008 post election violence. Kofi Annan was the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations (UN). In this book Annan talks about the big problems the world faced during his time and how he and the UN as a collectable were looked upon to solve the issue at hand. This book teaches us about making the right decisions as a leader and finding practical ways to solve big problems in a way that it is a win-win situations for everyone involved. In this book Annan teaches us that different situations and problems require different leadership style but he still amplifies the fact that working together as a team is the best way to solve problems at hand. In this book we see how Annan criticized the unilateral use of force and how he always wanted to keep the peace as he believed in every situation peace was the right thing.

Lawrence Mutua

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

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

 


 

This book follows the story of Eleanor Oliphant who finds issues socialising with other people and who tends to say exactly what she thinks. She lives life according to her perfectly planned timetable that is tailored to avoid socialising and she always spends her weekends eating pizza and perhaps over drinking vodka. However, everything changes when she meets Raymond and another character who all help each other with their collective issue of isolation and their individual social problems. The Book is a wonderful read that is homourous but also has a sense of romance and Drama. The character Eleanor Oliphant is created in a dynamic and clever way that you get attached to her very quickly. The story is dramatic as it deals with childhood drama and relationships but it is delivered in a comical way that it becomes an easy read. Honeyman focuses on trying to show the way humans work and think on a daily basis through the interactions and experiences of Eleanor Oliphant and the other characters in the story. The story touches on many important themes such as alcoholism and dealing with past trauma and these themes are shown through Eleanor’s simplistic view of the world. The book is a very good and easy read and I recommend it for everyone.

Lemuel Mandara

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

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

 


 

Before reading this book, I had a vague idea of who Michelle Obama is. I knew her mainly as the former first lady and as an aspirational figure who appealed to a broad range of people. But I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was about her that made her so aspirational, so appealing and most of all, so unique. Reading this book helped to clarify this. In brief, Becoming is an autobiography by Michelle Obama which is split into 3 chapters with each chapter representing a different part of her life. “Becoming Me” is the first, here we are given insight into who Michelle Robinson was and her upbringing in the south side of Chicago. “Becoming Us”, is the second. Here we are taken into her relationship with Barack Obama before his inauguration. Beyond that, we also get to see how the lessons learned from her upbringing have impacted her life. The last chapter “Becoming More” is the longest. This section occurs post-inauguration where we see Michelle take on the role of the first lady and become the Michelle that we all know. The more I read this book, the more I felt as though Michelle was speaking directly to me. She tackles a broad range of themes from imposter syndrome and feelings of failure, to friendship and grief. By doing so, I began to relate to Michelle. As big a person she is, she is still a person and I feel that this book helped to humanise her. I would definitely recommend this book as there are many lessons to be learned.

Santayian Kantai

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Becoming’ is a memoir by Michelle Obama, the first-ever African American first lady. In ‘Becoming’ Michelle takes us on a personal guide of her life from growing up in the Southside of Chicago to becoming the first lady of the United States of America. Michelle takes us through her raw emotions detailing the first time she met Barack Obama and graduating from Princeton University and becoming a lawyer. She also talks about being a wife and mother of two and her struggles of maintaining a good ‘work home’ balance. One of the main topics of ‘Becoming’ is racism and the racial struggle Michelle faced through her childhood telling the reader about the levels of poverty and violence she experienced in Southside Chicago which was vastly different from the Suburbs. She talks about her school and how classes were held in a dimly lit basement with a clearly under qualified teacher. In these moments, Michelle shows us the struggle she faced to become the person she is now, illustrating that growth doesn’t happen without struggle and failure. Michelle then goes on to describe the struggles she and her husband faced as he ran for president due to the colour of their skin. Even after being called an ‘angry black woman’ and the press criticizing her every move, Michelle pushed forward being a pillar of strength for her family and the world itself. The theme of family and its importance is constant in the book and resonated with me how close Michelle was with the family members in her life; incorporating how they each assisted each other through thick and thin. The book shows the power of finding yourself and what you stand for in a world where people will try to pre-determine you and your ability based on the gender or colour of your skin. As Michelle said “If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others".

Collins Mgomella

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Becoming is a great book, written about hard work and the journey to success. It taught me a number of things such as the amount of effort needed to achieve success. It was a real eye opener to how much drudgery goes into prosperity, and it was truly inspiring. It truly astonished me as to how she went from living in Chicago in a small apartment while attending Princeton to going to Harvard and ultimately becoming the first lady. This clearly was not an easy journey for her but it was the fact that she kept on going and did not give up. Her life is split up into three segments within the book, "Becoming Me", "Becoming Us", "Becoming More". "Becoming Me", is an insight of Michelle's past and mostly her childhood. She was brought up in a loving modest home on the south side of Chicago. She had first encountered Barak in her office whom she had to mentor, and as they started working they became close friends. Friendship blossomed into love. Not only does this part talk about her childhood but It also puts light on some of the very important aspects like Racism in those times in American suburbs. The second section, "Becoming Us", mainly talks about how she and Barack came to be, which takes the audience into their relationship. The manner in which he is described, causes the reader to instantly fall in love with him. Finally, "Becoming More", highlights her political life in depth. This is a bittersweet section that talks about all the struggles of being in the spotlight as well as having your voice heard. She guides one on how to self-improve through criticism and be more confident. This part of the book also talks about their prodigious contributions towards society. She doesn't fail to credit each and every member of the family throughout her book. This is a truly compelling book which tells us how normal these people are, and how strongly they felt for society. Before reading this, I hadn't known of the obligations the family had to make until they got to where they are now. I really and truly appreciate them and would absolutely recommend this book.

Faraja Laiser

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

 

Authentic Leadership, Discover Your True North

by Bill George

Bill George does a great job in this book, of explaining why it is important to link your own personal experiences to your leadership style. The book focuses on rationalising and examining what sets aside outstanding leaders from any other kind of leader. The author ,through interviews with a variety of leaders from the CEO of The Gap to Oprah Winfrey manages to draw a common thread that makes these leaders exceptional. My favourite thing about this book is that it does not just talk about how effective leaders are self-aware but goes on to explain how to become more self-aware. The book also focuses on the importance of a team oriented approach to goal setting amongst leaders. It became evident to me just how important skills such as empathy and approachability can go a long way to driving performance both for yourself but for a team as well. Despite its brilliant writing, I believe that Bill could have used a more diverse range of leaders to better tackle various kinds of experiences faced by a more varied group of people. I would have loved to hear about experiences from a CEO in China or South Africa for instance. Still a great book nevertheless.

 

Wise Musinguzi

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

 


 

Wangari Maathai, Africa’s first female winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, we celebrate her every year on the same day as Africa Environment day and with good reason. Through her autobiography, ‘Unbowed’ we experience her journey and see why and how she accomplished all she did even though she faced multiple obstacles along the way. Wangari Maathai was born during colonial times in Kenya, and she was very lucky to have been able to receive any form of education through those times. At a certain point in time she even faced arrest and was kept in a concentration camp. She still managed to keep her scholarship to a catholic high school and she even went to college abroad in the United States. Most people know Wangari Maathai as a environmentalist, a tree planter. She was so much more than that, she was a politician and a civil rights activist and before all that she was a scientist. She became an environmentalist almost indirectly, as a member of the National Council of Women in Kenya she noticed that everything they lacked depended on the environment, and that focusing on land and trees would reverse that degration, on top of this they could do this themselves without having to wait for government action. This led to the formation of the Green Belt movement. While her all out approach naturally led to efforts on human rights, corruption, and democracy, the authorities viewed her actions with suspicion. She was hauled to court several times and subjected to unfair treatment in the media. Her organization was evicted from their offices, so she took all 80 of her staff into her home and lived in a single room for years. She was arrested and harassed by the police, and she spent time in prison. It wasn't until Kenya's political leadership changed that it was safer for her to move around the country and live in peace. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize two years later for her commitment to sustainable development, democracy, and peace. This book taught me that determination and perseverance can help you achieve anything you set out to. In addition it is extremely important to preserve the environment no matter how hard it may seem.

Dev Gardi 

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 people is another one of Coveys great books. It reminds one of whom they really are, bringing one back to themselves, and motivating them to take charge of their lives, while encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions. The 7 Habits convince one to see themselves as a programmer for their own future, giving you power. These habits also highlight the importance of empathetic listening and teamwork. Learning the importance of seeing the world from the perspective of others. For a large part of the book, the focus is on gradual internal improvements and achievement on meaningful personal growth. He talks about how it takes time to adapt to new habits and a better mentality and how it doesn't all just happen overnight and that it requires continual conscious effort. The first part of the book mainly centers around Private Victories. Meaning the first three habits are the ones that emphasize on self-definition and personal fulfillment. After being able to effectively manage yourself, the next part, which include the next three habits, mainly focus on public victories, theses habits accentuate leadership skills and inculcate the ability to inspire others to do the same. Lastly, the seventh habit then ties everything together, emphasising on how to master all the basic principles which require continuous reshaping and relearning to welcome a new and better life style. After reading the 'Seven habits of highly effective teens', I was quickly inspired to wanting to read Coveys next book. This book really encouraged me to want to work harder and more persistently. I loved how It highlights on time management and personal change quite effectively. Overall this is a great book, and I would highly recommend it!

Faraja Laiser

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


 

 

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

 


 

This book is about how to deal with teenage years. It shows teens how to handle the stressful life of a teenager. Sean Covey gives tips on how to self-improve yourself and how to be an effective teen. He describes in depth how things like when everytime you keep a promise to yourself, you make a deposit. Indicating that when you break a promise, that is another way you let yourself down. To add to that, he explains that if you don’t keep up with your promise, so this can be to read or study, you make a withdrawal of your deposit. In the book a Relationship Bank Account (RBA) is also mentioned. He elaborates by explaining that a deposit is made when you keep a promise or apologize.This book is really fascinating for it really illuminates the strategies needed to be an effective teen. The baby steps after each chapter are simply amazing and help you to apply what you have learnt in each chapter. I would recommend this to teens and pre-teens to better understand how you can better manage the stressful years that are teen years. But I would also really recommend this book to Adults, especially parents. For it will really remind them what it was like to be a teen and also, there may be some really helpful advice they can take away with them. For parents, this book can really help them better understand their kids and what they may be going through. This book is simply awesome as it has a lot of stuff that helps you to improve and upgrade to a better version of yourself.

Faraja Laiser

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is a book that is aiming to help people especially teens initiate self-improvement in most if not every part of their lives. It does this by introducing 7 habits that if adapted can make someone's life more enjoyable. These 7 habits are summarised in these short imperatives: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things, think win-win, seek first to understand then to be understood and synergise. The book has chapters committed to each of theses habits and they are explain and examples are given as to how to apply them in real life. One of the main things I learnt from this book is that when working towards a goal start small and celebrate each little achievement and you will get achieve your goal sooner than you know it. Normally, I do not enjoy reading books that do not have a plot or a story line but I found the book interesting and I started wanting to read more. This is mainly because the book is written as if the writer is if the writer is having a conversation with the reader. There lots of diagrams, analogies and short stories that help you come to grips with what the author means. I would highly recommend this to any teenager who is wanting more control in their life but is struggling or trying to find new ways to do it.

Betty Kunyada

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

I found this book highly engaging and a must read for any teenager looking for inspiration and motivation and even if you aren’t at this point in time, I still recommend it because it will help you succeed in all areas in life. This book is like a map guide through land mines of childhood into a value prioritized adulthood. It was not a surprise to find this as a national best seller. Sean Covey conveys the success guide for teens, through 7 habits we should all follow. Today’s teens are busier and more stressed than ever before. With school, hours of homework, athletics, jobs, clubs, helping at home and more, we barely have time to breathe. The 7 Habits not only serves as a guide for teens to improve their self image, build friendships, resist peer pressure and achieve goals, but it offers hope. While reading this I realized no matter what the obstacle may be hard work and a vision will help you overcome anything. It teaches you to work harder at what you do than anyone else, if they beat you because they are more talented its acceptable but it should never be because they outworked you. The seven habits are: 1) Be proactive; 2) Begin with the end in mind; 3) Put first things first; 4) Think win-win; 5) Seek first to understand, then be understood; 6) Synergize and 7) Sharpen the saw. Mixed in are cartoons, famous quotes, song lyrics, poems and other classic techniques to keep you interested. I found the instructions listed at the end of each chapter and the various activities extremely helpful. The Great Discovery Activity in particular really helped me understand myself and what is important in my life. That is the first step in developing a personal mission statement and setting goals.

Dev Gardi

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

The Prince

by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince was written nearly 500 years ago, but many ideas in the book remain relevant. Machiavelli deals with the rise and fall of states, and the measures a leader can take to ensure a state’s continuity. The book focuses on how societies work. It also deals with how to grasp and hold power. For example, Machiavelli argues that a man who becomes a prince by the favour of the people must work to retain their friendship, and this is easy because the people ask only not to be oppressed. However, a man who becomes a prince by the favour of the nobles should, before anything else, try to win the people over. Otherwise, he has no remedy in difficult times. Machiavelli was nicknamed “Old Nick,” another name for Satan. While reading The Prince, I was often shocked because some sections are very dark. However, besides that, it is filled with many parallels and contrasts to today. Within his message, the information can be transported to our time and used. For example, “As for intellectual training, The Prince must read history, studying the actions of eminent men to see how they conducted themselves during war and to discover the reasons for their victories or their defeats, so that he can avoid the latter and imitate the former. Above all, he must read history so that he can do what eminent men have done before him....”Today, this means that we must read history and study successful men and women to discover why they succeed and fail. This will allow us to imitate their success. In summary, the book can be summarised in the following words, “I also believe that the man who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.” I learnt a number of key lessons from the book. First, when trouble is sensed in advance, it can easily be remedied. However, if you wait for it to come, any remedy will be too late. Therefore, prevention is better than cure. Men choose to change their leaders expecting to do better. That's why we have political parties. When states are acquired in areas with different languages, customs and institutions, then difficulties arise. A ruler would be lucky to hold onto them without living there in person. Learn from the best. "A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it." Governments set up overnight lack strong roots and ramifications. Therefore, they are destroyed in the first difficulty that arises. Prosperity is ephemeral. If a man behaves with patience and circumspection, and the time and circumstances are right, he will prosper. However, if circumstances change and he doesn't adapt, he will fail. Remain adaptable, ALWAYS! I recommend that you read The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli just to see how far, and sometimes not so far, we have come. Consider asking yourself what parallels you can draw with events occurring in our world today?

Arthur Ddamulira

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


 

The Challenge for Africa

by Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai in this book portrays Africa differently than the media does without disregarding the issues that Africans face. The media presents Africa as poverty-stricken and desperately in need of support and calls for developed countries to offer solutions. Maathai, on the other hand, looks at these problems, suggests solutions, and encourages Africans to do so as well whilst embracing their language, culture, and spirituality that has been labelled as backward by European colonialists. She looks at how colonialism introduced an inferiority complex that still affects Africans today and makes them think that they need to depend on support from developed countries. Wangari Maathai also criticises the opportunist politicians who use their positions of power to their own advantage and how they should be replaced with those who have Africa's best interests at heart. There is so much more that Wangari looks at in this book and it has really inspired me. In her years, as a social, political activist she had learnt things that she decided to share with others through this book. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn about why Africa still struggles with issues like poverty.

Betty Kunyada

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

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 book is an insightful examination of the major bottlenecks of African development. Maathai provides a unique perspective as she calls onto Africans to come up with African solutions for African problems. Neo-colonialism, self awareness and are evidently major themes in the book built on a backdrop of Africa’s traumatic past, unstable present and desirable future. Maathai also challenges the Western perception and portrayal of Africa and provides an alternative image of Africa as a rich and plentiful land held back by problems of her past rather than a poor and undesirable place that everyone seeks to leave. From corruption to identity loss, the book provides a detailed analysis of both socio-economic and cultural and political issues deeply affecting Africa. Maathai also makes use of personal experiences to advance and portray real life accounts of everyday hardships to the reader. She goes on to highlight African unity and self dependency as key blueprints to solving Africa’s problems. On top of that, Maathai touches on issues that a often overlooked particularly issues on environmental degradation. The most fascinating thing about the book however, is that it is more than just a solution to Africa’s problems, but also an invaluable piece of life advice for any person, community or entity trying to improve themselves. It’s relevance while primarily based on Africa, also transcends to other societies and individuals looking to build something better for themselves.

Wise Musinguzi

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

 


 

The Beautiful Dead

by Belinda Bauer

In a world so densely populated by western literature, and even more so by American publishing, it is quite rare to come across British crime fiction. Rarer still is an author who derides her contemporaries for repeteadly describing morbid scenes as “hauntingly beautiful” within the body of her own work. Belinda Bauer lets us observe a slow “danse macabre”- in the most literal sense- between the protagonist who is a crime TV reporter and the killer. I refrain from using antagonist for he is seldom wavers from a cold-blooded killer. His art is the murder, the exhibition Eve’s TV coverage. The killer, a recipient of a heart transplant, is fixated by the notion that he is living on borrowed time, that the heart that sits within his chest cavity only comes alive when he buys time from Death by offering up another body. Meanwhile, Eve’s desire to face up against the cutthroat male competition in her field dictates that she often arrives at the scene first. Fuelled by the frenetic need to make ends meet to pay for her father’s caretaker (he lives with dementia), Eve tirelessly delivers a compelling coverage that sells in the media. The killer takes notice, and invites her to showcase his exhibition. The reader watches this show unfold from within the mind of the killer as he becomes enthused by her, proferring her life as his greatest exhibition yet, staged in the grand entrance of the Tate Modern. Does the artist complete his greatest signed work? Its worth finding out yourself. The message I took from this book is (i) no matter how brave, one often needs others by their side for the moments that truly matter and (ii) one cannot play Judge, Jury and Executioner unchecked. The book contains a balance of thrill, disturbing psychology and weighty artistic or poetic references; none as shocking as those in Dan Brown’s works or in the Silence of the Lambs, and delivers a casual disturbing read..

Zawadi Mwambeyu

Rating: 3 Worth reading

 


 

The Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead

The book follows the journey of Cora, a young slave who escapes from a plantation in Georgia with her companion, Caesar, and they head north on an underground railway based on a network of track and tunnels. Throughout their journey they are pursued by a relentless slave-catcher and face a multitude of challenges and dangers. The novel is a realistic narrative, with very strong characterisation and good dialogue. The Author makes everything seem very real and believable and it gets to a point where you are part of that journey. It doesn’t just take you on a journey it takes you through an experience that makes easy to really understand the characters emotions. The development of the main character, Cora, is excellent and throughout the book her character is always developing and she becomes a convincing character. The start of the book ensures we understand everything we need to know about Cora, such as that her mother left her to find freedom, and this helps us feel and understand every decision Cora makes but still the Author still leaves some gaps and ambiguity because we can never really understand what it was like. Deception, prejudice, betrayal and racism are key themes throughout the book and is written in such a way that the story could be in modern day USA or Nazi Germany but the themes and values would still be portrayed and it highlights the many flaws humanity has but at the same time the best humanity has to offer. No word is wasted in the entire book and I think it is a very interesting and powerful book. There is no obvious and clear leadership lesson but it shows us the importance of resilience and staying true to ones values which are key in becoming a successful leader.

Lem Mandara

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

Outliers

by Malcolm Gladwell

“What truly distinguishes their histories is not their extraordinary talent but their extraordinary opportunities.” This quote from chapter two of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is one of two that has stuck with me the most, the other being “Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to capture them” as read at the end of chapter nine. Throughout this powerful book, Gladwell conveyed the various factors that lead to success such as the time of year that you were born, opportunity, community, among others. I gathered that the most important factor behind success is opportunity as seen in the stories behind Bill Joy, Bill Gates and The Beatles. These three outliers were beneficiaries of various opportunities. Regardless of how much of a genius you are or how high your IQ is, opportunities matter more in your journey to success. Growing up, we often hear the saying “practise makes perfect.” Gladwell reiterated this in the chapter titled “The 10,000 - Hour Rule”. It is shown how Bill Joy seized various opportunities to accumulate 10,000 hours of coding practise while in college, and also how professional musicians increase their rehearsal time with every passing week as opposed to amateurs who practised for the same few hours each week. Gladwell depicted through these various outliers that in order for you to be successful in a skill, an immense amount of time (10,000 hours) needs to be put in. In the book blurb, Malcolm Gladwell mentioned “Outliers will change the way you think about your own life story.” More often than not we see legends and are in awe of how successful they have been in their different fields and wish that we too could be that way. Through reading this book, Malcolm Gladwell shows us that success is about what we do, who we are, the opportunities we seize and the amount of effort we put in. We can also be successful just like the legends we look up to. Reading Outliers has definitely changed the way I think about my life story. I’d recommend this book to everyone over and over again. Definitely a must read.

 

Chelimo Koitaba

Rating: 5 Recommend


 

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

 


 

“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to sieze them. “ This simple quote summarizes my entire experience with the book. This book is simply a must read. In the past I read the book about three times but never managed to get to the end and realize this beautiful fact. For a long time we have all been distracted by the brilliance of others and so often we think that they are just one of the few, and truth is - they are. And so as we praise their successes we seldom take time to understand the intricate details that played a huge role in their success. We never see the Opportunities they had, the great luck and good fortune that came their way, we never see how their generational antecedents and cultural ethnicity come into play. We simply don’t and so we believe that success is for the lucky few, but what this book seeks to prove is that indeed, if there was away for us to realize how all this factors come into play in the life of an individual, then perhaps we would have more outliers and more successful people. “The world could be so much richer than the one we have settled for.” Two of the most influential factors that inform my values and guide my desires, are the roles that Opportunity / Luck and Hardwork have to play in being successful. First is Opportunity which goes hand in hand with Luck. When given the right chance to succeed do you succeed? Well yes and no, but we will go with yes for now. In order for Marita to have a possible chance at breaking out from her current life cycle of poverty in the Bronx and beat her wealthier counterparts, she must have the right opportunity presented to her. This was presented at her school Kipp which administered an education philosophy that exerted her beyond what she could handle at her age, for the Big shot at breaking out. Bill Gates was fortunate and extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to program on time sharing devices in junior high, an opportunity that Bill Joy only got to experience in university. The Beatles had Hamburg. These opportunities gave them enough time to build their craft and get “10,000 hours” , the lucky number for total mastery in anything. But the right opportunity could come, but you are not ready. You are not ready to work hard and make sacrifices to make the most out of that opportunity. Only when the right opportunities meet the right people, at the right time will successful people emerge. And once the opportunity comes your way, then you must be ready to work hard, like the many characters in this book, and catch your break. This is just a snippet of this wonderful book, and I could go on, it is a must read.

Ryan Nduma

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Malcolm Gladwell begins by stating the purpose of Outliers. “It’s not enough to ask what successful people are like, but how it is that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t”. Outliers explores people who have done or (like Bill Gates) are doing things that many would regard as extraordinary. Gladwell tells the stories of business tycoons, the Beatles, and computer programmers. Throughout the book, he seeks to answer one question – how does someone stand out and what assumptions do we make about this success? Many of the ideas presented in the book are challenging to grapple with and can be uncomfortable. For instance, after you cross a certain skill threshold, your abilities won’t help you. The month you’re born in matters and can determine whether you make it to the National Hockey League or not. Asians are good at math because where you come from matters [in a good and bad way]. On that last point, Gladwell explores the non-stop and painstaking labour needed to cultivate rice in East Asia as many people have done for thousands of years. He contrasts this with Western habits to try and draw out a conclusion for Asian math prowess. Without spoiling the plotline, Gladwell travels his journey explaining success through captivating and engaging stories. The book, therefore, remains interesting cover to cover. My favourite part of the book has to be the 10,000-hour rule. Basically, it takes 10,000 hours of focused practice to get super good at a skill or anything. Reflecting on talents like Mozart, Gladwell shows that “successful” men and women work extremely hard to get successful. It is not innate, and while some external circumstances affect the ability to get 10000 focused hours on anything, it does help to be committed and hardworking. Another benefit of the 10,000 hour rule is that it’s never too late to start. The key thing is to start. Malcolm Gladwell has been described as, “a cerebral and jaunty writer, with an unusual gift for making the complex seem simple and for seeking common-sense explanations for many of the apparent mysteries, coincidences and problems of the everyday.” [The Guardian]. Basically, he makes even the most difficult of things seem easy or simple. The benefit is that his writing remains inspiring and sparks a fervour in the reader. The disbenefit, is that the light sparked is soon dimmed by the reality that Gladwell over does it. He oversimplifies things which risks misleading the reader. Many of the ideas he tackles are complex social phenomena and yet, he tries to fit them into neat boxes. Moreover, his ideas are seldom his and are built on the research of others. Yet, he rarely questions that research.

Arthur Ddamulira

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

 


 

Many of you may have heard of India's revolutionary anti-colonial nationalist (Mahatma Gandhi), America’s civil rights legend (Martin Luther King Jr), or even Julius Kambarage Nyerere-Tanzania’s ‘Baba wa Taifa’ (Father of nation), but have you ever heard of Nelson Mandela? A Pan-African political leader and philanthropist who had united several people in order fight the discriminatory legislation, known as Apartheid, that undermind the liberal rights of South Africa’s non-white civilians. Throughout his lifetime Mandela had the charisma and compassion that allowed him to reform a once racist colonial South Africa into the influential and diverse nation that it is today. During his rise to power, Mandela had always put the well-being of others before himself, so much to the extent that, he made the decision to rebuff the opportunity of succeeding his father as chief, and instead chose to continue his studies as he aspired to become a lawyer. However, Mandela instead, became a member of the A.N.C (African National Congress) as a fighter and the rest is history. Whilst reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”, we can join Mandela in his long walk to freedom as this book explains the aspects that allowed him to achieve remarkable success as a leader. In fact, this book has the ability to equip the reader with the formula that made it possible for a Xhola boy from the village of Mvezo, to become the President of a powerful nation.

Ebenezer Laltaika

Rating: 5 Recommend

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

 


 

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, Malala Yousafzai, inspired me, encouraged me and left me in astonishment. It was amazing to learn about her appreciation for education and it was incredible that she persevered through all the obstacles put in front of her. She taught me to appreciate my access to education more and to not let adversaries get me down. She is a true inspiration to this generation and her story is absolutely astounding.Malala Yousafzai, born in 1997 in Swat valley, Pakistan, valued education from an extremely young age as it had been her father’s lifelong dream to found a school. She had two brothers, Kushal, who was two years younger than her and Atal, who is seven years younger than she is.Their family was not very wealthy at first, but when Malala’s father’s school started doing well, they were much better off. Malala was always very intelligent and topped her class easily contested only by her best friend, Moniba and her arch rival Malka E Noor. After 9/11 Pakistan began to change. Power continuously shifted, as did the nations reputation. When Malala was ten years of age, the Taliban, an Islamic group trying to assert its savage vision of sharia law in the region, came to Swat Valley. It was orchestrated by a man called Fazullah, who was originally very charismatic and rational. He implemented many strict rules such as banning CDs DVDs and TVs in homes, forcing women to remain in purdah, and they could not be educated. This last rule really upset Malala. She and her father began to protest publicly against Talibanization. She even wrote a diary about her life and how it was affected by the Taliban. She used a pseudonym so that she could not be traced. The Pakistani army admitted they had struck a deal with the Taliban to implement sharia law but unfortunately the peace did not last and things got so bad that masses of people were leaving Swat Valley, fleeing the Taliban and even Malala and her family eventually moved as well. They lived away from Swat for three months before they were able to return when the government claimed that they had driven the Taliban out of Swat. Once they returned, Malala began to gain international fame for being an advocate for girls’ education. Later on, news started to come to light that the Taliban had never really left Swat and Malala’s father felt as if he would be a target, however, Malala is the one who was targeted. One day while she was on the bus home from school a strange man stopped the bus asked for Malala by name and shot her in the face! Malala was taken to an army hospital and given an operation but they were still unsure if she would survive. She was moved to Rawalpindi and then to Birmingham, UK, where she was treated more carefully yet more thoroughly as well. Malala became a superstar sensation and used this platform to speak out more about women’s education.

Dev Gardi

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

Malala Yousafzai is a girl who was raised in a family that was not financially stable. When she was born, very few people bothered to congratulate her parents because the birth of a girl was seen as a failure on the part of the parents. Her mother, Toor Pekai Yousafzai, was illiterate and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, was an eloquent speaker, that earned his family’s respect by winning several distinguished debating competitions. As time went by, he became a passionate supporter of free speech to all citizens. Ziauddin was a teacher and he – together with his friend – opened up a school for both boys and girls. He encouraged Malala to learn and to become more knowledgeable, which led to her being a strong independent woman, and not the woman that the society expects her to be – stays at home doing all house chores. The rulers at the time were misogynistic towards women- the women got half as much privilege as the men. Young girls’ lives were being ruined to settle a dispute that she had nothing to do with. As time went by, Malala became conscious of the restrictions being placed on her- and others – because of her gender. Malala believes that women could perfectly educate themselves while also being perfectly faithful Muslims. She fought for women’s rights to education and free speech but these rights were taken away from her by the Taliban – a radical Islamist group that posed as a threat to the advocates of education and women’s rights. Malala being attacked by the Taliban made her speak up for what she firmly believes in. She ended up giving speeches to the UN and many other international organizations about reasons why women ought to have the right to education. This book highlights how men and women are not treated as equal to one another in some regions, and how freedom is limited to those who can afford it. As quoted in the book; “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Risper Okello

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

 

How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friend’s and Influence People is an “action book”, of Dale Carnegie’s compilation of research on what constitutes the ability to deal with people. Written in style that creates a scene almost as though he were speaking directly to each individual in his audience, the book has a more personal element that elicits the feeling of receiving advice from a mentor. The book provides examples of the principles put into practice and scenarios in which people did not use these principles resulting in negative outcomes. Carnegie provides solutions and improvements to the different scenarios, making it relatable and giving practical skills to use in the journey to improving interactions with people. This book is rich in lessons; a fundamental guide to relationships, especially professional ones. I will highlight a few of the lessons that impacted me the most. An inherent characteristic of human beings is selfishness (not necessarily the negative aspects) and the need to guard their self-interest; in the knowledge of this and how to exploit lies power. Understanding other people’s points of view in order to show them what they can gain from the relationship means you gain influence by appealing to their desires and to some extent hold some power to dictate their choices. One of my favourite quotes form the book is, “A person’s name to them is the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” It is often seen as a compliment that one was interested enough to care and more so remember a person’s name which creates a comfortable environment to begin discussing their interests and makes them feel important. The main message of this book is empathy; to build a rapport, to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship and then to gain an advantage. While all this may seem self-centred, he emphasized being genuinely interested in others and complimenting others on their improvements and achievements. He teaches how to deal with people so that you can obtain a position of respect and how to then be a compassionate and understanding leader. Carnegie explains that the best way to make the most of this book is through repetitive reading (of each chapter and the whole book) and applying each of the principles, recording the progress made after each week. I think the book is very useful for people wanting to build likeable personalities to increase their influence as leaders. While it has the potential to produce ‘people-pleasers’, it is more likely to produce empathetic and compassionate leaders.

 

Ella Obonyo 

Rating: 4 Interesting

 


 

“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

 


 

 
How To Win Friends And Influence People had been a game-changer book in my school life. As the title suggests, the book mostly focuses on teaching people how to be, what we commonly know as, a ‘people person’. This book has taught me that criticism is futile, because most people will get defensive and will not see the point you are trying to put across, Dale Carnegie states that, “Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain, but it takes character and self control to be forgiving”. I learnt that appreciating people, for the little that they do, has a lot of power in itself, because the ‘individual who satisfies people’s heart’s hunger, holds them in the palm of their hand’. In my school life, especially as a leader, I needed to learn how to influence people for the good. Changing my way of approaching different situations without having to raise my voice or criticise people has brought greater results. In life, people have different opinions that they would love to share and most often that not, it would conflict with others. People ought to learn how to listen and respond effectively to the other person because by making others feel important and validated, will make them listen to you, since no one wants to feel like they are being disregarded in any way. However, some people might learn how to lure in others, for bad intentions. Dale Carnegie mentions how in this world, flattery has become the norm. Everyone wants to be praised and be told good things about themselves, hence, they end up listening to insincere, cynical and rather deceptive statements, purely for one’s benefits. Keep an open eye, because one who influences others can easily fall into the same trap just like anyone else.

Risper Okello

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

 


 

As a student in Kenya, I found learning about Kenyan culture through this anthropological book very essential in understanding the history of the Gikuyu tribe and African studies in general. His late excellency Jomo Kenyatta who is arguably the most important person in Kenyan history, provides us with a plain-spoken dissertation on his people. This piece shows Kenyatta’s nationalism although he is mostly portrayed as a detached academic. Facing Mount Kenya is not characterized by patriotism but instead it is fairly obvious that you are reading something that was written by the first president of independent Kenya. Some passages are considered graphic or disturbing such as those which involve female genital mutilation, however, Jomo Kenyatta makes it perfectly clear that these practices are absolutely essential to Gikuyu life. There is no justification to the people wandering “why?” but it was a tradition and that’s considered justification enough. Kenyatta also spends as much time talking about other important events such as the British practice of Kipande. This was a very important topic as the British attempts to ban clitoridectomy was considered the last straw in the fight for independence along with suppression of religion. Reading about this harsh reality was not easy but as a student of African culture its something I needed to understand and learn.

Dev Gardi

Rating: 3 Worth reading

 


 

Facing Mt.Kenya is a book based on the Kikuyu culture, which is a culture in Kenya. They are Bantus meaning they speak a similar language to Meru. Kamba and Mbeere. The Kikuyu believed in a god called Ngai and was said to be living at Mt Kenya (was known as Mt Kirinyaga). According to their culture elders were highly respected. As a belief of the Kikuyu community, their loved ones are buried with their heads facing the mountain and also their doors. As time passed, missionaries colonized Kenya and the belief in Ngai slowly started to fade away and adapt to the new religion (Christianity). I recommend this book to other readers because it has taught me about the Kikuyu culture and I have learned so much language from the book. To me, this book is really helpful because I am from a different culture and makes the reader understand better about Kikuyu. Also, I have learned about living in the Kikuyu land before the British colonized Kenya and how it affected Kenya's life today socially, politically, and economically.

Nakae Nagayni

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


 

This manuscript written by the first President of Kenya as an independent nation, provides an in-depth pragmatic perspective of the origins and anthropology of Kenya, her people, as well as their ideals, culture and beliefs that are still upheld to date. I use the term pragmatic to describe this narrative, as I feel as though he gives a very candid view of all the history and teachings that had been bestowed upon him from a young age, to eloquently detail the beginnings, governance and practices of the Gikuyu tribe that has sustained them to remain as the most densely populated, and hence most respected tribe in Kenya to this day which predicates the notion that the Gikuyu tribe were the ‘Founders of The Nation’. He spoke of the initial division of the main clans that we have today, whose names originated from powerful the matriarchal figures who maintained rule over their families as the head of the household but were eventually overthrown by a patriarchal administration. He also highlights the transition into more modern forms of trade for ownership particularly with regard which was previously owned through obtaining first hunting and clearing rights or through familial inheritance, but in latter years it became possible to acquire land by purchase which was first exemplified by the transaction of land when the Gikuyu tribe who were eager to expand their terranean empire purchased forest land from the Ndorobo hunters. This interestingly depicts the first transaction of land owned in Kenya which has become one of the most precious commodities sold and purchased within the nations, which once was only between families but provided a stepping stone for the widespread transactions of land across the country today. President Kenyatta then goes on to write about the birth of the Kenyan economy through agricultural activity which is still the nation’s largest and most lucrative economic export. He brings to light the, although antiquated, quite intriguing educational system for the children that equipped them with very practical skills and tools to not only survive but to also thrive in the great outdoors. They prioritised more practical learning such as hunting techniques as the children grew older, but also nurtured the creativity of the children through tribal songs and dances which were also used to teach them of their history. The rituals and customs that must be executed in the long intricate ceremony of marriage where there must be an exchange if gifts and cattle between families among other things. He goes on to convey the system of governance that was implemented prior to the European advent and its transition from autocracy to democracy where important decisions regarding rules and regulations was made by a council consisting of representatives from the different villages. All in all, I would highly recommend anyone who is intrigued by the history and origins of the Kenyan culture, particularly the Kenyan youth like myself as it teaches valuable lessons and provides astute rationale behind the reason we as a people conduct ourselves the way we do today and follow certain customs that are integral to our culture. This book particularly resonated with me as I have been in British system education my entire life and had never gotten the opportunity to properly learn about and appreciate my country’s rich culture. The manuscript also elegantly portrayed the importance of tradition and the beliefs that an individual holds are, and how a great leader must cater to these beliefs in order to rally a community and take that community with them on the journey that they wish to embark on to achieve their goals. Finally, it also showed me that a good leader is not a temporary title or position it is a not just a present impact but a legacy that enriches those being led with knowledge and values that should be carried on for as long as possible beyond just the leader’s term in power but for generations to come. 

Ryan Mbai

Rating: 5 Recommended

 


 

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

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I think that we can all agree that as a leader, one must to be courageous and willing to overcome whilst also embracing the uncertainty, risks and ensuing challenges that will come from that role. Whether we like it or not, uncertainty may not be part of the job description but it will present itself in many different ways, and will likely be a key part of the role. This courage to ‘step into the arena’ and not only challenge but embrace uncertainty help in shaping us as leaders, but can also play a vital part in shaping us as people. This is because, this sometimes deeply frightening and disconcerting feeling of not knowing appears constantly in our everyday lives and overcoming it through a willingness to be seen, engaged and vulnerable, as postulated the brilliant Dr Brené Brown, can be the key to achieving ‘wholehearted living’. This bolsters our ability to experience the highly sought after feelings of love and belonging. Therefore, I have come to understand that by being vulnerable and deeply engaging with not only eachother but also ourselves, we are in fact Daring Greatly. This discovery came about from the transformative journey offered by the author by first touching on what exactly it means to dare greatly, wonderfully encapsulated in the powerful speech delivered by distinguished former President of The USA, Theodore Roosevelt, which the author credits as one of the crucial pillars on which the foundation of this book is built, as it highlights the importance of making an effort, taking risks and that there will be some form of reward whether or not one achieves what they initially set out to, as at the very least they will still have stepped into the arena and dared greatly. Then she proceeds to write about one of the biggest barriers we encounter when attempting to challenge this uncertainty, this barrier being shame and how this coupled with our modern culture of unworthiness or ‘never enough’, has caused us to avoid such risks and forebode potential joy that inherently leaves us vulnerable. She offers examples from interviews as well as from her own personal life that allow readers to acutely resonate with and relate to the message. Finally, she sets out to negate the different stigma that have been holding us back from vulnerability, such as gender stereotypes regarding vulnerability, and offers adept advice on how we can utilise elements like gratitude and empathy to condusively promote engagement throughout our lives and the roles we play as leaders in various settings. We have not only the capacity but the opportunity to be disruptive, connect and put ourselves out there for everyone’s benefit, by daring as leaders to take that leap and bridge the gap between our practiced and aspirational values, and it seems apparent that it is not an extraordinary shift in the right direction that will allow us to be vulnerable, but it is being vulnerable that will allow an extraordinary shift in the right direction.  

Ryan Mbai

5 Recommend 


 

Cry the Beloved Country

by Alan Paton

This book follows the journey of a reverend called Stephen Kumalo going to Johannesburg from a village called Ndotsheni. He goes to Johannesburg to look for his son who went, but never came back, and to help his sister who has fallen ill. When he goes to Johannesburg, he finds out that his sister is a prostitute, and sells alcohol. He persuades her to go back to Ndotsheni with her son. He then starts looking for his son, Absalom. Stephen’s brother helps him. He eventually finds out that his son was staying in a reformatory and that he had gotten a girl pregnant. Stephen’s son is then arrested for killing a white man. He then confesses to killing the man, but says that his cousin helped him. Stephen Kumalo’s brother tries to remove his son from it, even though it would make Absalom stay in jail longer. Absalom ends up getting death penalty. The girl that was pregnant with Absalom’s child made a deal with Stephen Kumalo that she would marry Absalom, and go back to Ndotsheni as Stephen’s daughter in law. When they went back to Ndotsheni, a boy visited Stephen Kumalo while he was on holiday to learn zulu. He tells the boy about problems that the village is facing, and the boy helps them. In the end, Kumalo did not get his family together, but had a hope for the future. He helped Absalom’s wife and his sister’s son to start anew life outside the toxicity of Johannesburg.

Angel Mailu

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

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

 


 

Lord of the Flies was a book that had me on the edge of my seat most of the time. I especially liked it because it was a very fictional story with a very strong message behind it. The book is about a group of children who get abandoned on an island alone with no adults around and only the land to take care of them. At first, they appointed a leader, Ralph, and next they created a stable system for survival by appointing roles to each group of people. There were the hunters (for food), and the people that kept the fire going so a smoke signal could be sent for a ship to come rescue them. As time moves forward, people stop seeing the importance of keeping the fire going and the people meant to watch the fire went out and hunted for pigs. Because of this, a ship had passed by but there was no fire for them to know to come to their rescue. An assembly is held and the people realise they have different priorities on the island and this causes a divide between them. Most of the boys feel like they just want to have fun and get the thrill of hunting and being able to feast on meat, while the leader and a few others see the need to survive and find a way for people to come rescue them. At the same time, the younger children or “littluns” are getting nightmares and believe they have seen a sort of beast. As the other boys go through the forest they also see their own version of the beast and so a lot of the boys are afraid of this beast. Eventually, the hunters take a stand and form their own tribe and move to another part of the island. They focus on hunting and feasting and just having fun in general. To make sure they are not disturbed, everytime they kill a pig, they leave the head on a stick in the hopes that the beast will not get to them. One of the boys, Simon, may have eaten a few rotten fruits and he’s hallucinating and very weak. He finds the pig’s head and this is what is referred as the “Lord of the flies” because of the flies circulating the head of the pig. While hallucinating, the lord of the flies tells Simon that there is no beast and the beast that everyone is fearing is in each and every one of them. Unfortunately, when he goes to tell everyone of this revelation, he is mistaken for the beast and is beaten by the hunters and the sea takes away his dead body. After this, the hunters become wild and plan to kill Ralph and set the forest on fire in pursuit of him. The book ends with Ralph running to the beach and finding a ship there that so the smoke and came to rescue them. A few leadership skills I learned from this book is that when leading, especially in tough situations, you need to be quite assertive but still make sure everyone is comfortable with their duties. In the book, Ralph is not assertive enough and makes people feel like they also have freedom to decide what to do and I feel like this is where it went wrong.

Irene Githatu

Rating: 5 Recommend

 


 

One of the more violent books that I have read, this is an incredibly aggressive story of a clash of leadership. The story speaks of a group of boys who find themselves deserted on an island without any adults. The boys having two main types of leadership( One being democracy as shown by Ralph and the other being dictatorship as shown by Jack) begin to start a system on how to live until they get rescued. Though both boys show potential for leadership, the group of boys favour Ralph initiating a spark of anger in Jack. The boys begin to uptake different roles and work towards their survival with a ground rule of always having a fire burning to catch the attention of any rescue ships. However, Jacks passion for overtakes his need to follow this rule and the boys miss the chance to get rescued as Jack lets the fire to go out while he went hunting. This serves as the main pivotal point of the book. From here we clearly see the divide against Jack and Ralph which catalyses the groups descent into savagery. Jack having an obvious thirst for leadership, creates a tribe and they they begin to perform ceremonial practices to a monster created by imagination. The talk of this monsters acts as another guideline to chaos keeping the boys on edge. In the end the group breaks into havoc as they scramble for power as symbolized by one of the character's glasses. The boys harm and murder each other all on the pretence that one or the other is right. The clash of human violence and mob rule against moral character and reason. The book amplifies one of the less spoken pressures of being a leader, that there are those who will dislike your leadership not matter how civil. Having a sensible way to deal with such members of a team may be the difference between success and bedlam. It is important for the team to have a sense of unity with a very clear goal to keep them motivated, it is equally important to make sure each member of the team feels heard. In what I feel is quite a barbaric route, the book warns us of what my lie ahead if certain fuses and clashes in a team go unnoticed or unsolved. As leader be observant and very perceptive of your team’s feelings and ideas. Appeal to them when you feel necessary, and if needed take a strict approach. But be weary to have a way to establish order as the book implies, left to our own devices we would all kill each other.

Nyawira Mburia

Rating: 2 So-so

 


 

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

 


 

Set in a futuristic society, this book tells a moving story about some extremely bright and talented children who are being trained to fight and defend the Earth from an upcoming invasion by an alien species. The running theme throughout the book is the power to understand others and Card portrays how different characters present and utilise this power. How one character finds out what people love about themselves and uses this information to flatter them; how another can peer deeply into people’s minds and think like them; or how one unearths people’s fears and uses it against them...love, empathy, and destruction. Card also explores the moral dilemma behind the shaping of a perfect military leader through the portrayal of the protagonist, Ender. He is not only naturally gifted at strategy and tactics but is also forced to undergo arduous training to become the perfect military commander. During all this, Ender struggles against the control and manipulation from the administrators of his training whilst fighting internal battles of guilt, morality, and survival. Ender is prepared to pursue winning at all costs... and what exactly is the cost? Card reveals at the end of the book. Overall, this is a compelling read and will appeal to lovers of science fiction.

Anne Arum

Rating: 4 Interesting