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  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

Monday, 9 April 2018

Book Review: I am Malala-How One Girl Stood Up for Education and changed the world

Book 13 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: I am Malala: How One Girl Stood up for Education and Changed the World

Author: Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick

This was the book for the month of March in my book club. It is a short read as it took me a few hours to complete.

The book tells the story of Malala and how she stood up for education with the support of her family and friends despite threats and even an attempt on her life by the Taliban.

The writing style was easy and had a good flow. I liked that the story was told by Malala herself and she was real and open in her story telling. She was able to talk about her regular life as a teenager, her friends, and squabbles with her brothers, while her story about activism was also real.

I like Malala and her voice for girl child education (she has a page on Instagram where she tried to raise funds for this). Despite her age, she is aware of the benefits of educating the girl child as she has been exposed to how women in villages with little or no education fare when compared to those in bigger cities and countries who have access to this. One other thing I loved is how her father encourages her to speak up, write and read and he also played his part by starting a school and speaking to people who could help. Lastly, I loved how she sees situations and takes positive lessons from it-she's really strong and amazing.

I was sad that she was shot by the Taliban but I'm happy she and her family are in safer place.

Some lessons I picked from the book:

  • Family support is great especially during exceptionally trying times
  • Whether we like it or not, as parents our children look up to us and pick up some habits and life opinions from us
  • When fighting for or against anything, tenacity is important
  • Activism is not just about talk, action is necessary
  • Some actions by our enemies may seem harmful sometimes but it could lead to better opportunities too sometimes
  • Age is never a barrier

I hope she continues her fight for girl child education.

Blurb: When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.

Rating: 4.5/5
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Monday, 26 March 2018

Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Book 12 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie

This was the book of the month in my place of work and although it took me a long time to get through it, it is really an easy read if you can take time to sit and read.

The book is divided into four parts and each part contains principles on how to relate with others. The parts and principles are summarised below:



Part 1: Fundamental techniques in handling people
Principles:

  • Don't criticise, condemn or complain
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want


Part 2: Six ways to make people like you
Principles:

  • Become genuinely interested in other people
  • Smile
  • Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  • Talk in terms of the other person's interest
  • Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely


Part 3: How to win people to your way of thinking
Principles:

  • The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  • Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, 'You're wrong'.
  • If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  • Begin in a friendly way
  • Get the other person saying, 'yes, yes' immediately
  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  • Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view
  • Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires
  • Appeal to the nobler motives
  • Dramatise your ideas
  • Throw down a challenge


Part 4: Be a leader: How to change people without giving offence or arousing resentment
Principles:

  • Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  • Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person
  • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  • Let the other person save face
  • Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be 'hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise'.
  • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  • Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
  • Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest


In summary, I think the author is simply advocating taking into consideration the feelings and opinions of others before we speak, think or act towards them.

I liked that the book had realistic and relatable examples.

Although I'm not sure some of the principles would work in my current location-Lagos, Nigeria-I'm sure they can tweaked to suit different situations.

Rating: 4.5/5
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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Book Review: Starting Up In Business Networks

Book 11 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: Starting Up in Business Networks: Why Relationships Matter in Entrepreneurship

Editors: Lise Aaboen, Antonella La Rocca, Frida Lind, Andrea Perna, and Tommy Shih

The book is a compilation of research studies on the importance of relationships and networking for entrepreneurship.

It covered several topics such as how startups can initiate relationships, third actors in a business relationship, and the role of policy makers and universities in the lifetime of startups.

Key lessons I picked up include:

  1. Developing new business relationships is critical for startups
  2. New business relationships can be formed with several actors including customers, suppliers, ambassadors and policy makers
  3. When startups initiate business relationships early, it helps them save time in processes such as product design and development
  4. Ambassadors are important for startups
  5. Relationships provide a sense of direction with regard to which products and relationships should be further developed
  6. In any startup, innovation does not end if the entrepreneur believes in the long-term business case
  7. Your customers can help you learn negotiation
  8. Universities need to contribute to the growth in the number of Startups
  9. Startups can start from universities through processes such as research, labs and its variance
  10. Startups are the bedrock of the economy of any Country
  11. Policymakers in government and industries are important for startups but their effect may also be negative if they are corrupt or do not understand the role or aims of these startups
I like that the book used examples of startups taken from different parts of the world such as Italy, Sweden and China.

I'll recommend the book to entrepreneurs especially those who are just starting out and are willing to learn the rudiments of business relationships and who might me important to their business. I'll also recommend this book to policy makers and university professors as it will help them understand their unique roles in the life of any startup.

Rating: 4/5

Blurb
This book offers a novel perspective on starting-up new business ventures through examining the process by which they become part of the existing business environment. The book highlights the importance of inter-organizational business relationships. Asserting that new ventures need to interact and connect with customers and suppliers, alongside policy actors and universities, Starting up in Business Networks demonstrates how beginning a new venture demands initiating and developing business relationships. Noting a lack of prior research into the process by which start-ups embed into an existing business network, this book presents examples from countries such as Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands and China to analyse the emergence and evolution of start-up business networks.

Blurb credit: Amazon.com
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Monday, 26 February 2018

Book Review:The Small Print by Abimbola Dare


Book 10 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: The Small Print
Author: Abimbola Dare

The story is about two marriages and how they coped and survived (or not) in the face of adversity.

The first couple, Wale and Jennifer got married on a contract basis-Wale needed Jennifer to get UK visa and British Passport. When Jennifer started acting crazy and obsessed with him, Wale ran away from their home, he got a job in another town but Jennifer tracked him down and things turned awry from then.

The second couple, Bode and Sade got married out of genuine love for one another. A few years after their wedding, they didn't have any children, Bode's insecurity issues began to surface and things went down the drain from there.

Likes: I liked that the story touched on real issues that face marriage such as financial challenges, lust, insecurities, family interference, societal expectations, and infertility.

Dislikes: At some point, the story began to feel a bit cheesy and too long. For instance, Sade met with a random person (Mr Nathan Briggs) on her flight back to Nigeria, they got talking and Nathan managed to convince her that his wife (Ada) had told him that the Lord (God) said Nathan would meet someone on the flight and he should bring the person home. In reality, why would I meet someone on the plane (or anywhere else for that matter) and follow the person home based on the person's (or another person's) conviction? It just felt strange. Which brings me to another point. Ada narrated some of the marital challenges she had faced during the first few years of she and Nathan's marriage, although that was before either of them became christians but Nathan was abusive in different ways to Ada but she choose to stay. In a way, I felt like Ada was condoning Domestic Violence also, she hinged the success of Bode and Sade's marriage on Sade alone. In my opinion, both of them had a role to play in how their marriage works out.

While the story mirrors real challenges a married couple face, it also seemed to accept the societal misconception that the success of any marriage depends solely on the woman. I think authors including christian authors have a role to play in correcting some of these marital misconceptions but I did not see anywhere in the book where the author tried to correct this. Although the story portrayed all the characters with their flaws, but I was disappointed that Sade and Ada were solely responsible for praying their husbands out of whatever demons they were fighting, yes a married couple should pray for one another, but Sade was overburdened and judged for the outcome of the decisions of two grown adults. Another misconception I did not like from the story was that Nigerian high society weddings don't last as per the story of Bode and Sade. I think this is wrong too. Every marriage regardless of the economic or societal status of the couple have their own challenges and it's not as a result of their status.

In the end, it felt great that Wale and Jennifer forgave one another and moved on with their individual lives, and Sade and Bode also eventually reconciled.

Rating: 3.9/5

Blurb
A desperate need. Ambitious illegal Immigrant Wale Ademola has the perfect solution to avoid deportation: a contract marriage to attractive stranger, Jennifer Lennox. Nothing could possibly go wrong- that is until Jennifer makes a demand that threatens to jeopardize Wale's greatest desire. A seductive mistake Sheltered Christian housewife Sade Williams thinks nothing of secretly working behind her husbands back. When a devastating discovery at home causes Sade to question the integrity of her marriage and faith, she turns to her charming colleague, Wale for comfort. And then the unthinkable happens... A deadly obsession. Embittered by a wrecked contract and a shattered heart, Jennifer Lennox sets on the warpath of vengeance... Twisted in a web of infidelity, deceit and lies, three individuals must battle insurmountable challenges- on a journey across two continents- to discover that it is in the midst of despair, confusion and desperation that God's unconditional; all- consuming love shines the brightest. 

Blurb credit: Goodreads.com
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Friday, 16 February 2018

Book Review: Everyday is for the Thief by Teju Cole

 Book 9 of 26 in Readathon with OA

Book Title: Everyday is for the Thief

Author: Teju Cole

Never judge a book by it's cover. When I picked up this title, I wrongly assumed a thief was or set of thieves were going to be caught but I was so wrong. However, I think the author used the title metaphorically in the sense that there are so many issues that steal normalcy away in the Nigerian society. Some of these issues include bribery and corruption, poor electricity, decaying infrastructure, armed robbery, thuggery, over zealousness in religious matters at the expense of common sense.

Each chapter in this book was dedicated to these issues as the narrator told stories that covered this issue.

What I loved most about the book: Dissecting issues on the Nigerian society as a way to make the reader think deeply and dissuade the reader from accepting the prevalent mediocrity we find living with us. My take home from this book was that mediocrity is a thief, the biggest thief we find in Nigeria. For it's mediocrity that makes us accept the substandard as a way of life.

Rating: 3.9/5

Blurb
A young Nigerian writer living in New York City returns to Lagos in search of a subject-and himself.
Visiting Lagos after many years away, Teju Cole's unnamed narrator rediscovers his hometown as both a foreigner and a local. A young writer uncertain of what he wants to say, the man moves through tableaus of life in one of the most dynamic cities in the world: he hears the muezzin's call to prayer in the early morning light, and listens to John Coltrane during the late afternoon heat. He witnesses teenagers diligently perpetrating e-mail frauds from internet cafes, longs after a woman reading Michael Ondaatje on a public bus, and visits the impoverished National Museum. Along the way, he reconnects with old school friends and his family, who force him to ask himself profound questions of personal and national history. Over long, wandering days, the narrator compares present-day Lagos to the Lagos of his memory, and in doing so reveals changes that have taken place in himself.

Copies available for sale

Blurb credit: Goodreads.com
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