Book Review: Books i read in January 2018

The first month of the Year 2018 is gone. Whew!

About 31 (or is it 626) long days, its finally over.

How are your goals coming through?

As explained, it Is easy to know how you are doing already.

If you want to do a daring thing like Paddy, you start with with a step.

Now to the business, I am doing a review of books I read in the month of January 2018, as i will be doing each month of this year.

With an set target of 60 books (yes 60) and with an increasing number of wonderful books I have gotten so far, this will most likely be exceeded.

While the aim of reading is to learn, become a better person and get my eyes open to realities and dreams; the quality of books need to be emphasized.

The January 2018 collection varies from Business to Finance to Religion to Hacks. I will be doing a short review on them.

  1. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
Go-giver book

Rated as one of the most interesting and practicable books I’ve read so far in life. This book was recommended by Kola Aina. It’s a little story about a powerful business idea.

It describes five simple laws. Below are some of the things that we can all relate to.

1. The Law of Value — Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

2. The Law of Compensation — Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

3. The Law of Influence — Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

4. The Law of Authenticity — The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

5. The Law of Receptivity — The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

In essence, if you want to get more from life, Give More!

A very good read.

2. Hit Refresh — Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella is the current CEO of Microsoft. I was quite skeptical of the title till I read it in which Satya explained his growth from a Computer scientist to an industry leader. Started with relating his life story from childhood to marriage and to business and the ever-changing dynamics in technology with key focus in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

My mind went back to the recent news of the Amazon convenience store in Seattle in which there are ongoing concern of massive job losses by AI.

However Satya explains that a defining factor that distinguishes AI from human is EMPATHY.

3. As a man thinketh — James Allen

As a man thinketh

First published in 1903, and a phrase from Proverbs 23:7 : “For as a man (or woman) thinketh in his (or her) heart, so is he (or she)” . The writer tells us expresses that A man (or woman) is literally what he (or she) thinks, his(or her) character being the complete sum of all of his(or her) thoughts.

Chapter one dwells on Thought and Character on how our character is shaped by our thought process.

Chapter Two was Effect of Thought on Circumstance: Allen writes that “The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state. This does not mean that a man’s circumstances at any giving time are an indication of his entire character, but that those circumstances are so intimately connected with some vital thought-element within himself that, for the time being, they are indispensable to his development.” Essentially, that we are where we are based on our thoughts and our actions. Not that external factors don’t have influence, but that on balance we are each the master of our own destiny.

Chapter 3 are on the effects of Thoughts on Health and Body

“The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed,” Allen writes

Chapter 4: Thought and Purpose

Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.”

Chapter 5: The Thought-Factor in Achievement

Allen’s opening statement in this chapter: “All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.” And his ending statement: “He who would accomplish little need sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much. He who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly

Chapter 6: Visions and Ideals

“To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to achieve. Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil. The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream.

Chapter 7: Serenity

“That exquisite poise of character that we call serenity is the last lesson of culture. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

I leave with this quote

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

4. Hooked: How to build habit-forming products — Nir Eyal

I first heard about this book on CNN when a topical issue (technology addiction) came up. Nir Eyal has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design with clear insight on how human behavior is affected by technology. Prominent in the list is mobile phones. For a consumer, this book might not be of tremendous importance as it is to Technology companies.

Strategies used by the big 4 (Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google) to cause a ‘hooked’ user-experience was analysed in details. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how provide habit-forming products.

5. Alibaba: The House Jack Ma built — Duncan Clark

This book is about the story of Jack Ma and Alibaba. The author first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. He was an early adviser to Alibaba. After two decades, he interviewed Jack Ma and chronicled the rise of Alibaba. This book has twelve chapters, there is a saying stated by not only Jack Ma but also other famous entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates on each new chapter page. The most memorable quote that I have read is “Nobody knows the future. You can only create the future” — — Jack Ma.

6. Ego is the enemy — Ryan Holiday

bookre.jpeg

This is a a life-changing book. We majorly have our focus on being successful rather than staying successful. Ego is a highly recommended book for anybody at the Aspiration, Successful and even Failure stage of their lives.

You aspire to achieve all these amazing things and destroy everything in your way. But do you know who is the biggest obstacle? Yourself. More specifically your ego. The climb towards success creates dangerous openings from where the ego can burst through. In the attempt to go forward, you unknowingly go backwards.

Countless are the successful people who worked extremely hard to reach a position of power and influence to later destroy their lives because of their egoistic addiction. It is the reason for many failed businesses, relationships and careers.

So far we saw how much the ego influences your actions and hurts our progress. Unfortunately, failure happens to everyone, regardless of our ego. It’s an inevitable aspect of our lives, therefore we must know how to deal with it. Failure is already hard to deal with by itself but our ego will hyperbolize the situation, making it even harder to bounce back from it.

In short, please read this book.

You can kindly give your own review and suggest books to be reviewed in the comment section.

Have a fruitful month ahead.

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CHILD-RAPE: A menace to the Girl-Child ‘Dami Aweda

I love this

Dami Cole

            According to the Wikipedia free encyclopedia RAPE can be defined as a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, initiated by one or more persons against another (weaker/more vulnerable) and without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent.
A girl child is a female between the age of 0-17 years. Any female below the age of 18years fall under the category of the girl child and is entitled to the basic children right. Discrimination among genders has been a worldwide menace but it is found to be more prevalent in African countries where the birth of a female child met with doom while the birth of a male child is a source of joy and rejoicing to the family. These doesn’t…

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The Next Generation Debate

Tolu Ogunlesi

It’s the kind of news that strikes you as unusual, for one reason: There’s a class of -tion words totally out of place in this part of the world – words like abdication, resignation, restitution. So you can imagine how intrigued I was when it emerged earlier this week that Holland’s Queen Beatrix announced she will be relinquishing the throne to her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, in March.
The 75-year-old Queen, in her speech, said: “Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation. I am deeply grateful for the great faith you have shown in me in the many years that I could be your Queen.” It is interesting to note that Queen Beatrix’s mother and grandmother also abdicated, in favour of their heirs.
The new King – the first male monarch in the country in several decades – is forty-five. So he’s not exactly a ‘youth’ / ‘yoot’. (unless of course we were speaking within the context of Nigeria, or Zimbabwe, where men twenty years past life-expectancy can still receive presidential waivers to enable them claim youthfulness).
But in the words of his mother, he represents a “new generation.” Which brings me to the issue at the heart of today’s column: the youth and ‘next-generation’ debate.
Some background, first. When the colonialists gave Nigeria up in 1960, they left the country to a class of men in their forties and fifties – the Balewas and Awos and Ziks and others. These men themselves had a younger coterie of people they mentored. Awolowo, for example, had the Bola Iges and Bisi Onabanjos, who, were 30 and 33 respectively, at Nigeria’s independence. By his early thirties Ige was already a prominent member of the Action Group.
When the military took over as ruling class, the median age for the leadership of Nigeria must have plunged by at least one decade. Those January 15, 1966 coup plotters were mostly, if not all, men in their late twenties. Younger, I realise, than I currently am. The pattern would continue for a while. When Yakubu Gowon and Odumegwu-Ojukwu led Nigeria into a civil war, they were only slightly older than I am. Gowon was 32, Ojukwu, 33. The 32-year-old Gowon appointed a 31-year-old Ukpabi Asika as the Administrator of the East Central State, and a Ken Saro-Wiwa barely out of his mid-twenties as Civilian Administrator of Bonny.
Oh the bliss of youthful power. One could go on and on. It’d be interesting to calculate the mean ages of Nigeria’s ruling classes from independence till date, and see what pattern would emerge.
It was that generation of military officers who first rose to prominence in 1966, who continued to rule, until 1979. They more or less came of age – married and had children – right there in the corridors of power: the Gowons, Mohammeds, Obasanjos, Danjumas, Yar’Aduas (all born in the 1930s). Behind them lay the slightly younger class of officers, born in the 40s – the Babangidas, Abachas, David Marks, Ogbehas, Rasakis, Usenis, Shagayas, etc who patiently waited their turn, which arrived fully in the mid-eighties (Babangida and Abacha straddled both generations). That class of officers, and their civilian friends, have essentially run this country since then.
Until, perhaps (and this is open to debate) the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan as President. He came from outside that power bloc; when they were consolidating their hold on power throughout the eighties and nineties he was a struggling PhD student and later mid-level bureaucrat tucked away in the creeky anonymity of the Niger Delta. There was a shortlived period during the Obasanjo era, it seems, when technocrat-outsiders such as the Okonjo-Iwealas, el-Rufais and Ribadus gained access to the engine room (again, debatable).
Why have I done this brief, superficial, analysis? It is because I realise that there is no future worth accessing outside the context of the past. Even with Dr. Jonathan’s emergence, and the chance it has given for a new class of power-brokers – including Niger Delta militants – to emerge, the Generals of old and their civilian friends are still firmly planted in the control towers. One good reminder is the Power Holding Company of Nigeria privatisation: a good number of the companies that won the GENCO bids came backed by retired Generals. It’s the way the system has been set up to operate.
I do not write this to complain about that state of affairs, or plead for a transfer of power, no. Complaining and pleading are both pointless. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, power is never voluntarily handed over, it must be demanded. No power worth acquiring is handed over willingly, without fuss.
One alternative will be to wait for the so-called ‘old guard’ to die. Many of them will – and no, this is not a curse – over the next decade, of old age and natural causes. Yes, they’re that old.
But that is hardly a sensible way to go about things.
Perhaps there will be lessons for us in the tactics that helped Nigeria gain independence. Even though I must hasten to add that fighting for independence from a malaria-burdened, increasingly fatigued band of colonialists is not the same as fighting for control with a band of firmly entrenched elite groups, who have no other home country to retire to.
I don’t mean for this to be construed as an argument for ‘this is our turn’. I have always been sceptical of this “our turn” argument. As I wrote in an article first published in my column for YNaija.com in March 2012:
“Age has since become a problem that needs solving, and young people the obvious answers to the questions of geriatric mediocrity and repression. I hear it all the time, those who insist that until everyone above a certain cut-off age (varies depending on who’s making the argument) is put to death by firing squad, Nigeria will not progress. But really, does the novelty and exuberance that youth offers guarantee change by itself? I suspect it’s high time we cured ourselves of a certain blind optimism in the power of the ‘youth’. The young have it in them to be as clueless and as corrupt and as close-minded as the old.”
I still stand by this. Behind and around every corrupt, clueless ‘elder’ lies a band of young ‘uns, angling for a stake at the table of indulgence.
So yes, youth, by itself, will not save Nigeria. But no doubt it is a good place to start. There comes a time in the history of every organisation, and nation, when the leadership must realise that change is in the air. A new set of people must be given a chance, to run or ruin things. There are no guarantees what they will do, but it must happen. This is the Queen Beatrix’ message. And it is one we must take to heart.
Young(er) Nigerians should strive to be more insistent – and strategic – about having a say in the running of Nigeria. They will be the ones left here in 2050 when there are 400 million people within the shores of this country. Woe betide Nigeria if she hasn’t found a way to feed and care for its teeming masses by then.
We really need to take our succession planning seriously in this country. Obasanjo’s greatest mistake, it turns out, was not planning properly for a successor. But kudos to him all the same for the crop of bright young technocrats he gave a chance. If Nigeria still has hope it is in part due to the fact that these people – and none of them is perfect, don’t get me wrong – are still around, and still eager to show an example to those younger than them.
Every system needs to replenish itself, if it is to stand a chance of survival. As my friend Toyosi Akerele likes to ask, of what use is these old men (and I daresay women) making plans for a Nigeria they will not be a part of? Can anyone tell me why 60 and 70 and 80-year olds are still so desperate, decades after they got their own chance at power, a chance to prove to the world the tragic limitations of their abilities?

•Ogunlesi, the Special Adviser to the President of the the Federal Republic of Nigeria and winner of the 2009 Arts and Culture prize in the CNN MultiChoice African Journalism Awards

Putting to rest the 8-5 and entrepreneurship feud

reno

…..that was how the conversation started…..

With a lot of people for, another set of people against but then this is Reno….

For starters, I am a 24 hour person.

“If you suck at 8 to 5, you will definitely crash eventually if you attempt entrepreneurship”

Entrepreneurship is guts and blood.

If ones reasoning for wanting entrepreneurship is flexible time, then that is a lie. You work round the clock. If you aren’t ready for that especially at an early stage in acquisition of clients, please don’t venture.

Another argument says “You will be a boss of your own” truth is……Everyone has a boss. While the employee’s boss is the CEO/Supervisor/Manager…The CEO’s bosses’ are the customers of the service provided. Isn’t the role of any business to provide service? While you can hate your boss’ face and still get paid….you have to suck up to your customers or you are out of business!

Are you ready to take risks? While the worst case of any risk taken as an employee is getting out of job… An entrepreneur’s risk is worse — A wrong move can give a lifelong devastation. While the CEO is battling depression and bankruptcy, you are probably ironing your shirt for the next interview after 3 days of disengagement (kai! some employees are not nice).

While it is understandable that as an 8–5er, the quality of life might be limited..you might not be able to afford the real luxuries of life or attain the highest level of financial freedom — this is where honing one’s skills well.

As stated by Tayo Oviosu, Managing Director, Pagatech

Nigeria needs to groom great managers to lead companies or start businesses later in their career…

The act of timing comes to play. A lot of PAID, risk-free learning comes with being an employee and this helps when you eventually decide to launch out. A personal not to this is the fact that in the three industries i have managed (Oil and gas, Consulting and Commercial Real Estate), I have had various unique perspectives to managing people and maximizing resources. These varying experiences outweigh an MBA from Harvard especially (short courses…lol)

Finally, do you know you don’t have to own a business before making a mark in your field? Just have the owner-mentality and see wonders work for you. Many examples including Jack Welch, Sola David — Borha of Stanbic bank and my personal favorite — Akin Akinfemiwa of Forte Oil have made a huge mark(and loads of money) not as owners but as exceptional managers.

While i am not discouraging entrepreneurship (why should I?), do not venture out of ‘employee-ship’ for the wrong reasons.

Let me have your comments……

December 2015 #31 days challenge

Hi,

Its been a pretty long time i have posted and this has been due to re-branding and adjustment issues. I promise i won’t be far from you guys.

I am pleased to inform you my frequent readers of a 31day challenge starting December 1st 2015. It would include posts from me and a few guests on topical issues throughout the month. This posts promise to cast a reflection on the concluding year and starting the new year with a bang.

Feel free to share, post your comments and write-ups.

Anonymous Sauces Explain The N7trn Deficit

N7trn deficit explained

Agùntáṣǫólò

“Weapon no be groundnut, but deficit fit turn to debt” –

Goodluck The Jonathan, First of His Name

Preamble

Let us assume Omo Baba Olowo (OBO) earns N10m annually. He plans to spend N5m on a new car; N2m on rent; and wants to spend N1m per month on small things like buying champagne at Sip, presents for his supermodel girlfriend (Baby Girl), food, petrol in his car and other normal expenses. Since he budgets an income of N10m and an expenditure of N19m, you can say the budget has a deficit of N9m. Now, OBO needs to find N9m from somewhere, so he asks his father Baba Olowo for an advance on his inheritance and gets N5m, But the money is still not complete, so he goes to a bank and borrows N4m.

All is well, so OBO is calm and happy.  In this case, OBO runs a…

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The Auguries – Leke Alder

I stumbled on this writeup by Leke Alder and feel the need to share it. Feel free to comment.

Dear Jack
The Auguries
Posted 06-09-2014

Dear Jack, I honestly don’t get it. You fell in love with this lovely girl. You’ve dated her for years now and thinking of marriage. And then your mum “took her name” to the Pastor who “examined the matter” spiritually and declared the marriage accursed.

Based on this strange progression, you’ve decided to break up your relationship. Your mum, of course, is recommending another girl… “from a very good family”. “We know them well,” she says. I don’t even know where to begin! There are so many issues lumped together. Let me address the doctrinal issues first.

I think people sometimes mistake Christianity for traditional African religion. They are obviously different. The practice of “spiritual examination” of suitability of marriage partner by a pastor has no basis in Christianity. I don’t know where the practice came from. Can you point to one instance or one case study in scriptures? Once you take your life outside the word of God you’re on your own. And that’s a dangerous place to be. No coordinates. You’re a Christian. If it’s not in the Bible don’t subject your life to it, no matter how popular.

And you’re confused about the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament the prophets consulted God on behalf of the people. In the New Testament, God democratized his Spirit in man and gave everyone access through Jesus. You have direct access to God. Why are you going to the Pastor as intermediary agency on choice of marriage partner? You already have a faithful High Priest in Jesus Christ. He’s your intermediary. These practices are not biblical. I’m not saying your pastor can’t counsel you, or pray for you on choice. No, don’t misinterpret the import of my letter. Neither am I saying that your pastor can’t warn you against perceived danger in the ordinary course of life.

I’m talking about asking the pastor to consult the auguries like a voodoo doctor in traditional African religion. I’m saying EMPHATICALLY that transposing traditional African belief system into Christianity is NOT biblical. Your pastor is under-shepherd. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, the Great Shepherd and the Good Shepherd. Ever read in the gospels where anyone went to Jesus to “spiritually examine” the suitability of a spousal candidate? He wouldn’t even get involved in settling issues of inheritance. And did his apostles ever do such a thing? That a pastor made your spousal choice for you or endorsed it doesn’t give it any leverage before God. This is a hard saying.

The ecclesiastical imprimatur doesn’t guarantee success either. You still have to work on your marriage. What I’m saying may not be popular, and I know it goes against the grain of practice in some locals but truth is truth. And when we modify the truth of the Gospel we create consequential traditions of men. If you can cite scripture for these practices I’ll be most grateful.

And please no generic stretches of credulity. This is not saying you shouldn’t ask for blessing on your marriage from church. We’re talking about choice. If you think you’re not spiritually developed enough to make certain decisions, there’s a scriptural shade: “The integrity of the upright shall guide them,” Proverbs 11:3 says. Just do things with integrity of heart. God will hold you responsible for your marriage however your choice comes about. It’s your responsibility. When people choose a bride for you and you acquiesce, it’s still your choice. You gave them power of attorney. And this takes us to the larger issues.

You want to marry but you vacate your responsibilities for your mum. Isn’t this the same mum you’re supposed to leave to be joined to your bride? Or are the scriptures in vain? “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” If you can’t even choose a bride for yourself how can you fulfill this biblical injunction? I see your mum dominating your marriage and that makes me sorry for whomever you marry. How can your mum choose a bride for you?! How can you allow anybody choose a bride for you? They don’t know you! They know ABOUT you, they don’t know you, and can’t know you.

There are the intimacies of heart no one can know except you. Your mum and your pastor can’t know. 1 Corinthians 2:11 says: “For what person perceives, knows and understands what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit?” Your mum thinks she knows what’s best for you. Why, are you kindergarten? Haven’t you outgrown your breeches? What does your mum know about your hidden thoughts – the kind of woman you want, your sexual fantasies… Your mum is looking for someone she can control; doesn’t realize you’re trying to avoid someone like her. She thinks she’s the quintessential wife; yet your dad knows better, and you know better too.

Anecdotal evidence is often cited about the success of the old ways – when parents chose a bride for their son. In those days, a family would post a photo of a bridal prospect to their son in the city, or say studying in England. Based on the visual presented, and relying on the judgment of his parents the son took a bride. What I often hear is that this old method was efficacious in producing successful marriages. Really? Funny how people bandy syllogistic conclusions without statistical premises. We often cite orphan “facts”. So, all those men who married second wives… who are they? To what generation did they belong? All those battered and abused women… women who hung on to marriage “for the sake of the children”… Whose wives were they? And all those men who fathered children extra wedlock… I guess they came from Mars! And all those bitter and unhappy children… some have sworn never to marry… Who produced them?

Of course some of the marriages succeeded. The laws of probability dictate some MUST. But there were also catfishes. Solomon says, ‘“Don’t long for “the good old days?” This is not wise’. You can’t make a marriage decision based on someone else’s judgment and determination. It is not wise. Your spouse is going to live with you, not them. When something goes wrong, all you’ll hear is, “We thought she was ok.” And they will say it with exaggerated pursed lips and a sad face, to the accompaniment of a resigned hand gesture.

If I seem a tad brusque in this letter, understand. You’re setting yourself up for unhappiness, depression and regrets. If this girl is as you described in your letter she’s worth fighting for. Your mum doesn’t know what you know.

All I’m saying young man, Take responsibility for your life!

Your mentor,

LA.

© Leke Alder 2014