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Monday, December 5, 2011

Freedom from Financial slavery




FREEDOM FROM FINANCIAL SLAVERY
TITLE: THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON
AUTHOR: GEORGE S. CLASON
YEAR: 1926
PAGES: 144
PRICE: $9.99(Amazon Price)
REVIEWER: NKECHI OBIANIGWE

The key to wealth resides with those who understand the principles that govern financial success. George Clason in his book “ the Richest Man in Babylon” explains these principles; how money can be generated and how it can be continually sustained to generate more income.

‘ A part of all you earn is yours to keep’, that part as Clason points out in this book can be as little as a tenth of one’s earning with which more wealth can be acquired. With this he proposes seven cures that will prop our purses to fattening; Start thy purse to fattening (with a tenth of one’s income as explained earlier); Control your expenditures; Make the gold multiply ( invest the money in some other venture that would yield additional income); Guard thy treasures from loss; Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment (building one’s own house); Insure a future income (pension scheme); Increase thy ability to earn.


The author makes use of parables to drive home his point on financial independence. The story telling approach makes the readers to better relate with principles that is espoused here. Although the parables are written in ancient English, but the messages in the stories, carry a lot of meaning.


The book addresses issues of gainful investment rather than gambling. It explains the fact that regardless of the amount one earns, more can be made out of it. The history of Babylon which the reader explains in the last chapter, opens ones mind to the fact that a nation can be developed with limited resources but the leadership in place, determines what the nation would eventually become.


From the brief description of Babylon, we are let into the fact that Babylon only had a fertile soil and a river, no other natural resource to aid in what became known as a nation from where the richest men emerged.


The role of work cannot be under emphasized and from the parable, it’s importance is highlighted:

...If thou get a master, work for him as hard as thou canst. If he does not appreciate all thou do, Never mind. Remember, work well done, does good to the man who does it. It will make him a better man..(page 125)


..Work has become my best helper. It has enabled me to recapture my confidence and my skill to sell (page 132).

Asides the fact that one needs to save a part of their income, Clason makes it clear that it is not enough for one to just save, but that money needs to generate more income, hence the need to make profitable investments. After identifying the need to work, it is clear that there is always a time for one to move to become one’s own boss, after learning the skills that would be needed and asking questions from those who have gone ahead in that business line to avoid incurring loses.


Although in this book, the idea of one becoming an entrepreneur is highlighted in the form of a slave and master relationship, but it’s purpose is not defeated. The book is a total package, a strong weapon to deliver us from the pangs of financial slavery. It is not enough to spend over half of one’s time on earth serving others, with no strategy on becoming their own boss hence no savings, people literally ‘spend’ everything as they earn.



From the parable, we understand that entrepreneurship is a risk especially at the onset, but gradually the benefits becomes obvious. Life offers a lot of opportunities to the patient smart/hard workers; it is not an easy or fast route but like we often hear, there’s “dignity in labour”.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


EVERY ACCOMPLISHMENT STARTS FROM WITHIN


TITLE
: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING:10 Life- Changing Steps to
Turning Attitude into Action
AUTHOR: KEITH HARRELL
YEAR: 2004
PAGES: 251
PRICE: $11.55 (Amazon Price)
REVIEWER: NKECHI OBIANIGWE

What readily comes to mind when we hear names like Barack Obama, Lance Armstrong, Martin Luther King Jr, Helen Keller, Bill Strickland amongst others? One would say they pursued their dreams and impacted the lives of others against all odds. Another would mention the fact that they ignored the trepidation that evolved as a result of their present circumstances or their immediate environment that would have held them down from achieving what they have so far. The inference that Keith Harrell has deduced from the lives of these personalities in this book, is the fact that there was the conscious effort each made to maintaining a “positive attitude” regardless of their circumstances.

Keith starts by giving a clearer view of what the term “attitude’ truly means. After giving different definitions of what the term really means, he concludes that the word in itself means “life”. From our waking up in the morning, and our retirement at night, our attitude speaks in everything. He explains that we have the power to determine our attitude in any given situation, whether positive or negative; while a positive attitude portends a healthy living, a negative attitude forestalls prosperity, growth instead, it breeds depression and dormancy.

He goes further to explain the fact that we have to use words of affirmation, likewise our power of visualization to dispel every negative attitude. The power of faith is also expressed here, he cites an example to corroborate what this can do. For example, when Keith desired a job at IBM, at a time when new staff members were not needed, he usually went for interview practices at his cousin’s places, when there was no hope in sight that he would get the job. But his positive attitude and dogged faith, made his getting the job possible.

Also in one of the ten steps (step 8), he mentions the fact that there is the need to build supportive relationships, which he calls the A-team. These are people we can rely on and who can in turn rely on us, likewise motivating us to explore our God-given potentials.

Keith explains the impact of a positive attitude in every sphere of our lives most especially our work places or whatever we find ourselves doing a daily basis. He highlights the fact that 92 percent constitutes our attitude, while the other 8 percent constitutes our talents or knowledge about our chosen profession.

Inotherwords, a positive attitude towards our work (even with little knowledge) can help provide more insights on the job because we are completely sold out to the cause, whether in sales or any other field thereby giving rise to recognition and eventually promotion . In the words of Martin Luther King Jr, Keith quotes thus:

He who has been called to sweep streets should sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poems, like Michaelangelo painted, like Beethoven composed songs. He should sweep so well that the earth and heavens would stand and say, here lives the street sweeper who did his job well.

Keith explains that there are several avenues which could give rise to a bad attitude, one of which is change; change from the usual to the unusual and anything that tends to separate us from our previously desired comfort zone. He affirms that change is an opportunity that must be embraced and thoroughly explored, thus a positive energy should be channeled towards this.

According to Keith, leaving footprints in the sands of time is essential. Contributing to a cause gives a sense of accomplishment and fuels positive attitudes in the lives of those who benefit from this cause.

Keith does not just prescribe what should be done in these 10 steps, he backs his claims with true life examples that can be verified. His steps are practical and with a sense of consistency can be achieved. To assure the readers of the credibility of his facts, he expresses in details how all these steps had a positive impact in his own life.

The author makes use of words that are easy to understand, so it can be readily understood by every individual who chooses to benefit from what the book has to offer.

Like a popular Nigerian pastor says "your attitude determines your altitude in life”, hence there is the need to chose a positive attitude that will allow one achieve God’s given purpose for their lives.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book review- Why you act the way you do



UNDERSTAND ‘YOU’ AND ACT BETTER

TITLE : WHY YOU ACT THE WAY YOU DO
AUTHOR: TIM LAHAYE
YEAR: 1993
NO OF PAGES:366
PRICE: N550
REVIEWER: NKECHI OBIANIGWE

As humans, we seldom understand that everyone has been created with different personalities, thus we hear individuals say things like “I can’t tolerate her”, “she acts strange and weird”, ‘I can’t just understand him’, ‘he is so unpredictable ’, ‘I can’t work with him, he’s without emotions’ and so on. Tim Lahaye in his book 'Why you act the way you do' helps to dispel some of these fears and uncertainties we have while dealing with people by helping us understand the personality type of every individual.

According to Tim, we are influenced to a large extent by our personality types. Although as a spiritual person, the weaknesses we exhibit as a result of our personality tends to become less obvious, but we cannot deny that this personality doesn’t exist. He mentions the fact that there are four different personality types in every individual and these personalities possess weaknesses which should be appreciated. These personality types include: The Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic.

He explains the fact that the “sanguine” are happy people, they love to live life to its fullest, they are usually very friendly and as a result, people feel comfortable around them. ‘Cholerics’ are a serious set of individuals, they are usually the workaholics, they are focused and determined regardless of unpleasant events that occur while trying to pursue a particular project. In otherwords, they are the ones who really see blessings in every disappointment. The ‘melancholics’ are a very analytical set, they have very high IQ’s and are artistic. Individuals who are phlegmatics are usually quiet, easy going and don’t like to offend people.


However, Tim emphasizes the fact that it is somewhat impossible to have an individual exhibit only one personality type, hence the need to classify them into primary and secondary personality types.
He mentions the importance of aligning one’s self to the Holy spirit so as to better appreciate the strengths inherent in one’s personality, while also gradually erasing some of the weaknesses that has deterred one from functioning maximally as God has always designed us to.

From the weaknesses the author identifies in every personality trait, he explains (with biblical evidence) that the presence of the Holy spirit would go a long way in ensuring that we behave better and enjoy God’s will for our lives. According to him, true repentance and constant study of scriptures would help us in achieving this.

Asides the positive traits that has been mentioned above, Tim makes to identify the weaknesses of each of the types: Sanguines because of their care free nature, are disorganized, proud, and as a result are prone to anger, and their tongue is one good way of escape; Cholerics are usually the ‘workaholics’ in their vocation, they are termed ‘emotionless’, and prone to anger just as the sanguines. Asides the fact that they have the highest IQs (especially within their families), melancholics are well known for criticisms and self condemnation, they fear and worry more than any other personality type. It is for this class of people that Tim says would need to have a lot of faith. The phlegmatics on the other hand, are usually complacent, they are slow and would rather not initiate anything. For the fear of hurting others, they would rather go along with what they say, they tend to worry a lot as well.

Regardless of the weaknesses associated with these personality types, Tim provides practical steps that could be taken to curb them.

One interesting thing about this book, is the fact that the author did not propose any idea in isolation of some facts. Most of his ideas are backed with some biblical evidence. Some others are based on his experience as a counselor and a pastor, thus giving some credence to his work.

This book is a must read for everyone as the author explains our different temperament in different aspects like vocation, family, marriage and sex. It is a total guide on how we can identify the problems that exist in these areas and with our knowledge of different personality types, manage it effectively.

Friday, October 7, 2011

GLAD TO HAVE YOU HERE...!

Hello everyone,

The ideal thing for everyone who has just created a blogsite is to make a brief introduction of what the blogsite is all about right? I apologise for not doing that and am hoping this is not late afterall. I realised the need for this, when people say "oh, you ve got a blog, that's cool, so what's it about" and I would have to keep explaining before I ask them to go check the site for themselves.

I am truly grateful to everyone. who has taken time out to view what this blog is all about (even those who have not), but let me give a brief overview of what we would be expecting from this blogsite as we go on.

Most people say"people don't like to read anymore". According to them, it's almost as if when one is through with the tertiary institution stage, they bid books farewell. Some other individuals complain about not having the time to do so because of the amount of time they have to put into their career, and everyone deserves a good rest afterwards right? I also realised the fact that most people can take out time to read a good book, that is when they know the book to read that would help address the issues they would want resolved or that would aid their development.

It is in view of these facts that i have mentioned, that I set up this blogsite to enable the readers to see the books that could interest them. I used the word "see", because a book review, is like an eye that let's you know at a glance what the book is all about. In otherwords,the aim of a book review, is not to give just a summary of the book, but to also do a kind of critique that lets you know whether or not the book is worth your time.

I would really appreciate your comments here because it would be an opportunity for growth and improvement for me because I hope to learn a whole lot from what you would say and who knows it could help me as an author someday in the future. I hope we would all have a good time here.

For my last words on this introductory page, I want to commend the efforts of one of my lecturers and a good friend, Dr. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu, for his contributions, because without putting me through the subject of what a review entails, I would not have been able to do this effectively.

As a great preacher once said "when you stop reading, you start dying". i wish you all a "Happy living"

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book review- Free from Corporate Slavery by Jimi Tewe


UNEARTHING LIFE’S PURPOSE
TITLE: JIMI TEWE
AUTHOR: FREE FROM CORPORATE SLAVERY
YEAR: 2011
NO OF PAGES: 187
PRICE: N1,600
REVIEWER: NKECHI OBIANIGWE
“…Don’t find a reason to say, coulda woulda shoulda, but I didn’t do that, give it a shot, better believe and don’t say you…”.The famous singer, Celine Dion, seemed not to be the only one with this point of view, Jimi Tewe expresses how one could avoid saying those words while following one’s dream, passion and purpose against all odds.

Jimi Tewe, the CEO of Inspiro Consulting, a Human Resource Solution provider shares his personal experiences in this book on how he was able to be free from the bonds of slavery that would have restrained him from fulfilling his purpose in life. After being a beneficiary of the good things that accompanies a managerial position in one of the top banks in Nigeria, he did not let himself be consumed by this achievement which he attained five years after youth service.

The author poses some questions to enable the readers assess themselves on whether they are victims of corporate slavery and suggests ways in whicht hey could be free from this.

He also identifies a security/risk taking continuum where most individuals would prefer to continue with their jobs ( regardless of whether it’s in line with their passion or the time is right to move), than be exposed to the uncertainties that results from pursuing another career path or starting a new business. The author considers this as myopic which could leave the individual regretting this waste of time and vital resources in the long run.

I have come to realize that life is too valuable and should not be wasted using the major part of my finite time doing activities that do not utilize my talents, abilities, passion, creativity and all the facilities that I have. (pg 29)

The author urges every individual to discover the reason for their existence as this is one avenue through which we can truly be celebrated as we ought to be:

I have found that more often than not, those we celebrate are those people who have discovered their domain of passion and have given room for its expression”. (pg 32)

In a bid to follow our dreams, he recognizes seven potential dream killers that we would have to encounter. They include: people, societal expectation, fear of the unknown, debt, the pursuit of security, personal insecurity and competitive mentality. The author stresses the fact that these would have to be managed properly in order to avoid making wrong decisions.

The author makes it clear that there are models that can aid one in achieving career success. He identifies self discovery and apprenticeship as part of this model. The place of apprenticeship is essential, but considering the employment situation in the country, one wonders whether this is achievable.

Also on the issue of employment, the author does not seem to be aware of the fact that employers of labour in some organizations in Nigeria, subject their employers to some form of slavery. The employees are made to sign an undertaking for a period of time with which they are not permitted to leave the organization, and when they decide to, they would have to pay a huge sum. How can an individual then be truly free from corporate slavery when that individual feels within few months that it was not his career path in the first place?

On another note, asides the use of words that are simple and easy to understand, the front cover of the book clearly presents the idea of the book. The use of chains round a suitcase presents slavery in its literal sense.

Jimi’ s use of real life examples is also worthy of note. In chapter 8, which he titled “Success stories”, he attempts to show examples of individuals who moved from one thriving career path to the other where people felt were less honourable compared to previous jobs, but those businesses have achieved great successes till date.

We can deduce the fact that some suggestions or guidelines offered in this book has not just been tailored around his personal experience but those of other individuals who took same steps and are achieving great successes. This makes the book credible in some way.

Jimi did not limit the content of this book to individuals who need to either start a business on theor own or follow another career path, but to individuals who are about to start their career. This he does by stressing the importance of purpose and passion as financial benefits alone is never enough. According to him, a job should give: fulfillment, sense of accomplishment, valuable experience and financial rewards.

whatever you eventually settle to do, make sure you enjoy life and this is not a function of how much money you have at your disposal. It is more of a function of the state of your mind.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book review- Make the Impossible Possible by BILL STRICKLAND with VINCE RAUSE






IN DESPERATE PURSUIT OF A DREAM

TITLE: MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE
AUTHOR: BILL STRICKLAND with VINCE RAUSE
YEAR : 2007
PAGES: 231

CONTENT: Book review by Nkechi Obianigwe

Just like the popular sportswear brand, Adidas, whose slogan states thus “Impossible is Nothing”, same way Bill in his book “Make the Impossible Possible” (which is divided into ten chapters) explains the fact that impossibility is a non-existent word that limits the scope of our dream and passion. From being a ghetto kid, he went further to become the: Founder of Manchester Craft Guild, CEO of Manchester Bidwell Centre; an orchid cultivator; a commercial pilot amongst others.


Bill grew up in the Pittsburgh ghetto which seemed lifeless and was as though nothing good could evolve from such an environment. This book explains how Bill was able to live above his environment and circumstances to dream big and affect positively, individuals who were coasting through life with no sense of purpose and direction; a one- time regular ghetto kid who has contributed immensely in giving meaning to the life of other individuals.


In the introductory chapter of this book, Bill is sharing his experience with graduate students at Harvard Business school. As a result of the tremendous work he had done at the Manchester Bidwell Center in Pittsburg, he was asked to serve as an HBS case study. Here, he made a display of the art that were products of the centre and the structures put in place to ensure effective learning, while also giving an insight into how Manchester Bidwell centre came into being.


He gives an insight into how his early days as a teenager in the ghetto were like in Chapter two of his book. He explains the fact that the ghetto was once a thriving area before industrialists and other individuals who contributed to the success of the area moved away. Nonetheless, his mother helped to ensure they did not shape their lives after their environment. While a student at Oliver high school, he took an interest in pottery from his art teacher, Frank Ross ( this relationship also contributed to his love for jazz music).


As a result of his yearning to allow other poor children to have some sense of satisfaction from arts, he sought for ways to bring his dream to reality. While also a history student at University of Pittsburgh, he also founded the Craftsmen Guild, an art center where programs in ceramics, photography and painting are offered to students. Originally, he sought to improve the lives of the “ghetto kids”, most of whom were junkies, drug addicts, convicts etc, eventually stories of the products he produced from the school, got the attention of individuals in the urban area as well as white kids.


Subsequently, Bill takes the step to make Bidwell, a center that truly represents what it should be at the age of 24 regardless of how a black was perceived at that time. He recreated the center and made it a place to be reckoned with worldwide. Graduates from the school have become a sought after in the country; IBM, amongst others.


It is also evident that Bill did not place any limits on his dream, he also went ahead to acquire a certificate as a flight engineer in order to become a commercial pilot. He converted a mere admiration for orchid into something that every green house and major flower stores yearned for. Against all odds, he established a jazz centre where famous jazz artists did their performances thus attracting a whole lot of new businesses in the area.

Whatever accomplishment Bill has made, he attributes it to an intense pursuit of his dream. In page 59, he explains the fact that “ dreams are just fantasies unless they are rooted in the solid understanding of who you are”. He emphasizes the fact that the place of trusting one’s vision, mission and passion is not to be underestimated especially in making one’s dream a reality:

…Trust your passion, identify your dreams and find the courage to share them with others, no matter how many times they will call you a fool. If your vision has merit, no matter how impossible it may seem, someone would recognize it and help you make it come true. That’s a practical power of a well founded dream…(pg97)



According to him, he has been able to achieve these successes thus far as a result of a genuine passion. He says “ Passion ignores the impossible and gives you the drive you need to do whatever you have to do to make a dream come true, no matter how extreme, or unlikely or absurd those actions might seem”.(pg 151)


From Bill’s story, it is evident that while trying to work in line with our vision, all is not going to be rosy, frustrations would set in in page 86, reference is made to the fact that out of despair, Bill resorted to drinking at Shamrock Inn, a neighbourhood bar. It was recorded that he once had 4 martinis for lunch. This did not deter him, he bounced back on his feet and learnt that challenges are an essential part of life that must be managed properly.

The author’s reference to the power of mentorship is worthy of note. In page 211, he mentions the fact that no one accomplishes anything worthwhile without the help of others, in otherwords, success has never been a ‘solo mission” (pg 217)



Just as every individual tries to identify their source of inspiration and “swing” as the author terms it, Bill attributes his to jazz music. This explains the jazz centre at Manchester Bidwell Center:


…Jazz isn’t just the music, it’s the feeling the music gives you. The feeling is the result of an ability to recognize potential in simple things and ordinary situation, then through improvisation, conviction and skill, turn that potential into something reliable”(pg 106)
…it is a bottomless source of energy and inspiration that reminds me in simple terms why I need to do what I do, it gives me the will and the stamina to keep doing it, despite setbacks and obstacles” (pg 107)

While trying to emphasize the importance of opportunities, the author gives a contrary opinion from the popular notion that having a vision and goal is essential to one’s existence. According to him, “chance occurrences and unforeseen opportunities play a huge role in all our lives. I had no master plan, no grand strategic vision that led me to build Manchester Bidwell…” (pg 104). While this is true in his own case, replication of this by another individual might not prove to be effective.


However, one could deduce the fact that opportunities that one comes across might not necessarily be in line with the goals might just be an avenue to establish the contacts that might be needed for the next phase. In other words, while still following one’s goals, one must not be myopic in the process.


Asides the fact that the use of simple and short sentences makes the piece readable and interesting, another remarkable quality about this book is expressed in the way the author uses real life examples to buttress his point. He gives instances of successful individuals and how they impacted the lives of others. His ability to paint pictures with words is worthy of note.


Conclusively, the author urges us to make a difference in our world. In his words, “you only need to recognize these invitations and respond in a way that suits your ambitions, your values, your resources and your passion”.