My passion for reading is not dead – Part II

This is the second instalment on my series of posts entitled “ My passion for reading is not dead”, where I quickly share my thought on books that I did not have time to review.

On my last post, I briefly discuss my fiction reads. In this post, I will touch on my non-fiction reads. Non-fictions, especially biographies, held a very special spot in my heart. I found them to be very inspiring, very useful and practical.

Non Fiction

DefeatingDictatorsExcellent book. I have rarely read a book of this caliber. But first, a word about the author. George Ayittey is a Ghanaian economist, author and president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC. He is a professor at American University, and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In 2008, Dr. Ayittey was listed by Foreign Policy as one of the “Top 100 Public Intellectuals” who are shaping the tenor of our time. He is behind the idea that our time is witnessing a battle between the Cheetah and  Hippos generation. In his own words, he  sees Africa’s future as a fight between Hippos, complacent, greedy bureaucrats wallowing in the muck, and Cheetahs, the fast-moving, entrepreneurial leaders and citizens who will rebuild Africa.

However, Defeating Dictators is more of a road map on how to fight tyranny. It is peppered with real lives exemples of successes happening around the world. After reading this jewel, you can help but feel very hopeful about our contient. There is actually a light at the end of the tunnel.

Ayittey believes there are three keys to successfully rescue Africa from oppressive despotism:
  1.  He advocates forming coalitions consisting of small groups of “elders” who have no political ties and monitor the activities of the various opposition groups. Ayittey explains “They must be able to reach out to all the opposition groups. “The council should bring all of the opposition into an alliance “, which would prevent dictators from steam rolling the severely divided competition.
  2. You have to gain control of the civil service, security forces, judiciary, election centers, and national bank. Ayittey sees control of at least one of these resources as central to subverting dictatorial power in African countries. These organizations are currently staffed by cronies of dictators throughout Africa.
  3. You have to use the correct sequence of reform.

I highly recommend this book.

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To tell you the truth , I got interested in Ms Sirleaf when she was campaigning to become President of Liberia. I was very shocked to learn from her biographies that she has been involved in politics for decades – more than thirty years at least. So much for being well-informed. At the risk of sounding very cliché, here are the words that came to my mind , while I was reading this extraordinary story:

  1. Educational: I learned so much about Liberia’s story and struggle. I confessed, I had no clue about the story of Liberian people. Yes, I knew about General Samuel Doe. Upon reading this story, I was forced to reconsider my prior knowledge of Liberia.
  2. Inspiring: So much happened to this lady, but then she rises above it all. I have rarely been inspired this much by an African Lady.
  3. Insightful: Reading this story felt like watching a movie about African politics. We are used to books and movies by American or European politicians, it is rarely the case for their African counterparts. The book  retells  very intimate conversations between the powerful politicians of Liberia.
  4. Exceptional: Careerwise, Ms Sirleaf is a huge success. To rise in politics in Africa is no small feat. From her education to her ministerial jobs to her international official’s job, her career was just exceptional. Her story and success is of great inspiration to young women like me.

I sincerely recommend this book to every single African women, girl, younger girl, you named it. We should all read this great story of ambition, resilience, trials and success.

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Sudan. Sudan. Sudan.*Sigh. I knew about the ongoing war between South Sudan and Sudan. I also knew about Darfur in general. However, there is a stark difference between watching a documentary about Darfur and reading the incredible story of Halima Bashir. Honestly, sometimes I wonder about the word “humanity”. I really do. Humans can be very cruel. It is a fact. I learned so much about the lives of Darfuri before everything went terribly wrong, and it sounded a wonderful and a very nice place to grow up. Nothing to do with the place we know it to be today.

Halima Bashir narrated her incredible story. She told us about her  childhood in Darfur, her primary school in the nearest town, her university years and her first job. The backdrop of the story is the tension between arabs and black sudaneses. We heard about her first encounter with discrimination at a very early age – arab discrimination towards black. Somewhere during her university years at the university of Khartoum,  war broke out between the factions. Or I should say rebel groups attacked the government.

Halima Bashir was a brillant young women, the first female gynaecologist of  her village. Unfortunately, she also became a victim of gang rape in the war as well. She manage to escape to England and to wrote about her story.

Althought this book is very hard to read because of the graphic description of very sad events, I highly recommend it. A perfect example of Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger and stronger and stronger. War is a very nasty business for everyone involved.

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I love self help books. They inspire me. And they always push me to give the best of myself. Nana’s empowerment series really empowers me. As a Young Professional, I strongly believe in developing myself all the time, learning from others and benefiting from their vast experience. What makes this book so dear to my heart, was the fact that it was written by an African brother. I read a lot of self help books, most of the time, authors are white americans. Nowadays, you can find a lot of black american authors. However, African authors are nowhere to be found, but develop, we must. It is the only way foward. I highly recommend this book! It is short, straighforward, easy to read, inspiring and very much African. What’s not to like!

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 Everything I said about “Through the gates of my thought” apply to this book as well. However, the one element missing in the first one, is very much present in this one.  God almighty! Think about it one second, what role does GOD play in your life? How are you decisions, struggles, reflections and challenges influenced by GOD? We learned in this book that Nana’s life in organized around and towards GOD. Again, it is very inspiring to read of such things. We learned about the authors struggles and many losses. And through the experiences of others, we learn, always!I recommend!

 Have you read these books. Do share your thoughts with us below!

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One response to “My passion for reading is not dead – Part II

  1. Pingback: Under The Neem Tree Best books of 2014 | Under the neem Tree·

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