Book Review

‘Books that have mentored us’

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Anthony Muiyuro is the Senior Manager, Cybersecurity & Resilience at EY. PHOTO | BEN KIRUTHI | NMG

Summary

  • In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive.
  • Books can be a gateway to interacting with great mentors that you may not be unable to access.
  • The greatest asset we have in Africa is genius talent waiting to be discovered and exposure to the right information is a sure way of helping them emerge.

Anthony Muiyuro Associate Director, KPMG

What is your favourite book/author to read?

John Maxwell’s books on leadership, growth, and capacity development. Top in my library are ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’, ‘The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth’, and ‘How Successful People Grow.’ I have other favourite authors whom I consider as my mentors such as Myles Munroe, Malcolm Gladwell, Tony Robbins, Jim Collins, and Ray Dalio among others.

Watching YouTube videos or reading books? What’s your preference?

For me, a book is something I can always refer to. I take notes and highlight specific things that I have learned and that speak to me. One of the things I would like to hand over to my children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren are the books that shaped me to become the person that I am and will be. I would like them to read my notes and understand my thoughts at that time. I however watch YouTube videos which are still great ways of learning.

Would you start a library in your home village?

Yes! We hear of great stories of phenomenal people like William Kakwamba who read a book from a remote village in Malawi that inspired him to build a wind turbine from scrap materials to power multiple electrical appliances in his family’s house. I believe the greatest asset we have in Africa is genius talent waiting to be discovered and exposure to the right information is a sure way of helping them emerge.

Do you think books can act as mentors?

Yes, in such a big way. Books can be a gateway to interacting with great mentors that you may not be unable to access. People capture their best ideas, thoughts, and insights in books and the best thing to get from a successful person is their mindset and how they think.

I believe mentorship is not limited to face-to-face interactions but it’s the transfer of thoughts and ideologies that can help one grow and become better. Literature is a great aid in the mentorship process if it is aligned to the focus areas of development in the mentorship process.

How do you carve off time to read?

I make a deliberate effort to read for a minimum of one hour every day. My preferred time is early morning when my mind is fresh. I slot book-reading in my calendar.

What does your bookshelf say about you?

My bookshelf speaks of someone who is on a quest to learn, develop his skills and potentials to ultimately grow and evolve to the very best version. I approach life as a learner and not a master. This makes me ever curious by asking the right questions and books help me discover those answers.

My aim is always to pass these learnings to others so that they can also benefit. The law is that whoever seeks, shall find. And when you ask, answers will be revealed. The quality of your life is predicated on the quality of questions you are asking, so my books reveal the questions I’m asking and the areas I want to grow. I buy every book as an answer to the question, what do I want to learn? Who do I want to become? That’s embracing a growth mindset!

Which books would you recommend to our readers to read at least once in their lifetime?

Several books have had a personal impact on me so my list is in no way exhaustive but can be a great start:

· ‘Think and Grow Rich’ – Napoleon Hill

· ‘The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth’ – John Maxwell

· ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’ – John Maxwell

· ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’– Stephen Covey

· ‘The Power of Focus’ – Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt

· ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’– Robert Kiyosaki

· ‘Outliers’– Malcolm Gladwell

Sandra Buyole, Senior Account Manager at APO Group

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Sandra Buyole, Senior Account Manager at APO Group. PHOTO | POOL

What is your current favourite book/author to read?

My favourite author is Brené Brown. She is the author of my favourite book, ‘Daring Greatly.’ Through her books, she studies courage, shame, vulnerability, and empathy. As she rightfully puts it, in summary, 'Daring greatly' is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage.

In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. Putting ourselves out there means there is a far greater risk of getting criticised or feeling hurt.

But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we dared to step into the arena—whether it's a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation. When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.

What was your first interaction with reading a book?

As someone who was raised by a teacher, reading books was not an option. My mum would put a storybook in my backpack anytime we visited friends or relatives, or do a long trip to the village. At 11, I could only buy books. The Sweet Valley High Series introduced me to the world of books. However, the very first life-changing book that I also read at age 13 was ‘Gifted Hands' by Ben Carson which impacted me greatly.

Would you start a library in your home village?

I definitely would start a Kiswahili library of books. With many young children struggling with fluent Kiswahili, I feel the need to collate all the Kiswahili books as I find the language being a unifying factor that symbolises our identity and culture as Kenyans. A lot can be done to emphasize Kiswahili as much as we do English and I would open a library purely for that in a bid to preserve the beautiful language.

Do you dream of writing a book?

I used to write poems. I believe I owe the world a book of poems based on my experiences, mistakes, lessons and more. It is a goal I wish to achieve in the next two years.

Is reading part of mentorship?

Literature if you think about it, is like pretty much having a mentor that you can always keep going back to. Millions of books have been written about millions of topics and with that, comes learnings of how different people have overcome different experiences and challenges. It also comforts one to know that your experience isn’t unique to you.

Many who were here have experienced something similar and overcame it differently. Literature in my view is key in mentorship. Even mentors read books to help them mentor better. It is a very key ingredient in the mentorship process.

How do books influence your worldview?

If there’s anything that books have given me is perspective to realize how different and similar, we are. This has ultimately taught me flexibility and adaptability in the environment I'm in and the people I interact with.

How do you create time to read?

I either read very early in the morning or in the evening just before I go to bed. I use a Kindle. I find it more convenient as I don't lose my beloved books anymore.

My goal is simple, a minimum of three pages daily a goal of 12 books a year. This makes it achievable.

My career also requires that I read and research a lot and as such, I never miss a day without going through the newspapers before I start work. That also forms part of my reading routine.

What does your bookshelf say about you?

It says that I believe in impossibilities. It says that I am a learner. Most of the books I buy have to teach me something about myself, my environment, and what goes beyond the self and the environment.

My bookshelf will also tell you that I am taking time to work on myself and understand better who I am just so that I may be a better human to any other human that interacts with me.

Which books would you recommend to our readers?

If you only had 3 books to choose from in this life and nothing more, I would suggest you read ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Victor E.Frankl, ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brené Brown, and ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coehlo.