Book Review

Books to add to your reading list

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Book covers. PHOTOS | POOL

Victoria Miguda, Octagon Africa Branding and Marketing Manager

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Victoria Miguda, Octagon Africa Branding and Marketing Manager. PHOTO | COURTESY

Which book(s) are you currently obsessed with?

Hit Refresh’ by Satya Nadella. Life does feel like a storm ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit us. This book helps me stay grounded. The reality is change is inevitable and that I must hit refresh in my quest for new energy, new ideas and relevance. This book is a constant reminder of how unique our qualities are.

We’re in the second quarter of the year, have you achieved the reading goals you had set so far?

Not yet. I set to read three books before the first quarter of the year ends, but I managed only one. I just got into a new job and setting up a new department has derailed my reading plans. I am looking forward to reading my two pending books and hopefully squeeze in another two in the coming quarter.

What was your first interaction with a book?

I loved the pictures and colours of a book that my sister had borrowed from a neighbour. It was during the school holidays. It was ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare. She read it to me frequently and the story sounded fresh each time.

As a child, my curiosity got the best of me and I tore off some of the pages so that I could have a closer look at this interesting thing that she read to me with so much zeal. I am told how much she cried her tear ducts dry that day. My sister has never forgiven me to this day.

Is there a book that speaks to your personality, either who you are as a person or aspire to be?

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts’ by Jennie Allen.

This book constantly reminds me that I have the power to sift negative thoughts and take back control of my emotions. It also keeps me aware that in today’s competitive world where I can more often than not feel that “I am not good enough”, I have the power to refuse to be a victim to my thoughts. It constantly reminds me that I am enough no matter who says that I am not.

What’s your philosophy on books?

Read what makes your heart sing, places a smile on your face, makes you cry and laugh at the same time. Read to expand your imagination, read to get inspired, or simply read because you have the gift of being able to make sense of written words.

How do books make you emotionally intelligent, and not just raise your IQ?

Books have enabled me to be aware and empathetic about people’s lives. Books allow you to walk in someone else’s life and shoes and opens one’s mind to someone else’s realities. They make me aware of my privileges and how I can seek platforms to make a difference.

How do you, through your role, encourage young readers to read more?

I mentor students in schools and youth groups on financial literacy and the need to read widely for fun. I also leverage on these platforms to tell my story, of how a girl from a little-known-village in the heart of a sugarcane plantation developed a love for reading and how this led her to join a renowned National School that allowed her to acquire social skills that enabled windows of opportunity to align themselves to confidently speak and rub shoulders with the who-is-who in society. This has all been made possible because of books.

Which is the one book that you’d recommend that one reads in their lifetime?

Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight. It gives the best lessons on needing to give up, knowing when to give up and when to try something else, and not stopping along the way. The journey must carry on.

Kenneth Munyi, Managing Director, Echo International

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Kenneth Munyi, Managing Director, Echo International. PHOTO | COURTESY

Which book(s) are you currently obsessed with?

‘Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most’ by Greg McKeown and ‘12 Rules of Life’ by Jordan B Peterson.

What kind of reader are you?

I am both a print and digital reader. I read on leadership, psychology, business, and history.

What’s your take on the Kenyan reading culture?

The young readers read less and less especially on paper. There is more consumption of content through digital readers like Kindle, audiobooks, and short video summaries. It seems we are losing the old art of devouring books for hours other than academic/school reading.

What was your first interaction with a novel?

I do recall reading the ‘Famous Five’, ‘Secret Seven’ in my early years. But it is a book that I read when I was 13 about business and life possibilities that had a lasting impression. Sadly, despite all my effort, I can’t recall the title of this particular book, but this planted a belief that there are great possibilities in life.

Is there any book that speaks to your personality, either who you are or the person you aspire to be?

Myles Munroe’s ‘Pursuit of Purpose' and 'Maximising Your Potential'. These two books challenged my core. I read them while in college and even since the question of purpose is one that I keep coming back to.

Would you write a book?

Yes, I harbour an ambition to write, someday.

What is the nexus between mentorship and reading?

Mentorship is broad; guiding, leading, influencing another or others. A mentor therefore ought to remain informed and relevant to be able to input into the life of another. I find that reading is one way of sharpening, challenging, informing oneself.

Given your busy schedule, how do you carve off time to read?

I now listen more to books, audiobooks during my commute daily. I often find I have about one hour daily which is enough to get past an average seven-hour book. I also listen or read before sleeping in the evening. Collectively these avails me at least 10 hours per week. Is this enough? I need to improve.

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

1. The Bible is an all-time masterpiece a source of constant reference.

2. Myles Munroe's ‘Pursuit of Purpose’ and ‘Maximising Your Potential

3. ‘Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done’ by Lawrence Bossidy and Ram Charan

4. ‘21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’ by John Maxwell

5. ‘The Success Principles (TM)’ by Jack Canfield

6. ‘Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance’ by Bob Buford (for those in their mid-life).

7. ‘A Lifelong Love: Discovering How Intimacy with God ...’ by Gary Thomas. This is a classic for those seeking to read on marriage and relationships.