Cheers Book Club …..The Science Of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

Title : The Science Of Getting Rich

Author : Wallace D. Wattles

Year of Publication : 1910

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher: Online

 

the science of getting rich ss - Cheers Book Club …..The Science Of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

 

Ok….The title of this book is a bit misleading. A title like ” The Science Of Getting Rich” gives the impression that this book would strictly contain empirical facts. However, a few pages into the book, I realized it was heavily influenced with religious doctrines, but to my surprise, these did not do much ruin to the practicality of the book.

This book uses terms like; forces of nature, the original substance and more metaphysical language that may deter the logical mind, but there is a case to be made for the state of the potential wealthy mind as presented in this book.

”Men get rich by doing things in a certain way. And in order to do so, man must become able to think in a certain way. For, a mans way of doing things is the direct result of the way he thinks about things.” 

Wallace D. Wattles, 1910

We all know a title like this raises eyebrows. People hear the title and begin to feel uncomfortable since our society deems talks of money as improper or arrogant in some cases. However, as you would see in this book, Wattles makes a great case for why talk about wealth is ideal and indeed necessary.

Lessons from The Science Of Getting Rich

Wealth is created by the creative mind , not the competitive mind. You are to create not to compete for what is already created. Although our society is full of  entrepreneurs regurgitating other peoples business products and models, Wattles argues that one’s ability to fore see and solve arising problems is the key to wealth creation.

Although location counts for business entrepreneurship, getting rich is not a matter of environment. For if it were, certain people from a particular environment would all be wealthy and certain people from other environments would all be poor.

Wealth is not exclusively for the smart, intellectual or highly educated. In fact most rich people are of average intellect and some even have intellectual handicaps.

It is the desire of God for you to be rich. He wants you to be rich so that he can express himself more through you.

“Get rich. That is the best way you can help the poor”

Wallace D. Wattles, 1910

Gratitude is important towards wealth acquisition. In the book, the Author suggests that upon receiving any blessings from God, one needs to show gratitude to God and keep close harmony with the being which gives wealth. Turning one’s back to the giver of wealth is always detrimental to what is desired.

You can not create wealth by unformed longings and vague desires. You must form a clear and precise idea of what you want. Without clarity of desired object, you can not transmit the desired energy to bring it into fruition. Wealth is more than just wishful thinking.

“By thought, the thing you want is brought to you. By action you receive it”

Wallace D. Wattles, 1910

Focus. After you have created an unambiguous path towards your desired wealth, you must not loose focus. Carry this mental destination in your head all the time. You must know what you want and must want it badly enough so it would stay in your thoughts. The more clear and definite your mental picture is, the stronger you desire to achieve you goal would be.

Faith, according to Wattles is an important ingredient in achieving success. Live in a new house mentally until your faith is materialized through handwork. Although Wattles seem to have a religious undertone in this book, he is also of the believe that prayer does not bring wealth.

“The answer to your prayers is not according to your faith while you were talking, but according to your faith while you were working”

Wallace D. Wattles, 1910

“It is faith and purpose in the use of imagination which makes the difference between the scientist and the dreamer”

Wallace D. Wattles, 1910

To be sure you are heading towards wealth, act now. Start with you present environment. Familiarity is your friend in your bid to wealth. Building upon familiar knowledge is easier than starting all over. Success in your familiar field would create access to your next venture.

In conclusion, this is a book worth reading. Filled with instructions to guide the mind yearning for wealth plus its a short read.

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Cheers Book Club …..Mastery by Robert Greene

 Title : Mastery : How to become the Master of any Skill

Author : Robert Greene

Year of Publication : 2012

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-Help

Publisher: Viking Press

http://www.cheersstories.com/mastery/

Mastery by Robert Greene is the author’s fifth book and has since been regarded the holy grail of self improvement literature. This is a fantastic book, especially for anyone who desires to be the authority in their given work of life.

In Mastery, Greene, analysis the steps taken by historical world renowned inventors, sports-persons,  businessmen e.t.c. Having done this, he comes the the conclusion that regardless of their occupation, these masters followed a similar pathway to attaining legendary status.

Perhaps the most notable of these steps is the 10,000 hours apprenticeship required to be a master in any fields. According to Greene’s research, the best way to learn practical knowledge is through apprenticeship. This form of learning is guaranteed to impact the most knowledge but takes 10,000 hours (approximately 7-9 years ) of  conscious, consistent and continuous learning to reach the level of mastery. This idea has been widely discussed by numerous authors including Malcolm Gladwell in his book : Outliers, The Story of Success.

Lessons from Mastery

Reconnect with your inner self to rediscover your calling. Although society and other influential people in our lives may direct us towards certain vocations, it is best to look within to find which fulfills us most.

”Just as a well filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well employed life brings a blessed death”

Leonardo Davinchi

Having decided on the perfect vocation, choose and commit to an apprenticeship. This is a tested and proven way to acquire the required practical knowledge needed in the real world to perform tasks that distinguishes one’s work. This apprenticeship is going to take years of humble observation, skill acquisition, and experimentation.

Occupy the perfect niche. As discussed in our review of  “The Science Of Getting Rich” it is best to create one’s lane of expertise/ mastery than to compete for already occupied space. As discussed in the book, that case of Charles Darwin illustrates that attaining general knowledge of a chosen vocation is important, but that knowledge shown be streamline into specific areas for the attainment of in depth knowledge.

Mastery is achievable. All of us can, but most of us won’t. Mastery is not a result of some super human genes. No one is born a master. The difference between masters and ordinary people is that masters do not give up on their crafts. Often times we pick a craft and half way though our education, we either get bored of the craft or give up due to frustrations. Greene argues that it is at this point of frustration that one needs to push further. This is a sign of progress and dedicating more time to intense studies would help overcome this plateau.

Mentors are infinitely important (see The New Mentors ). We all have limited time, hence it is wise to find someone with broad knowledge about our chosen vocation to impact as much knowledge as possible upon us in a short time. So what you ought to have learned in 4 year, you would learn in 2 year under the tutelage of a mentor.

You must break loose from your mentor at the right time. Make bold steps towards creating your own legacy by applying and adjusting the teachings from your mentor and years of apprenticeship into your own peculiar area of expertise.

In conclusion, nothing beats hard work. There you have it, that in my opinion is the concluding lesson from this book. This book takes us through the lives of great masters and what you realize in their stories is that, everyone has a unique story of hard work and dedication. This is a book everyone should read and revisit frequently.

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Cheers Book Club ….. The Tipping Point

Title : The Tipping Point

Author : Malcolm Gladwell

Year of Publication : 2000

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

tipping point cbc - Cheers Book Club ….. The Tipping Point

why do some  ideas go viral and not others?

What makes a fad a fade?

Why do people gravitate to certain products?

Why do societal changes happen suddenly?

Gladwells attempts to answer these questions in The Tipping Point.

Tipping Point: The magic moment when and idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips , and spreads like wildfire.

This book is filled with certain examples of present and past phenomenons that tipped through gradual germination and replicable conditions to guarantee success in numerous works of life.

Lessons from The Tipping Point

By using principles of epidemic transmission to explain how ideas move, Gladwell teaches his readers what factors need to align to ensure rampant growth or acceptance of one’s work.

This principles, he divides into three steps

  1. The law of the few. The law of the few , in a nut shell says there are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting an epidemic. All you have to do is find them.
  2. The Stickyness factor. Stickiness  factor of a message essentially means there are simple way to package information that under the right circumstances, it can make it irresistible.
  3. The power of context. The power of context relates to how people adopt ideas that are manifest in their own reality.

Another lessons in this book is the concept of “Glocal ” thinking. I heard about this term back in 2013 in a media seminar and it essentially means thinking globally but acting locally. Especially for business owners with big dreams of taking over the business world. Start with you neighborhood, then your city and so on…

For an idea or product to go viral, three kinds of people need to play a role. Firstly, the Connectors. We all know at lest one connector. They are the friends who know a lot of people . They appear to know everyone, and good for linking people from different works of life. They often have influence or rapport with lots of people. Secondly, the Maven. Mavens are information gurus. They are usually the first to know about new developments in numerous works of life and are willing to share or trade those information. Lastly, the Sales man. The one who is gifted in  persuading others to adopt a new idea or product.

In conclusion,The Tipping Point is Gladwell’s first successful book. Business owners would love and appreciate this book. It emphasizes how big changes are a result of minor adjustments.

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Cheers Book Club ….. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Title : Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Author : Trevor Noah

Year of Publication : 2016

Genre: Non – Fiction, Autobiography

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

born a crime ss - Cheers Book Club ….. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Born a crime is a roller coaster of a book. Trevor Noah’s narrative of his life is full of ups and downs. It begins on a sad note as you are being introduced to  Trevor and his mom as they live their lives in a challenging sociopolitical climate. However as you read on, you begin to flow with the characters and how they make the best of their situation. Humor plays a big role in this book. To be candid, this book would have been a narrative of misery if Trevor and his mom had not adopted a sense of humor towards their challenges.

You see, my prior knowledge of racism in South Africa and apartheid was for the most part from SARAFINA. The movie featuring Whoppi Goldberg , Leleti Khumalo and  the legendary Miriam Makeba.  Don’t get me wrong, I was aware of what was going on in South Africa but SARAFINA contextualized it in ways a seven year old me could understand. This is why this book is important. Trevor’s account details the impact of apartheid even as it affects South Africa till date.

In my opinion, the real hero in this book is Trevor’s Mom. Despite apartheid, she made a decision to have a colored child. Trevor makes this point effectively in the early parts of the book with the following…

“When most children are a proof of their parents love, I am proof of their criminality”

Trevor Noah

Born a crime discusses racism and sexism inductively. By presenting racism and sexism as they pertain to his particular life, Trevor helps the reader see the ridiculousness of these practices in South Africa and in the world at large. Using the typical comic tactic of…. Laugh at me, Laugh at him….. Laugh at yourself… now let us all laugh at the world we have created and live in.

 

Lessons from Born a Crime

You hear people say something in the line of “we may not have lots of money, but we were rich in love”. Well, Trevor’s up bringing and relationship with his mother exemplifies this. Mothers know what love really is. Trevor’s mom is a super hero.

If we could see each other’s pain and empathize with ourselves, it won’t be worth it to maltreat each other. This is a consistent truth in all of human history and that is why one of the core tenants of all types of discrimination is segregation. When you keep people at a distance and threat them as “ the other”, it is easier to perceive them as less human and unworthy of equal treatment.

Another lesson from this book is that our individual struggles are valid but not unique. Everyone struggles. Your worst nightmare could be another man’s dream come true.

Personally, this book has helped me be less judgemental of African – Americans. Being an immigrant, I keep wondering why people just don’t move out of the hood. But in Trevor’s words….

“The hood has a gravitational pull. It never leaves you behind, but it also never lets you leave. Because by making the choice to leave, you are insulting the place that raised you and made you and never turned you away and that place fights you back”

 

http://www.cheersstories.com/cheers-book-club-born-crime-stories-south-african-childhood/

Haven said that , Trevor rightly notes the danger of giving in to the hood life. Although it may be familiar , relatively cheap, and comfortable, it could be dangerous.

“Comfort provides a floor but also provides a ceiling”

The last chapter is nothing short of miraculous. Not to spoil the book but it actually made me question my lack of faith.

This is a really good book. I tweeted this→ after reading the book.

The book is contextual and full of nuisance.

Interestingly, this book made no mention of his success. It seems like part 1 of a success story.

 

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Cheers Book Club …..THE ART OF WAR

Title : THE ART OF WAR

 Author : Sun Tzu

Year of Publication: 5th century BC

Genre: Treatise, Fiction, Inspirational Fiction

Publisher : Visit a Library / online

http://www.cheersstories.com/?p=1669&preview=true

The Art of War is a widely read and interpreted book. Although Sun Tzu wrote this as a guide on how to win wars, teachings from this book can and have been adopted in the art of running an effective sports, politics or  business organization.

 

Let your plans be as dark as night. Then strike like a thunderbolt.

Sun Tzu. 500 B.C

Lessons from The Art of War

Information Management is critical. According to Sun Tzu, leaders should retain the “big picture” to themselves but have subordinates achieve tasks that are critical towards reaching the “big picture”. By doing this, they are spared the embarrassment in case the major aim of the project if not met while maintaining high morale among lower members of the organization.

Leaders must be precise and clear when giving directions. Ambiguity serve no purpose in the pursuit of victory. Going on, there should be clearly stated repercussions for those who do not meet the expected aim of their assignments.

Force is over-rated, intellect wins battles. According to Sun Tzu, it is more important to outthink your enemy than to outfight him. Battles of any sort are costly. The wise leader knows that and only engages in them strategically.

Every war should have a defined  purpose. This rule in recent years has been adhered to more by the business community than the armed forces. For instance, businesses engage in promotional campaign with the aim of attracting a certain clientele base. Unfortunately, the same can not be said of military actions in the last couple of decades. Case in point “war on terror”.

Ultimately, to subdue the enemy without fighting is the most effective form of war. Wars cost money and lives. So if the goals of war can be met without battle then, that is a preferable way.

In conclusion, individual teachings in The Art of War are strong but not infallible. However, if all the rules are understood and applied holistically, then success is the inevitable outcome.

 

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Cheers Book Club ….. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Title : David and Goliath : Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.

 Author : Malcolm Gladwell

Year of Publication: 2013

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher : Little, Brown and Company

Cheers Book Club post - Cheers Book Club ….. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

At its core, I believe this is a book on strategy. I took a course on strategic thinking and planning during my masters program. Our tutor during this program taught us numerous strategies and I have applied some of them with relative success. Out of the many strategies he taught us, one seemed implausible till I read this book. It was his strategy on handling bullies. It was simply to call them out but to make sure there was an audience. Also, make sure you use the word “bully” in your confrontation. For example, one could shout “why are you bulling me? or, You are just a bully”. I remember my classmates and I laughing at this strategy. It seemed like a strategy that guaranteed further ass-whooping until I realized Dr Martin Luther King Jr utilized a variation of this strategy during the civil right movement.

In this book, Gladwell explained how Dr Martin Luther King Jr understood the need for a villain and public perception towards the success of the civil rights movement. Narratives of how people and cultures have overcome challenges through strategic means are numerous in this book. Perhaps the most important story and bedrock of this book is the story of David and Goliath as discuss by Gladwell himself in the TED talk below.

Lessons from David and Goliath : Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Potential weaknesses can be strengths. Gladwell points out in this book how challenges such as dyslexia maybe an hindrance to a child’s ability to perform in today’s academic structure. Such short coming could lead to adopting useful life skills like cramming, ability to read people better, being comfortable with the possibility of failure and the ability to take more risks. Those that have managed to work around it tend to outperform their pairs. Gladwell goes on to quote a research that concludes that about a third of all successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Example of such successful dyslectics include Sir Richard Branson , Henry Ford, David Boies and Steve Jobs among others.

There are times where it is better to be a big fish in a small pond than to be a small fish in a big pond. Gladwell made this point in the book by highlighting the strengths and challenges between ivy colleges and less prestigious university colleges. He also used the example of how impressionists artists in 1873 challenged the status quo. The status quo (aka. big pond) can be challenging for individuals to the extend that it kills innovation and individuality. Small ponds on the other hand, tend to encourage individuality and rich in support systems for striving individuals. In small ponds, you do not get lost in the crowd because there isn’t a crowd.

Another core lesson from this book is that for some people, early life tragedy can be advantageous. He went on to cite Marvin Eisenstadt, a psychologist who did studies showing that “of the 573 eminent people for whom Eisenstadt could find reliable biographical information, a quarter had lost at least one parent before the age of 10” — and 45 percent had lost a parent before the age of 20. This list includes twelve past presidents of the United States ; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all lost their fathers while they were young.

Hustle!!! In the stories narrated in this book, one begins to realize how underdogs supplement their obvious disadvantages with hard work.  He made this point using the full-court press strategy adopted by less skilled basketball teams to beat obviously better teams.

In conclusion, although it is not written like your typical textbook, David and Goliath is an intellectual book. It is rich in the advantages in disadvantages and vice versa. David and Goliath is a book worth reading for everyone.

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Cheers Book Club ….. On The Shortness Of Life

Title : On The Shortness Of Life

 Author : Seneca the Younger

Date written: 49 AD

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher : Visit a Library / online

http://www.cheersstories.com/cheers-book-club-on-the-shortness-of-life/

OK, back to my roots. In the last book review (Astrophysics for People in A Hurry) I mentioned that I failed out of the sciences. Well I found myself in the humanities afterwards studying philosophy at the University of Lagos. Although I stumbled into philosophy, it is perhaps the best thing that happened to me educationally but we would discuss that later.

There is a common joke in the academia about philosophy. It goes……

“What do you do with a philosophy degree? Become a philosophy professor,  become a philosophy assistant professor or be a research student in philosophy”

A bit cynical but not far from the truth. Hence, I have since moved on from philosophy since my first degree. However, I find that my world view have been mounded by my days listening and studying the lives and teachings of great philosopher.

The stoics especially left an impression on my thinking and why not? After-all, I wrote my undergrad thesis on Immanuel Kant and his moral philosophy. The stoics in opinion are the quintessential example of the necessity of philosophic teachings in our modern civilization.

To broaden your understanding of stoicism, I have added this Youtube video I find useful…

Now to Seneca and On The Shortness Of Life. Seneca is what you will call second generation stoic philosopher and On The Shortness Of Life is one of his more popular works. This essay is quite short and easy to read. There is little to no rambling within the texts of this work so you can be sure of a productive half an hour of reading. On The Shortness Of Life has been described as a powerful insights into the art of living, the importance of reason and morality.

Lessons from On The Shortness Of Life

Life is not short. For ages  and till date, people say “Life is Short”. Seneca opposes this premise. Seneca believes life is long enough, people just don’t begin to live life early enough to enjoy life. Seneca writes and I quote…

“It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it’s been given to us in generous measure for accomplishing the greatest things, if the whole of it is well invested. But when life is squandered through soft and careless  living, and when it’s spent on no worthwhile pursuit, death finally presses and we realize that the life which we didn’t notice passing has passed away.”

It is futile to battle the unchangeable. Seneca argues that one of the many wastes in life is complaining about ones situation instead of working towards changing it. In the words of great stoic philosophers, all men would die, but the foolish man dies whining.

Success requires a hundred percent concentration. Seneca postulates that a preoccupied/distracted mind is not capable of mastering any discipline. Seneca believes a mind preoccupied with living is on an herculean task because there is no knowledge that is adder to acquire.

“But learning how to live takes a whole lifetime, and — you’ll perhaps be more surprised at this — it takes a whole lifetime to learn how to die.”

 Seneca the Younger, 49 AD

One ought to do away with time wasters. Time wasters,  ranging from hobbies, vices and people can impede personal growth since every second spend on these is time not spent on the mastery of important endeavors.

Finally, it is wise to build upon one’s natural strength. A life of reflection would expose what you are naturally good at . Then, it is up to everyone to maximize capitalize upon their natural strengths.

In conclusion, On The Shortness Of Life is worth reading. It is probably easier to assimilate this essay if you have a basic idea of stoic philosophy. Having said that, this essay is quite practical. In modern literature, it would be classed as a self help book.

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Cheers Book Club ….. Astrophysics for People in A Hurry

Title : Astrophysics for People in a  Hurry

Author : Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Year of Publication : 2017

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company

 

astrophysics for people in a hurry - Cheers Book Club ….. Astrophysics for People in A Hurry

Like most young boys, all I wanted to be was a mechanical engineer like my dad. So I pursued this course till my first year undergrad. I recall that my biggest challenge then was physics. It just did not make sense to me at that level. Hence, when I decided last week to read any book of unfamiliar genre, I thought a book that includes my worst subject in the world would fit perfectly. Well, I was not wrong. Every page in this book called me stupid in as many ways as there are stars in the universe. I was wrong about something though. Astrophysics is not entirely an endeavor that required the knowledge of physics. In fact, one can argue that chemistry is more prominent in this field of study that any other subject area. Now that I think of it, I was a poor chemistry student as well. Let’s just say I was a shitty science student.

One of the early statements that stuck in my mind was  “The Universe is not obliged to make sense to Us”. Somehow this sentence reminds me of a bit by the late great George Carlin.

Astrophysics for People in a hurry is written to educate and entertain the ordinary man. Neil DeGrasse Tyson communicates the contents in this book simply enough for a curious mind and he draws a sequential thread through every chapter.  It is easy to follow through and grasp. And why not? In the words of Einstein ” if you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, then you don’t understand it yourself”.

“We are stardust brought to life that is empowered by the universe to figure itself out. And we’ve only just begun”

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Lessons from Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Humans are dope if you think about it. From finding cures to pandemic and epidemic diseases  to innovations that we have come to get accustomed to. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry continues to make that point about the ungodly explorations we homo-sapiens have, are and will continue to make in our bid to understand our role in the universe. I don’t know about you but I believe there isn’t a better time to be alive than now.

There are barely any truly unique astronomical phenomenons in the universe. Neil DeGrasse Tyson makes this point by letting us know the earth we live in is not astronomically unique. It is just one of the numerous planets orbiting the sun. The sun itself is not unique, the uncountable star that exist in our cosmos are suns themselves. Then, there is the fact that our presumption of a singular galaxy (ours) is not true. There are other galaxies.

“How” and “Why” play very important roles in astrophysics. According to Tyson, the cosmic perspective is humble. Humble enough to answer these two questions before putting forward theories.

The last and perhaps the most important lesson from this book is noted in the last chapters. Astrophysics is an ego check. Reading this book would remind you of how minute you are in/to the universe. Having said that, the book also emphasizes human kinship with life before and after homo-sapiens.

In conclusion, read this book. Especially if you are intellectually curious about our universe and your place in it. It summarizes and simplifies complex astrophysics concepts. Neil DeGrasse Tyson writes this book in his characteristic humor and trust me, it helps. Having said that, please do not take a mouth breathing moron like my self’s summary of this book as gospel. Pick a copy and find out for yourself.

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Cheers Book Club ….. Americanah

Title : Americanah

Author : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Year of Publication : 2013

Genre: Fiction

Publisher : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

http://www.cheersstories.com/cheers-book-club-americanah/

I am in awe of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (see The New Mentors) and I have done my due diligence following her works and documented public appearances. I say this because reading Americanah makes me wonder how similar Ifemelu is to the author in real life.

Americanah is a novel about race, love, and immigration. It also discusses politics as it relates to race in America. Interestingly, the political discuss in this novel have become more prominent especially with regards to identity politics. This book is full and enjoyable. Every now and then I get carried away thinking how brilliantly written this novel is. Its like receiving an interesting lecture on effective writing skills but the lecture is artistically delivered by the best movie director there is. I was taken aback by the narrative depth of this novel.  A times too detailed and I wonder why so much of those needed telling since a large percentage them did not surface later in the book . Having said that, being that I have not lived in Nigeria in a very long time, I find the details endearing. They help present a near perfect picture of my days growing up in Nigeria. Similarly, Americanah is very descriptive and rightly so since it discusses life in Nigeria and America through the lenses of the main protagonist (Ifemelu).

I am proud of myself that I finally summed up the courage to finish this book. I skimmed through this novel earlier but the vivid descriptions of certain characters especially within the context of immigration was a bit to challenging for me. It was quite surreal and I suppose that is why it was unreadable for me at first try. I knew some of the character too well. I have been and am a few of the characters. I have dated some of the characters. I have faced and would still face some of the challenges some of the characters in the novel faced. Americanah , for me is like looking into a mirror.  A mirror that reflects me as an amalgamation of my past and predicts my future including the challenges to come. Challenges I look forward to by the way. In some cases they are signs of progress.

Lessons from Americanah

Young first love is never linear. Ambitious young lovers looking to explore the world in search for growth prospects need to accept the fact that they would meet other people that are as fascinating, intriguing and interesting as their partners. The path of progress is filled with people of substance. Substance; my friends, is sexy and hard to resist. Circumstances would also affect your relationship. In fact, you would be lucky to end up like Efemelu and Obinze. That is, having been through numerous other relationships and a divorce.

Life is not linear. This novel is an epic fifteen years span account of Ifemelu’s life and the numerous characters she interacted with during this period. As you follow the narrative and get familiar with the characters, you begin to understand the various characters, set your own expectations for them but quickly realize the road to success is often filled with ups and downs.

All blacks are the same in America. We know that African Americans are down the race ladder here in the United States. As discussed in the novel, African immigrants come to this country to inherit the prejudices that already exist about African Americans. Remember that racism is often based on ignorance and generalizations made based on a “single story”.

So don’t fight it non-American blacks. You are now BLACK.

Lastly, this book is about courage and sacrifice. In fact, both trends seemed apparent in almost all the characters discussed in the novel. Over the course of the novel, the “successful” characters had to make hard decisions in order to achieve whatever they really desired. In this novel, compromise seemed to always lead to misery.

In conclusion, Americanah, has been on the market for a few years so I doubt I would be spoiling much if I said more about the book. But for those yet to read this novel, this is a love story with great social commentary on race, immigration and relationships. It is quite voluminous but with the superb writing skills of Chimamanda, one gets through the novel easily.

 

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Cheers Book Club…..Wonder

Title : Wonder

Author : R.J. Palacio

Year of Publication : 2012

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Penguin Random House

wonder book - Cheers Book Club…..Wonder

This book is an emotional read. Especially the early chapters when you are just being introduced to August and his challenging life. As a matter of fact, I listened to the book and listening to the August (Auggie) character narrate his innermost feelings broke my heart numerous times in the early chapters of the book.

 

Lessons from Wonder

“When given the choice of being right or being kind….choose kind”

  • Adversity builds character : By fifth grade August had gone through twenty seven surgeries. Can you imagine that? Clearly, by the fifth major surgery he must have developed a different attitude to life from us “mere mortals”. You hear it in his narrative. First of all, he seems to have embraced the initial look of horror on peoples face upon meeting him for the first time. He also has less expectations of  niceness from people. It is impressive if you ask me, a ten year old who is mostly indifferent towards other people’s acceptance.
  • The Apple does not fall far from the tree : Julian, the most unpleasant character in the book seemed to take after his mother. His mom was rumored to have photo-shoped August’s face from the class photograph. Well, we can not be surprised by Julian’s behavior through the book.

“Shall we make a new rule of life, always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?”

                                                                                                           J.M Barrie

  • Peer pressure is so lame : August’s early day at Beecher Prep  was challenging to say the least. This was partly because the so called “cool kids” managed to turn the other pupils of the school against him. Interestingly, most of these pupils   would not interact with Auggie for the fear of losing their other friends or because they we specifically asked not to by Julian and Co. Similarly, we like to think peer pressure is unique to younger people. Unfortunately, adults are not immune to peer pressure. Parents of pupils in Beecher Prep also seemed to have formed groups that mimicked that of their kids.
  • Being mistreated in some situations is really normal : News flash people, we live in a mean world and humans can be mean a lot of times. Expecting to be pampered and cuddled through life is in itself a desire to be treated abnormally.

“It was at moments such as these that Joseph recognized the face of God in human form. It glimmered in their kindness to him, it glowed in their keenness, it hinted in their caring, indeed it caressed in their gaze.”

                                                                                                   Christopher Nolan

  • Common enemies breed Unity: The turning point for Auggie was at camp. A group of boys from another school picked on him. Instinctively, the guys from his school gathered around him to fight of the bullies. Even those that were not particularly nice to Auggie stood up for him and henceforth they were friendlier with him. Having noted the above, it should be mentioned that such phenomenon is not unique. Lovers grow a stronger bound when faced with opposition and people rally around each other t fend of stronger adversities.

 

The Movie

wonder movie - Cheers Book Club…..Wonder

Staring : Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Izabela Vidovic, Mandy      Patinkin .

Release Date: November 17, 2017.

Producers : Michael Beugg, Dan Clarke, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman.

Director : Stephen Chbosky .

Production Company : Lionsgate, Walden Media, Participant Media, Mandeville Films .

 

Having seen the movie trailer, one cannot object to Jacob Tremblay playing August Pullman. His previous works are a testament to his talent. He was  not scary enough I thought though. In a my previous life, I have worked with physically deformed people so I am  probably desensitized to their somewhat challenging look.

Owen Wilson  is a great cast as the father. In the book, Nate Pullman (August’s Dad) is lighthearted and the funniest person in the house.  Owen  just seems perfect for the part.

Julia Roberts plays Isabel Pullman (Auggie’s Mom). Needless to say she is going to do the role justice. However, I am yet to see Julia Roberts speak in a foreign accent, and I believe Isabel and her Mom (Grans) did that at-least a couple of times in the book…sooo looking forward to that.

I saw Izabela Vidovic in the trailer and I thought YEEEEEES!!!!!!!! Why not, if not… Perfectoo.

Mandy Patinkin is playing Mr Tushman, principal of Beecher Middle School. Judging by the name alone, one would expect a Will Fellel kind of actor for this role, but Mr Tushman is actually a serious character and I am looking forward to Mandy Patinkin. Especially his delivery of the graduation day speech.

In conclusion, Wonder is supposedly a children’s book, but  needless to say that lessons from the book are useful to all ages. The book is  worth reading at-least once in a life time. I have gifted it out a couple of times and recommended it many times. The movie is full of big-hitters. There is no reason to expect less than excellence from this line up.

Cheers