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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reading... The Easiest way to gain knowledge

A year ago, I saw dream hampton tweet something as advice to young writers. It went along the lines of  "Be the best read person you know." Since moving to England, there was a decline in my reading. I did English Literature at A Levels so it wasn't dead completely but if I remember right, the books I read of my own volition were probably two football autobiographies (That I can recall). Last year, I started buying and reading books again. For a while, I had them at my bedside catching dust as studying Law means you already have more than enough reading material. In the summer, I started reading again. I would take a book when I was getting on the Tube and provided I didn't find some scantily clad lady (#1 REASON WHY WE LOVE SUMMER!!!!!) to ogle or get lost in some train of thought I would read. I read Matthew Syed's 'Bounce: The Myth of Talent and Power of Practice' and a JFK biography my grandfather gave me.  I read two more books on a trip to the States. American Airlines have the worst entertainment system I have ever come across, even more galling considering it was a long haul flight ( To make it worse, I missed my connecting flight) so I ended up having no choice than to bury my head in Toure's 'Who's afraid of Post Blackness? What it means to be Black now', Jay Z and dream hampton's 'Decoded' and Chinua Achebe's 'An Image of Africa/ The Trouble with Nigeria' and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Being widely read always lends itself to the writing one does. Reading good fiction stimulates the imagination and improves one's mastery of words. Reading credible pieces of non fiction grants access to a world view we're not used to and provides a way through which we can make sense and increase our understanding of the way the world and our interests work. After reading two of those books, I was able to reference them in the next couple of essays I wrote. Those episodes helped me rediscover my love for reading (As a child, when my Mum asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I would reply "Enid Blyton". I'm not a stressful person at all). Every now and then, I go to bookstores looking for bargains and I never get disappointed. Books carry knowledge in them and I love the fact that I can add to my volume of intelligence.



Of late, I've read Chibundu Onuzo's 'The Spider King's Daughter' and I actually found it a good read. I have a habit of not listening to music or reading books as soon as they come out because I do not want to allow reviews and the hype machine taint my experience. Someone I know who read it described it as 'basic' but I thought that was harsh. Every story there is has probably been told in some form before, it's the way in which the story teller tells it that matters. The mark of good fiction is in the way it captures attention. Does it make you drop everything you're doing so you can get to the next page? Do you get emotionally involved to the story that you feel the character's pain and joy? Do you get upset when the story reaches its climax because it's not in line with what you had in mind and you feel the writer messed up the experience? Tick all those boxes. Buy the book and decide for yourself.

I've also read Phillipe Auclair's Thierry Henry biography 'Lonely at the Top' over the past 9 months and I consider it one of the best biographies I've ever read. Some biographies tend to serve as hagiographies as some writers tend not to want to rock the boat. This one wasn't. It was admiring of Henry the footballer but somewhat scathing of Henry the person. It was a great read but could lower the estimation of Henry in one's eye.

On the other hand Guillem Balague's 'Pep Guardiola: Another way of Winning' was pretty much designed to strengthen the Barcelona mystique. It was a great read with a lot of interesting anecdotes and detail but Balague's fawning is somewhat unattractive. Every quote is designed to portray Guardiola in good light. Coincidentally, there's a bit of evidence to disprove the notion that Lionel Messi is Christ reincarnated. You can check out my review here: Pep Guardiola biography review

'The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World' was also a great piece of literature on the company line of Facebook's ascent to the great heights it has reached. I got this book for 50p. Anyone with ambitions of running their own business should read it as it underlines the importance of focusing on the user experience and having a team with common intentions. All basic stuff but a bit undervalued. It also accentuates the impact of having great vision and how sensibly managed one's come up should be. It shouldn't be blatant that one is seeking a pay day. The idea being that once the product reaches a certain standard, monetization would follow.

Over the last fortnight, I started reading Robert Peston's 'Who runs Britain?... and who's to blame for the mess we're in' and I've loved it. Peston is an authority on the Economy and presently serves as the Business Editor of the BBC. For someone like me, who's got a limited knowledge and understanding of how the financial sector works, it's been invaluable. I've been looking for something as enlightening over the last 18 months without much success. I've put a bookmark in it (I'm 4 chapters in) and would get to completing it after exams.

I also re read Oluremi Obasanjo's 'Bittersweet: My Life with Obasanjo' over Christmas. 

Today, I went out and bought a couple more books. My Summer reading list would also include Achebe's 'There was a Country' and Adichie's 'Amerikanah'.

http://thumbp4-ir2.thumb.mail.yahoo.com/tn?sid=2425803562&mid=AJol5C4AAE%2FKUVigSg13o3nnHkM&midoffset=2_0_0_1_25435459&partid=2&f=1723&fid=Inbox&w=819&h=430


http://thumbp4-ir2.thumb.mail.yahoo.com/tn?sid=2425803562&mid=AHwl5C4AAMQvUVl2mgmcEj1QGfM&midoffset=2_0_0_1_25450549&partid=2&f=1723&fid=Inbox&w=819&h=403
See how cheap they were


Invest in books. Increase your knowledge.

Stay Blessed,
Mayowa.

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