I read thirteen books in 2019 having set a personal goal of reading at least a book every month some years back. I am not a very fast reader when it comes to books because I seek out to get the finer details as expressed by the authors.
This blog post reflects on the books I read and found them worth to invest time reading. We must strive to read books if at all we aspire to be better human beings. It’s largely through reading books that we intellectually explore the margins of the world and in the process become finer thinkers.
Getting consumed in the process of reading is a crucible that grinds our thought-process and improves our judgment, writing as well as speaking skills.
“Looters and Grabbers: 54 Years of Corruption and Plunder by the Elite, 1963-2017″ by Joe Khamisi.
This is a fantastic read! The author, a former Kenyan Member of Parliament, presents a factual account of the history and realities of corruption in Kenya. He gives a narration about corruption in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Kenya. The book is certainly educative.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Klaus Schwab.
This is also a very informative book about the reality of the fourth industrial revolution and how it is bound to affect the economy, trade, government operations and individuals in terms of morality, ethics and human connection. Living in the era of big data and artificial intelligence is undoubtedly an exciting moment.
“Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective” by Ha-Joon Chang.
A great read for individuals interested in understanding development economics. It provides a historical understanding of development and questions why the so called developed nations are dishonest in imposing economic policies and governance institutions on developing nations which the former never really embraced while developing.
“Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business” by Rana Foroohar.
Financialization and its master, neoliberalism, are the ugliest heads of capitalism. This is certainly a book that must be read by all those who care about the future of capitalism and how the system has fundamentally failed the many and benefited the rich in the United States of America and Western Europe. Unfortunately, the same system has been exported to Africa, Latin America and Asia whereby economies and polities are captured by big businesses, thereby benefiting the rich.
“On Leadership” by Harvard Business Review.
This book is a collection of the most popular and definitive articles published by the Harvard Business Review. It is one of the most compelling reads as far as leadership is concerned.
“Who Rules the World?” by Noam Chomsky.
The good old professor, Noam Chomsky, never get its wrong regarding the balance of power in the world, interventionist and imperialist foreign policies and the fate of the world in the hands of war mongers. The federal government of the United States of America is the world’s leading terrorist bureaucracy and organization not Al Qaeda, ISIS, Al Shabaab etc.
No doubt that the American economy is a war economy; wars have sustained the American economy since the end of the Cold War.
What if America reallocates just a quarter or a half of its military budget to financing healthcare, education, physical infrastructure among other urgent needs? Vladmir Lenin was right after all when he proclaimed that war is just but economic competition. Definitely an enriching text.
“Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-1987″ edited by Michel Prairie.
Thomas Sankara has always been my icon as far as political leadership is concerned. Honest, focused and brilliant, Sankara remains one of the few African politicians who came before his time. The book is a collection of his speeches and interviews whose thematic centrality is the need to fight imperialism which manifests itself in various forms – debt, colonialism, importation of basic items and chronic dependence on foreign assistance.
“Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United” by Alex Ferguson with Michael Moritz.
Sir Alex Ferguson is one of my favorite personalities regarding leadership. We can learn a great deal about leadership and management from football and sports in general.
In the book, Ferguson explains at length certain fundamentals in leadership and management including the power of listening, watching and reading; the importance of discipline, work rate, drive and conviction; planning and organization of teams; the value of teamwork; setting standards; measuring people and the power of good judgement; time management; the need for leaders to speak at events and write as frequent as possible; and why leadership leads to more success than management among other issues.
“Bring the Noise: The Jurgen Klopp Story” by Raphael Honigstein.
Jurgen Klopp’s story is inspirational. His coaching abilities, organizational capabilities and leadership skills are top-notch no wonder he’s left a mark in each football team he has coached and managed – FSV Mainz 05, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool F.C. His story is about self-belief and self-determination.
“New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought” by Todd G. Buchholz.
This is an interesting read for economists and non-economists. It lays a basis for understanding the contribution of some of the leading economic thinkers and various schools of economic thought. It is a lively and catchy text drawing from the author’s choice of words and description.
“Football Management” by Sue Bridgewater.
This is an insightful book that elaborates how lessons in football management can be applied in business and vice versa. Additionally, it explains the significance of leadership in football and business, and it goes to the extent of providing evidentiary support.
“The Special One: The Secret World of Jose Mourinho” by Diego Torres and translated by Pete Jenson.
The management and leadership style of Jose Mourinho is uncouth and classically rudimentary. His style is beyond the Machiavellian approach in terms of balancing power. He is a highly divisive character and not cut out for long-term success in football management.
“Grand Pursuit: The Story of the People Who Made Modern Economics” by Sylvia Nasar.
Definitely a great read and highly recommended for both economists and non-economists. It is written in form of a novel and gives a compelling account of the lives and contributions of leading economic thinkers including women such as Beatrice Webb and Joan Robinson. Webb is well known for her economic contribution in view of the welfare state and collective bargaining while Robinson is famous for her arguments about the reality of markets being organized on the basis of monopolies and not perfect competition.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” – Frederick Douglas.
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!!
Sitati Wasilwa is a political economist and youth leader at Kenya YMCA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @SitatiWasilwa