Book Summaries


Africa Rise And Shine is the story of how Jim Ovia built Zenith Bank from a nascent business with $4 million in shareholders’ funds to an internationally recognized brand and institution with more than $16 billion in assets despite a decaying infrastructure and periods of economic instability. Ovia wrote the book determined to redefine the gloom narrative about Africa and illustrate the real Africa behind the headlines. We are a some total of our lives experiences and it is always exciting to read, learn and discover what makes highly successful people like Jim Ovia thick. Success they say leaves clues and Jim Ovia’s story leaves lots of very relatable clues.


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In Think Like a Monk, former monk Jay Shetty writes about the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life. Shetty shares great insight and offers advice on reducing stress and improving focus in our very distracted and ever-busy world. The advice Shetty provided is based on his experiences at the Ashram Monastery. He practiced as a monk for three years, and he says that thinking like a monk is not about dressing like a monk but rewiring our habits and thought process.

“Our thoughts are like clouds passing by. The self, like the sun, is always there. We are not our minds.”

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 In Leaving the tarmac, Nigerian Entrepreneur and former group managing director of Access Bank Plc shares how he and Herbert Wigwe turned Access Bank, a crisis-prone Nigerian Bank they bought in 2002, into one of the most admired banks in Nigeria and Africa. Aigboje gives the readers a front-row seat to the challenges, setbacks, successes, and failures they had to deal with in the process of building a world-class financial institution in an environment like Nigeria.

The book provides insights, lessons learned, a history of Nigerian banking, banking regulation, and a blueprint for dealing with the government while running a thriving business in Nigeria. It is a story of grit, getting things done, building a great team, the power of timing, and striving for excellence.

Leaving the Tarmac Mentorship and Internship Programme

As part of the global launch of Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede is offering internships to five exceptional young Nigerians.

  I was excited to read the book because most successful Nigerian business leaders/Entrepreneurs hardly share their success stories. It can be hard for aspiring Entrepreneurs to read their own version of their journey. Leaving the Tarmac is a relatable story about the ups and downs of running a business in Nigeria, continuous improvement, learning through best practices, and connecting the dots by seizing the opportunities around you.

Favourite Takeaways – Leaving the Tarmac

“The new toolmakers do not intend to rob you of your inner life, only to surveil and exploit it. All they ask is to know more about you than you know about yourself.”

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In The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, American Harvard professor, and social psychologist, Shoshana Zuboff argue that the biggest technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon are exploiting our attention, modifying our behavior, and selling our data to the highest bidding advertisers.  Surveillance Capitalism is an economic system centered around the commodification of personal data with the core purpose of profit-making. 

Zuboff noted:

“Forget the cliché that if it’s free, “You are the product.” You are not the product; you are the abandoned carcass. The “product” derives from the surplus that is ripped from your life.”

Surveillance Capitalists unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data which] are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later.

Favourite Takeaways – The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

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Title: Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World
Authors: Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani
Published: 2020 by Harvard Business Review
Rating: 8/10
Theme: The authors observed that a new breed of firms, characterized by digital scale, scope, and learning, is eclipsing traditional managerial methods and constraints, colliding with traditional firms and institutions, and transforming our economy. Software, analytics, and AI are reshaping the operational backbone of the firm.

In Competing in the Age of AI, Authors Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani argue that reinventing a firm around data, analytics, and AI removes traditional constraints on the scale, scope, and learning that have restricted business growth for hundreds of years. From Airbnb to Ant Financial, Microsoft to Amazon, research shows how AI-driven processes are vastly more scalable than traditional processes, allow massive scope increase, enabling companies to straddle industry boundaries, and create powerful opportunities for learning—to drive ever more accurate, complex, and sophisticated predictions.

The book describes the profound implications of artificial intelligence for business. It is transforming the very nature of companies—how they operate and how they compete. When a business is driven by AI, software instructions and algorithms make up the critical path in the way the firm delivers value. This is the “runtime”—the environment that shapes the execution of all processes.

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A few weeks before the end of the fall semester in 2009, New York Times bestselling author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen, learned that he had cancer similar to the one that had killed his dad. He shared the news with his students at the Harvard Business school, and he also informed them that his cancer ( follicular lymphoma) might not respond to the available therapies.

 In How Will You Measure Your Life? Christensen shared insights and observations about life and business. His core message is for his students and readers to pursue purpose and meaning in their careers and relationships.

Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.

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Tuesdays with Morrie is a memoir by American author Mitch Albom about a series of visits Mitch made to his former sociology professor Morrie Schwartz, as Schwartz gradually dies of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).  The book recounts the fourteen visits Mitch made, their conversations, Morrie’s lectures, and his life experiences. The book is a short philosophical book about accepting death and, in the process learning to live. It is a story about an old man who is dying and a young man who is lost, the old man (his professor) teaches him some life lessons on his dying days about what is really important in life.

The book was adapted into a 1999 television film, directed by Mick Jackson and starring Hank Azaria and Jack Lemmon.

“Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

Favourite Takeaways – Tuesdays with Morrie:

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In Working Backwards, Collin and Bill share insights. stories and the principles that drove the success of Amazon to become one of the world’s most valuable brands. The Title of the book working back is derived from amazon’s product development process: working backwards from the desired customer experience. Amazon is the largest Internet company by revenue in the world. It is the second-largest private employer in the United States and one of the world’s most valuable companies. As of 2020, Amazon has the highest global brand valuation.

The authors illuminate how Amazon’s fourteen leadership principles inform decision-making at all levels and reveal how the company’s culture has been defined by four characteristics: customer obsession, long-term thinking, eagerness to invent, and operational excellence. Bryar and Carr explain the set of ground-level practices that ensure these are translated into action and flow through all aspects of the business.

The Title of the book working back is derived from amazon’s product development process: working backwards from the desired customer experience

Working Backwards is a practical guidebook and a corporate narrative, filled with the authors’ in-the-room recollections of what “Being Amazonian” is like and how it has affected their personal and professional lives. They demonstrate that success on Amazon’s scale is not achieved by the genius of any single leader, but rather through a commitment to and execution of a set of well-defined, rigorously executed principles and practices.

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Former Procter & Gamble Vice President for IT and Shared Services, Tony Saldanha articulates strategies for leading a successful digital transformation and he also demonstrates how to improve the odds of digital transformation by lowering the costs and risk of change. Saldanha proposes using a five-stage model for digital transformation and a disciplined process for executing it.

The reason why digital transformations fail is that they take more discipline than one might expect. It takes a surprising amount of discipline and a positive outlook of the possibilities for digital transformations to succeed.

The book is about understanding why digital transformations fail as a means to a more important end, which is how to thrive in an industrial revolution. 70 percent of digital transformations fail, to get the 30 percent right requires discipline. The reason why digital transformations fail is that they take more discipline than one might expect. It takes a surprising amount of discipline and a positive outlook of the possibilities for digital transformations to succeed.

Favourite takeaways – Why Digital Transformations Fail

Procrastination is a habit you develop to cope with anxiety about starting or completing a task. It is your attempted solution to cope with tasks that are boring or overwhelming.

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In The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, Psychologists Dr. Neil Fiore highlight strategies, tools, and a comprehensive plan for overcoming procrastination and managing stress. Dr. Fiore argues that procrastination is a coping mechanism we use to deal with overwhelm and stressful situations. The Now Habit program presents 10 tools for overcoming procrastination such as The Unschedule, Three-dimensional thinking, Making worry work for you, persistent starting, setting realistic goals, guilty-free play, and working in the flow state.

Favourite Take Aways – The Now Habit

Procrastination is a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.

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American author and Psychotherapist Richard Carlson shared 100 bit-sized recommendations for living a purposeful life. As a stress consultant, he found that life is not an emergency, and we could use the 100 recommendation to live life on our own terms, stop worrying excessively because, at the end of the day, most of the things we worry about are all small stuff. The sun would rise tomorrow, the wound would heal, and we would gain perspective with each life process. Not sweating the small stuff means you move from always reacting to gaining perspective, letting life flow as it would, stop resisting, and radically accepting the vicissitudes of life.

Favourite Takeaways – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

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In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, author Malcolm Gladwell explores how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made instantly in the blink of an eye-that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Gladwell examines snap judgments, which are the split-second decisions we make unconsciously.

 Decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.

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The Core theme of Leading Digital by George Westerman:

Within the next ten years, industries, economies, and probably entire societies will be transformed by a barrage of technologies that until recently have existed only in science fiction, but are now entering and reshaping the business world. Becoming a Digital Master is challenging, but there has never been a better time. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become

In Leading Digital, authors George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee highlight how large companies in traditional industries—from finance to manufacturing to pharmaceuticals—are using digital to gain strategic advantage. They illuminate the principles and practices that lead to successful digital transformation. Based on a study of more than four hundred global firms, including Asian Paints, Burberry, Caesars Entertainment, Codelco, Lloyds Banking Group, Nike, and Pernod Ricard, the book shows what it takes to become a Digital Master.

Here are my favourite take-aways from reading, Leading Digital by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee:

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” – Albert Schweitzer

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John C. Bogle, the late founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and creator of the first index mutual fund, in Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, examines what it truly means to have “enough” in a world increasingly focused on status and score-keeping. The book is divided into three sections: Money, Business, and Life.

The book begins with a great story that summarizes the theme of the book:

At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history. Heller responds,“Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . enough.

“ The great game of life is not about money; it is about doing your best to join the battle to build anew ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our world.”

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In Real Estate Titans, Erez Cohen interviews the world’s leading real estate investors such as Richard Mack, Urs Ledermann, Ronald Terwilliger, Gina Diez Barroso, Elie Horn, Richard Ziman, Robert Faith, Chaim Katzman, Rohit Ravi, Joseph Sitt, Carlos Betancourt. Cohen draws on his experience as a research and teacher’s assistant at Wharton Business School with an investment expert—and his mentor—Dr. Peter Linneman. The book shares advice and insights garnered by the real estate titans; they answer questions like what they would do if they are starting over in real estate, making the best real estate deals, prioritizing their time and routines for becoming successful in life and business.

Life-long learning and becoming the hardest worker in the room seems to be one of the recurring habits exhibited by the real estate investors interviewed in the book. Here are my favorite takeaways from reading, Real Estate Titans by Erez Cohen: