Book Reviews: My last 5 reads
Finishing off 2021 with a summary & review of my last 5 reads.
1. Gang of One by Gary Muldrew
Acclaimed memoir based on the real life events of one of the ‘NatWest Three’ who’s life came crumbling down and how he tackled prison life in a foreign country.
It took a while to get going, but once past the initial first few chapters this book was rollercoaster of a read, with funny, poignant humour to compliment the dark and horrifying reality of prison and survival.
All the while not giving up hope so he could find his children.
Rating: 3 / 5
Buy ‘Gang of One’ from Amazon >
2. Keep Moving On by Amrit Singh
An incredible telling of Amrit Singh’s experience uncovering his family history with an emphasis on his father’s incredible journey of migration to Canada; battling against elements, forces, culture, politics and how they all parallel with modern day issues such as mental health and depression as well as other family and societal pressures.
A true paradigm shift within the Sikh-Punjabi culture - to engage with elders in open dialogue, who traditionally do not speak of past events, and dive into personal history to better understand past struggles and help overcome new ones.
Written with such detail. One of the best things I’ve read in a long time.
Rating: 4 / 5
Buy ‘Keep Moving on’ from Amazon >
3. Armada by Ernest Cline
The second sci-fi story brought to you by the incredible mind behind ‘Ready Player One’.
This follows in similar style and fashion to the authors signature writing, however I personally thought it fell short of everything that was great about Ready Player One. It took a while get involved and committed; with the story, the concept and the characters. Readers have also highlighted its similarity to ‘Last Starfighter’ coupled by the burdensome shadow of following up to the acclaimed ‘Ready Player One’.
Nonetheless, if you can look past these major drawbacks, it’s still a fun sci-fi story to read.
(Side note if they ever do make this into movie — Bobby ‘Logic’ Hall surely has to play Zack Lightman, I kept picturing him when reading the book).
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Buy ‘Armada’ from Amazon >
4. Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
By retelling his own story of growing up in Britain, Akala somehow not only dissects British culture but also uses that instance to open up a wider discussion and give a mass history lesson the empires history of violence, racism and classism from every angle; various institutions, the police, the education system, portrayal in the media and many more.
Articulately written, even funny at times, yet eye opening (or even jaw dropping) for some readers who are British and non-coloured, for at the heart is a true account of what it was like be born and grow up in 80’s London for a British mix-raced child.
Whether you are aware of his music or not; it doesn’t matter. This book is one is for the historians and knowledge seekers who love literature and history; subject areas where Akala is supremely apprised in both.
Rating: 4 / 5
Buy ‘Natives’ from Amazon >
4. Leadership Reinvented by Hamza Khan
Anybody can be a leader. And with such turbulent times (Covid, Black lives matter, etc.) traditional leadership and leadership values in modern day environments are fast becoming mismatched.
Broken down into 3 key sections, including real life examples of leadership figures from various professions across the world, effectively showing how to overcome adversity by putting what he terms as “Bright SIDE” Mindset (Servitude, Innovation, Diversity and Empathy). What makes this more than just ‘another model’ is section 3 Hamza provides a roadmap or detailed worksheets to implement this into everyday practice and performance.
By reviewing the classic model and rethinking leadership in a way that he thinks will better re-equip ‘new leaders’, Hamza’s new leadership model is a bold step forward.
Rating: 4 / 5
Buy ‘Leadership Reinvented’ from Amazon >