Books (social) I have read in 2015:

Consolation: this list excludes books I’ve had to read for teaching purposes (some I had to read in full – e.g. those of Collective Security just for class confidence), research, and/or consultancy. All in all, upon reflection, I’ve not read as much as I could…and I’ve a feeling (apportioning the blame here) it’s mostly due to having elections in Tanzania. Trust me, elections took lots of my time – a pleasurable distraction it was!

Axelrod D. (2015). Believer: My Forty Years in Politics. Penguin Press

This book was a classic for me and almost became kind of a “text book” given its deep insight on elections and campaigns…I drew lessons from it in my attempt to run Elections101 series and provide some advise to candidates. Well check my general reflection on the book here: http://aikandekwayu.com/reflections-on-axelrod-d-believer-my-forty-years-in-politics-new-york-penguin-press-2015-pp-509/

Benarke B. (2015). The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and its Aftermath. New York : W. W. Norton & Company

There are some macroeconomics and monetary policy lessons to be learnt. The book is a personal narrative of Bernanke’s life and his arguments on monetary policies and the rationale behind his decisions during the crisis.

Away from all that academic stuff in there, what has really stroke me is Bernanke’s character – high work ethics, humbleness, discipline and being real. Such values inspire me and remind me never to settle for mediocrity or deal with mediocres… in the likes of T.I’s ‘No Mediocre’!

Chan S. (2009). The End of Certainty: Towards a New Internationalism . London: Zed Books

 I did not write a reflection of this book. Probably because it’s one of those books that made me think so much and challenged my take on international relations as well as the Bible and every IR theory I’ve read before. For example, have you ever thought?

…dictatorship has its origin from Heaven? Chan, at one point, reminds us that God did not allow any opposition to His authority in heaven and that’s why he chased satan away….

Well, that’s how revolutionary this book is. Below are some of other things that stroke me hardest while I was reading the book:

Commodification of suffering – we have truly commodified suffering- even in our own society- you see “socialites” showing off their projects of “assisting” poor kids…or those who cannot access certain services…..well, am not going there but think!

Chan says, we commodify suffering through petty stuff like “giving spare money and sign petitions” etc and then want publicity out of it….yeah…and he doesn’t end there…he goes beyond confronting such attitudes and suggest actions on twofolds:

  • to change the structures of the world’s capital flow; and
  • to be humble enough to live within the structures of those we seek to help

 He also talks about commodifying our own image with “designer labels that say we have‘made it’ within the house”…challenging indeed!

One of the phrases that made me laugh…and think even further was…

“if you, your life, your surroundings, and your prospects are ugly, your gods will be very beautiful”…this he wrote after his experience in a poor street in India…(honestly Chan was a bit rude here…or as my #USIU friends would say…he was roughhhhhh)

Cleary N. & Mueffling D. (2001). The Art and Power of Being a Lady. New York: Grove Press

One of those “life lessons” books that may help you to be so “not you”…well, admittedly there are good manners being listed there (e.g. don’t gossip, dress descent etc) on being a lady…the book is so neoliberal informed, you wonder…but may be the audience is Americans…well, ladies, I think authentic is the real deal…

 Da Cost P. (2015). How to Seduce a Billionaire. Virgin Books

My bro, Amani, really laughed when he saw me buying the book. “Aika”, he said, “I never knew you read such books” I told him “it’s for my friend…” and that was true. Anyways, I decided to read it on the plane. Kyeku was in control- relaxed. The stewardess (who had earlier asked me if she could put my name down on the list in case of emergency on air – (due to the pre fix Dr…lol) and as I do it in many occasions, I politely explained- unfortunately, I was not called to that noble career…I’m an academic doctor) smiled when she saw me reading it and said “I’ve read the book before”. I then had to act my academic character (Aikande)- and asked “did you like it?” she smiled and uttered, “yes of course, I loved it… and are you liking it?” I responded… “it’s a nice fiction but not much creativity in it…good for old teenagers and young 20s”. That was obviously an unnecessarily defensive vibe, I thought of pulling another book or my laptop, but Kyeku insisted it’s her time…so I managed to finished the book before we landed and gave it to the friend…

I’m yet to meet a billionaire so I can try them tricks….

Graham A., Blackwill R., & Wyne A., (2013). Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World. Cambridge: MIT Press

I especially love his (Lee Kuan Yew) critique on neoliberal democracy…in particular how elections (informed by that ideology) are flawed and they cannot bring us the likes of the Churchill, De Gaulle etc…( I think #MAGUFULI has somehow proven him right…)

My reflection is: http://aikandekwayu.com/graham-a-blackwill-r-wyne-a-lee-kuan-yew-the-grand-masters-insights-on-china-the-united-states-and-the-world-cambridge-mit-press-2013-pp-186/

Hemingway E. (1927). Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises. London: Arrow Books

The ending wanted me to read more…am left in the lights…ok, my reflection is here: http://aikandekwayu.com/hemingway-ernest-1927-fiesta-the-sun-also-rises-london-arrow-books/

 Lewis C.S. (1949). The Weight of Glory. London: William Collins

Deep and insightful essays on Christianity. Lewis was also political. By the way, he wrote most of these Holy Spirit inspired essays – with his addiction to smoking…and at times very sick. The essays are acumen of God’s grace…and how we can have personal non-judgmental relationship with the Lord Jesus. #Frameless….

Marquez G. G. (1967). One Hundred Years of Solitude. London: Penguin

I fell in love with this book despite it being a kind of a “heavy” reading fiction- especially due to its setting. Well Marquez (RIP) was a genius when it came to creative fiction writing and character creation. But then I realized that I , relatively, had only a “crush” if not “infatuation” when I read from Teju Cole ‘s essay (on his obsession to the photo of 4 men walking on top of a building in Sao Paulo) that there was a woman who, out of her love to Marquez’s novel, rewrote it every word by hand…that has diluted my sense of love…Anyways, read my reflection of the book here: http://aikandekwayu.com/solitude-in-the-midst-of-turmoil-reflection-on-marquez-gabriel-garcia-one-hundred-years-of-solitude/

Meyer J. (2011). Living Beyond Your Feelings. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.

Nye Jr. J. (2008). The Powers to Lead. Oxford: Oxford University

The way to balance hard (carrots and sticks) powers with soft powers.

Roth P. (1977). The Professor of Desire. New York: Vintage Books

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