First things first, I have an important disclaimer to share with the reader. I have been included in one chapter of the book to be reviewed, and I have also appeared in the acknowledgements. I had not make any prior arrangements with Daniel to review his book. However, upon reading it, I felt compelled to share my reaction and reflection on this motivational book. My review follows below.
I have just finished reading the book Grit by Daniel Dunga. Daniel is an accomplished Malawian author. He’s a Mandela Washington Fellow under President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). He is a competent professional speaker with Toastmasters International (TI). He is also a graduate of the Success Motivation International (SMI). Daniel is a regular motivational speaker at various conferences and events. He delivers trainings in a range of personal development areas.
Grit is the second motivational book by Daniel. It is a revised edition of the previous volume by the same name. The first edition came out in 2016. It was a great book on personal development that celebrated hard work as an approach to achieving one’s strategic goals. It was also the first book in Malawi that localised the information on self-improvement by citing cases that are well known to the readership in the country. For the first time, we could all relate to the examples that were shared in the book. However, Grit still retained an eye for the international audience by quoting well known authors from the West.
This balanced approach allowed it to earn immediate respect among the self-help practitioners. It has gone on to be distributed for free to various groups of students around the country. Such was the impact of delivery by the first edition.
The second edition therefore, had a big challenge to surmount. What would it offer that was already not covered by its predecessor? I have all the three versions of both publications: a paperback and ebook version of the first edition, and a paperback for the second edition. In fact, I made sure that I was the first one to get the second edition by winning the auction on social media on who would get the first signed copy.
The second edition has included a practical chapter about Grit in motion. Some books, in the quest to motivate others, become unbearably theoretical. One is given scenarios, which though sounding very impressive, have little if any practical significance. The readers feel highly motivated while reading the book, but find that once the narration is over, there’s little that could be gleaned from the lessons that were shared with them. This has led other quarters of society to question the relevance of motivational books. Do they really help?
Well, it depends. It depends on who is talking to you, and whether what is being shared is relevant to your situation. In this case, one would argue that the setting of the story matters. If it is a local story, and you are able to relate to it in a much more direct way, it is not hard to see that the possibility of learning some practical lessons becomes higher. Without any doubt, Grit achieves just that.
My only concern at the moment is that, though the volume has significantly increased in size, it could still accommodate more anecdotes. I feel the author has much more to offer than what is already shared in the book. For instance, his experience as a motivational speaker is absent in the book. His adventures when setting up Blantyre Pitch Night, the first platform for entrepreneurs in Blantyre, the Commercial City of Malawi, should have presented some interesting issues. This platform has a sister talk night in Lilongwe, the Capital City of Malawi. Surely, there could be something to learn that might help those that organize similar events.
Malawi needs to celebrate its local heroes, and Grit, I feel, should utilize that opportunity and become grittier in putting together the inspiring stories.
Having said that, I’m happy that I made the right choice to purchase the second edition of Grit. Much importantly, reading the book has left me fired up to accomplish those difficult tasks that are likely going to influence a positive change in the fortunes of my life. I therefore, highly recommend that every teenager, every career person, every business person, every leader worth his/her salt, should purchase a personal copy of Grit. It will challenge you. It will motivate you. It will guide you and it will not disappoint.