20 April 2013

Kenya: Four Books Uhuru and Ruto Should Read


We are still in the early days of President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration. However, these are the top four books that I will recommend to him, and to his deputy, William Ruto.

1. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, By Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore's charismatic and controversial founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, offers his insights on the journey that Singapore took from being a forsaken and underdeveloped port city, to transform into fledging city- state with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Lee recounts his journey and how he fearlessly forged ahead to create a united and prosperous country.

2. The Trouble with Nigeria, By Chinua Achebe. Taking cue from his previous novels, the departed prolific writer laments at the problems facing Nigeria, and challenges the resignation to fate of Nigerians. He asserts that Nigeria could resolve its inherent problems such as tribalism; lack of patriotism; social injustice and the cult of mediocrity; indiscipline; and corruption through effective leadership. Even though the book dwells on Nigeria, it could just as well apply to Kenya.

3. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, By Sheryl Sandberg. I would also have to recommend this book to The First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, and to William Ruto's wife, Rachel Ruto. Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, encourages women to challenge the common workplace assumption that "men still run the world." Sandberg is often criticised as having a privileged upbringing, and is therefore detached from the conditions of the normal working woman, but in Lean In, she hopes to see institutional changes at work to support the inclusion of more women.

4. The Start-up Nation, By Dan Senor and Saul Singer. While the world seems fixated on the success of Silicon Valley, this book takes a peek at another overlooked technological hub- Israel. Through government interventions, specific training programmes, and funding from financial institutions, the book explores how all these factors have been synergised to create a flourishing entrepreneurial culture that is almost unrivalled in the world.

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