The message from Professor Tshilidzi Marwala has been loud and clear: Those who do not read, should not lead.
Good leaders in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) are those that read extensively, so as to lead the people, especially in Africa, out of poverty, unemployment, and to greater heights.
Being a knowledgeable leader that he is, in Leadership Lessons From Books I have Read, Professor Marwala shares the 50 books that he drew leadership lessons from.
These are books that he believes- through them, many leaders in the African continent can draw some leadership lessons from which to make the continent lead the charge in the 4IR, and deliver the people out of the current socioeconomic challenges they face.
Now, let me start by saying that I nearly stopped reading when I saw the first book that Professor took leadership lessons from was Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I have read Conrad’s book many times, and every time I finished reading it- I despised him and his works even more, because of how he portrayed Africans in the book.
However, it is how Marwala-despite the racist overtones of the book, draws a lesson that we, as Africans, can decide to define ourselves different from how racists such as Conrad sees us.
This is a book that will help every leader, whether in public and private sectors, community level, and in society at large to read books that can help them to become the best leaders they can be.
I like the fact that Marwala’s 50 books touch on wide issues that continue to grapple contemporary African society; patriarchy, poor governance, corruption, tribalism, gender inequality, land, poverty, climate change and unethical leadership.
Most importantly it touches on the opportunities that good African leaders can seize up in the 4IR.
Leadership Lessons From Books I have Read is a book that is not only aimed to those who are in positions of power, but even ordinary people, especially men can learn from the some of the books that touches on patriarchy and violence against women, because these are the old pandemics that we need rid ourselves of, if we are to build equitable and no sexist societies in the continent.
With this book, Professor Marwala has once again proven that reading is another form of knowledge production, and those who have the appetite to lead others need to oil their brains with books.
I think the only bummer for me was that Prof’s reading list is dominated by more men than women. As if there are no women who have not written on some of the themes he touched on.
Besides that, Leadership Lessons From Books I have Read is a book that should be at the desk of every president, CEOs, and managers in all African countries. This book is a library of insightful and powerful books that can change the continent for the good.