Final note before the year runs out, by Saleh Babayo

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As the year 2020 beacons, 2019 is already bidding us farewell. In less than a week, the “referee” will raise the electronic substitution board with 2019 in red color and 2020 in green. I think this period is the best moment for sober reflection for all of us. Be candid to yourself. Confine yourself in solitude and then ask yourself all the uncomfortable questions that only can ask. As the second Islamic rightly-guided Caliph, Umar ibn Khattab famously said: “hold yourselves accountable before you are held accountable.”

Ask yourself thought-provoking questions like what are the things that made or marred your outgoing year? What were the targets you set for yourself in 2019 that weren’t to see the light of the day? How do you intend to spend your upcoming year? What are the things that you think you would do differently if you were to repeat 2019? What measures have you taken to ensure the success of your 2020? What were your regrets and successes looking back at 2019 in retrospect? And on and on.

You can’t afford to let your story in 2020, if God preserves our lives, to end with the regretting phrase: “had I known …” God forbid. Do you remember one of the frequent questions in SSCE English Language Paper I, Section A (Continuous Writing), where they often ask candidates to write a story ending with the words “had I known …”?  Whatever your experience in 2019, you can make your 2020 far better. As they say, the experience is the best teacher. Wise people learn from their mistakes, while wiser ones learn from other people’s mistakes.

READING CULTURE

I have been longing to write on the regrettable decline of reading culture. I still couldn’t lay bare my thoughts on the subject. That’s a story for another day. Now, before the year runs out, I want to give you a brief highlight of some of the books I have read this year which I found fascinating and I believe worth your time in the coming year. I provided a brief synopsis for each for the benefit of the reader.

A quick piece of advice, though, before I delve properly into the crux of the matter. Especially for new readers like myself, I will strongly recommend to you to imbibe the attitude of buying hardcopy books. Softcopies make readers slow and lazy amidst inevitable distractions. Just train and discipline yourself in this regard. It takes discipline, consistency, and passion to buy a hardcopy book when you know you could get exactly the same content online for free.

Now back to the business. I made the list of my favorite 2019 books in decreasing order of significance, at least how they seem to me after reading them.

1) The Power of Self-Discipline: No Excuses by Brian Tracy

I have to admit, the first and the second books are by far the best books I have read in 2019. I have recommended them to a countless number of friends. No Excuses covered a wide range of issues that pertain to our day-to-day lives. From Parenting to Finance, to Marriage, etc. Its simplicity, conciseness, and writing style are second to none.

2) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book teaches absolute morality and how to live peacefully with everyone using every day, learnable techniques. All the techniques were followed by real-life examples. This age-old book is no doubt Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece.

3) Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Ben Carson

This was the first book I read in 2019. It has been a source of inspiration for me. It’s an autobiography of Dr. Benjamin Carson, the renowned Pediatric Neurosurgeon who successfully separated several Siamese Twins (conjoined twins) using complex medical procedures. His beginning was very humble as he was a very dummy in his class at elementary levels before he miraculously rose to the top late in high school.

4) Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! By Robert T. Kiyosaki

This book is unarguably Kiyosaki’s masterpiece. It teaches financial discipline and how to be financially independent. His approach is reader-friendly as it’s conversational in nature.

5) The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

If you want to understand power from ground zero, then this book is for you. It’s an all-time bestseller on the subject. Although some of its laws are actually very ruthless, yet the book as a whole makes a good read.

6) His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley

This book is all about relationships. Harley is a relationship expert and marriage counselor with over 40 years of work experience. The book is filled with hypothetical and interesting examples.

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