Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa: Hey, what are you reading? [NEW VOICES]

by Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa


I recently came back to frequent reading in the past year after about a decade. Don’t judge me, I would read a book every quarter or read a book halfway every month so I wasn’t totally bad.

In the course of my hiatus, I found people watching, social media living and TV binge-watching and online research very educative. They filled the gap all this time and I told myself I was being fed enough but was I deceived! I found that a lot of people were watching the same shows, seeing almost the same things I was and being the person I am becoming, I will not allow that. I began to discover, I had nothing new to offer, everything I knew and said, others did too! How was I supposed to stand out? I asked myself. The market place in which I play is saturated with all comers, wannabes and has-beens. And then I remembered, readers are leaders. As clichéd as that sounds, it’s the utmost truth. As with most clichés, it may be a statement that will cause you to roll your eyes almost out of their sockets but it continues to hold true. How are you supposed to lead in an area in which you do not possess superior knowledge or imagination beyond even your professional experience? As a leader, you need to hold on to your capacity to dream even within your current industry realities so that your can take on unprecedented territories.

Remember those libraries and studies our dads and all the great men in their generations had? I wonder if we still build those anymore? I wonder if my generation is factoring that into their Lekki House building plans or are they building home cinemas? And trust me, I’m not asking you to read hard backs and hard covers, that’s not even the point. Kindle, Okada books have taken care of that.

It’s so exciting to see books starting to get the attention movies command these days, what with the Smart Money Woman and many other books, things are looking up again. The lost art is returning.

And because, in life, everything you see happening now, has happened before to someone in another generation. Nothing is new really and a great way to gain insight into our existence has been via books. Books do the following for me and I’m sure for you too.


  • First, and obvious thing they do is inform and educate me. I really do not need to go on about that.
  • Secondly, they validate my thoughts, especially when I’ve been thinking and pondering on an issue for so long. I pick a book and find that my thoughts on an issue are not unfounded and are, in fact, natural and should be explored.
  • They expand your mind, one of the cheapest ways to take a mental trip (or even any trip) is to read. If you’re reading the right book, you will find that those things that were impossibilities to you have been done. Those thoughts that you never aspired to, had been overtaken and that there’s so much you haven’t thought of. Books push you. They remind you that your little corner is only a tiny part of the universe and that there’s so much more
  • They remind you of what’s important. In the hustle and bustle of life, we forget all the supposed fine print but important things we ought to we remember.
  • They shape you. So many incredible ideas and ideologies are found in books and each word is a seed to mould you. If you carefully select the books you read for a decade, you find the harvest in your life in the end.


I leave you with a quote from American, Best Selling Author and Businessman, Anthony Robbins:

“I devoured biographies of great leaders, great thinkers, great doers, like Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, John F. Kennedy, and Viktor Frankl. I realised that the great men and women of the world had experienced pain and suffering much greater than my own. They weren’t just lucky or even fortunate; somehow there was something in them, an invisible force that would not let them settle for less than they could do, or be, or give. I realised that biography is not destiny; that my past was not equal to my future.

Another favourite was an American classic from 1937, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Hill spent two decades in the early 20th century interviewing 500 of the world’s most accomplished individuals, from Andrew Carnegie, to Henry Ford, to Theodore Roosevelt, to Thomas Edison, finding out what makes them tick. He discovered that they all shared a relentless focus on their goals, and a combination of burning desire, faith, and persistence to achieve them. Hill’s message that ordinary people could overcome any obstacle to success gave hope to a generation of readers struggling through the Great Depression. Think and Grow Rich became one of the best-selling books of all time.”

I believe there’s a reason why employers ask you what book you’re reading at interviews; so much is tied to this. So, what are you reading?

Ayodotun is a Conservative Rebel and a Brand Manager turned Music Business Manager, Writer, Blogger and Content Creator. She built almost a decade’s worth of experience in Brand Building, Strategy and Events across Nigeria and other parts of West Africa before her sojourn into the music business.

In addition to music, she blogs from www.lifestylehues.com which is a fun, lifestyle and inspirational platform where she discusses today’s issues with a slightly eccentric perspective.

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