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Reading requires discipline

Loic Amado is the Uber General Manager, East Africa ‘and loves a book that will challenge his views ‘and give him inspiration.


1. How has reading been instrumental to your career, personal life ‘and contributed to your leadership roles?

Reading challenges me because it gives me perspectives from other leaders; as I read I get to interact ‘and debate with their ideologies. Leaders ‘and entrepreneurs sharing their wisdom in business edify my intellectual curiosity. It’s always great to relate to some of the challenges that other entrepreneurs went through during the early days of building their businesses. For me, reading has been instrumental in helping me to reflect on challenges that other entrepreneurs went through ‘and how I can learn from their mistakes.

2. Leaders read. Recommend top three books every leader should read.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris ‘and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

3. What aspects of a book make you love it?

The relatedness, how it challenges my own views ‘and the inspiration that I draw from it.

4. What was the best book you read in 2017?

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It’s incredible how many different things can happen to a person during a lifetime. It’s a 900-page book but the story grips one with many life lessons revolving around forgiveness, redemption, love, among others. The writer describes events throughout his lifetime: A former drug addict, he escapes from an Australian prison, flies into Bombay, lives in the slum, gets involved with the local Bombay Maffia, fights in Afghanistan in the midst of the Soviet invasion. I will never forget some of the characters described in this book, super realistic ‘and entertaining.   

5. What lessons/habits have you picked over your years of reading?

I wouldn’t say that I have picked most of my habits ‘and lessons from reading exclusively. Lessons that I have learned in life have been a culmination of reading ‘and experiences from interacting with different people ‘and diverse cultures. Through these I have improved my interpersonal ‘and professional skills.

6. What book are you currently reading ‘and what is interesting about it?

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It is one of my favourite memoirs so far. Phil Knight is very honest about his uncertainties ‘and imperfections as a manager ‘and leader but realises a passionate ‘and driven team can offset these imperfections ‘and drive a business forward. I love how much trust, autonomy ‘and responsibility he puts in some of his early employees, despite the fact that some of them were driving him crazy. He gives them a lot of leeway ‘and lets them learn from their mistakes ‘and develop themselves. I was also pleasantly surprised about his perseverance. It taught me to never let anyone stop me when I truly believe in an idea. Phil describes himself as an introvert but had the courage to take the plunge, book a flight by himself to Japan (not long after the war with the US in 1962), meet with senior executives at Onitsuka ‘and sign a contract with them to import shoes into the US.

7. What book are you planning to read next?

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

8. Do you have a bad book habit?

Not really. I guess sometimes I may take long to read a book depending on how busy my schedule is, but I try my best to make sure that I don’t have big reading gaps ‘and end up losing interest in the book.

9. How do you plan your time to ensure you read on an everyday basis?

I have the discipline to really dedicate a portion of my time to reading ‘and if needed, even block a timeslot in my calendar.  I advise others to find a time that suits them best. I like mornings before getting to work as it’s a time where I get my creative juices flowing.  I believe that you shouldn’t be directly diving into emails during your most creative time of day. A perfect time for me to read is in an Uber, where I feel as if I’m in a capsule ‘and disconnected from the world ‘and can really concentrate on the task at h ‘and.

Murugi Ndwiga is the Sub-editor, Management magazine.


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