A GUIDE TO THE TOP (and how to remain there) – A Review Of The CEO’s Bible, Vols 1 & 2, by Azuh Arinze (Reviewer – Dr. Tunji Olugbodi)
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, friends of Azuh. I am highly privileged to speak here today for three reasons.
First, I am humbled to note that I am one of the people profiled in the Volumes and it is a special gift to also have the honor of reviewing the books.
Second, it is a landmark event on this auspicious day it being the author’s 45th birthday. So I get to wish him a happy birthday in a special way.
Third, (and this is no laughing matter), with this modest assignment, my lunch is guaranteed, hopefully, as a reward for my labour at this esteemed podium.
But seriously speaking, I wish to congratulate Azuh on his giant strides that have given rise to his increasing professional profile. I wish him the very best on his 45th birthday and the future.
Azuh is a passionate journalist driven by purpose.
For this, he draws on a great network of patrons and influencers, most of whom, I believe – like my humble self, see him more as a respected friend and brother. Azuh’s interpersonal skills are incomparable. This, perhaps, also helps him ask all the right questions that are neither patronizing nor condescending, but probing, regardless. Azuh’s deft skills at probing for purpose have become well honed over the years.
One of the first things that came to my mind in reviewing this book is why the title THE CEO’s BIBLE? Notably, you find inside these volumes, the profiles of three individuals. Consider: Is the Reverend Anselm Madubuko a businessman? Or Apostle Helen Ukpabio? Or Pastor Olumide Emmanuel? These are men (and woman) ‘of the cloth’ as Church leaders are often described.
Is it the case that leaders of religious organisations need business principles in order to succeed? Afterall, the author says in the introduction that the books are “conversations with top executives on starting, sustaining and standing out in business”.
It would seem that The CEO’s Bible is intended as a manual for practicing and budding CEOs – to serve as constant reference for How to get to the Top (And Remain There), the title of my little treatise this morning.
That is not surprising. I have a keen interest in biographies and autobiographies and draw personal inspiration and insight from all of them. The CEO’s Bible appears to present a compendium of what you’d normally find in that range of books.
Little wonder Advertising industry icon, Mr Biodun Shobanjo says in the foreword: “this is a book whose time has come”
Going back to the title (and relating with spirituality), I have read a book titled JESUS AS CEO written by the American, Laureth Beth Jones and I cannot resist drawing a comparison between the two titles and their import.
What is clear is that the people profiled are judged to have done remarkable things and achieved clear success in their spheres of operations. I guess the men (and women) of God can take solace in the fact that over 90% of those profiled attribute part of their success to ‘the God factor’.
But many other questions still persist:
Why are there more men than women featured in the volumes? The gender imbalance seems amplified loudly by the absence of Mrs Alakija, Africa’s richest woman.
What qualifies some and ‘disqualify’’ others from the same category or sector – for instance, why are the Dangotes or Otedolas or Otudekos not listed?
Why are there no bankers profiled? Why a predominance for people in media, communications and entertainment?
What informed the cover designs- why is one draped in red and the other in blue? (Checking out some of the interviewees, they seem at best to have only passing interest in football and the EPL. So why those colors? And why is the blue (Chelsea?) Volume 1 (Manchester United) and not the red? I am not sure my football analogy suffices.
In terms of balance: why are all the profiles in the Nollywood /Acting category limited to one part of the country? Perhaps their stories are adequate reflection of the issues in that sector?
Indeed, we can ask – why are some of us seating here not listed in what will likely become known as ‘Azuh’s bible’ despite the fact that we have, in our own rights, made success of life and our careers?
I want to wager three answers in response to this.
First is that success is universal and the metaphors that represent it are easily discernible and anyone can be the ‘chosen vessel’ through which this is ventilated. I suspect for instance, that he probably has more in his repertoire than he has currently released.
Second is that many of the highflying entrepreneurs and executives and even those not yet so, are not easily accessible. They are busy making success happen! For instance the author says it took him over five years to conduct the interviews.
Third, I propose that the volumes are not intended as exclusive bibliography of the rich and successful, nor for the hardworking up and coming. They are best appreciated as the inclusive encyclopedia meant as a reference guide for journeying to the top and staying there, drawn from the cocktail of testimonials and reflections. The variety, range and depth as we will find, simply means one size does not fit all.
What then is the author’s real intention? It is encapsulated in this simple sentence: “ To ensure you’re not a casualty of a failed business….”
The purpose is found in the Author’s strategy – We are persuaded to “learn” and “understand”, to adopt and apply the principles that work for us from the success messages . Simply put, the desire is for financial freedom – but we wonder why most of the interviewees kept saying money is not the motivation for entrepreneurship? The benefits of entrepreneurship are more than financial and each person finds his or her motivation. So we learn good judgment. On the other hand, we can learn from other people’s mistakes. This rings true when the author asked Leo Stan Eke for instance “what is your worst business decision?” His response indicates that there is truth in the old adage that experience is the best teacher.
Anyone can write a book. But a good book is a treasure to hold and read. The book runs for 809 pages across two volumes. It comes in paper back with offcut paper stock for the text. Although presented in easy to read eight chapters of 45 interviews (Volume 1) and eleven chapters of 45 interviews (Volume 2), it would appear that the classification has been done more out of convenient expediency (eg Media / Public Service (Steve Ayorinde / Dayo Adeneye in Volume 2).
The editorial style is not explicit as the author’s incursion seems limited to the brief introduction to each interviewees’ conversation. The styles therefore reflect the each individual’s editorial comfort zone.
The quality of the volumes reflect in the variety and amount of information shared through the views of each profile. This makes for very rich and interesting reading.
Azuh has achieved several things with the 809 page volumes.
The questions and views are indicative of the state of affairs in our nation, especially the socio economic vicissitudes. They provide a socio-historical backdrop to our country’s journey through time. One example is the ‘Oil Subsidy’ was dealt with in one or two of the interviews.
Another is the treatise on human nature and the capacity to do the unusual and achieve the impossible as well as resilience and determination.
Third is that it tells of heritage and evidence of a track record that can be permanently etched in the sands of time. In this I speak of some of the interviewees who have sadly passed on, like Amaka Igwe and football Coach Stephen Keshi. What is instructive in this every thread sewn in the journey of success becomes the fabric with which we will be evaluated with time, now or in the future.
My final thought is this: by releasing the CEO’s Bible, Azuh has achieved the quintessential role as a facilitator who has midwifed a treasure trove of condensed information.
I wish to commend this all-important work to you all. It is guaranteed to take you to the top and help you stay there if you are quick to learn, unlearn and relearn. Thank you.
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