Book Review: Hey, Stupidity Saved My Life!
02 Wednesday May 2012
Title: How Stupidity Saved My Life
Author: Okechukwu Ofili
It was love at first sight. And I was not disappointed. The title of Okechukwu Ofili’s debut book is as fascinating and attractive as the cover design. In twenty-one short chapters, Ofili deftly captivates the reader’s mind and embraces you into his world – one filled with bouts of stupidity that have helped transformed him into an award-winning international public speaker and success coach.
It chronicles Ofili’s incredible journey from being rejected by his first high school of choice, battling the stigma of stupidity in high school and ranking 27 of 30 in class, to graduating from the University of Houston as one of the five most outstanding students in his class. The same year, he won the University of Houston’s Homecoming king award for academic excellence, outstanding leadership and exemplary service to the community, the college’s highest award. Written off by many friends and branded as a failure by many instructors, Ofili s resilience and self-belief floated him past the inhibitions of failures into resounding success. This echoes the words of the late French-Cuban author, Anais Nin, whom he quotes in almost every chapter; that “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
“How Stupidity Saved My Life” is a worthwhile investment of time and money because it educates, entertains, inspires and motivates you to rise above your failures. The central theme is that Life is about the choices we make, and it is never too late to make the right choice. We are all human and therefore, make mistakes – regardless of status or upbringing – but the true key to success is to learn from our blunders and those of other people and most importantly, grow by applying the valuable lessons learnt. This reinforces the anonymous quote, “A smart man learns from his mistakes; a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
Ofili combines the power of quotes, anecdotes, and creative, illustrative sketches to turn his personal mess-ups into a resounding message of hope: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly”. In a Malcolm Gladwell-esque way, he transitions from one story to another, skillfully inserting well-researched historical analyses to lend credence to his points. The simplicity of his writing style also reminds one of Paul Coelho, the South American author of “The Alchemist” who is a master at painting vivid pictures with words. Ofili would you keep you in suspense, transition to another story, then return to seal his points perfectly. He tells you that success in life does not come from bragging about how much you know, but by understanding and accepting how much you don’t know. “Admit your stupidity and you’ll be a success,” he writes.
This book is a quick and witty read I would recommend for everyone who has ever been slowed down in life because of over-analysis. Too much analysis, they say, leads to paralysis of the mind. The author’s experiences easily resonate with the readers. Every teenager, and lover of teenagers, who enjoyed reading Dr. Ben Carson’s “Gifted Hands” should read this too, and pass on to loved ones. I am so hooked on Ofili and will probably queue up for his next book, just like the Apple faithful did for iPhone 4S.
P.S: You can take a look at Ofili’s second book here: First copies of [How Laziness Saved My Life] Revealed. I can’t wait to grab my own copy!