10 Nigerian men tell us the books that have had the most influence on their lives

We asked Nigerians about the books that have had the most influence on their lives, besides religious books of course.


Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted because they spoke about mental illness and depression in teenagers like me and made that very real to me. I have since then become utterly obsessed with Sylvia Plath. Then There is the Girl’s Guide To Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank whose protagonist, Jane Rosenal inspired me to become a writer. – Edwin.


Malcolm Gladwell books generally. Dude is magical in pointing out things most of us miss. Plus he breaks it down in a scientific way yet keeps it so relatable. – Kayode.


How To Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The book gave me insight into how people think and see themselves. It teaches you how to relate with people and how to get your way with them. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. My views aren’t totally in line with this book but I can say that most of what was taught in this book gave me an arsenal of positivism in this negative driven world. It taught me to value what I have as it sends out positive vibes. A negative attitude towards life’s issues doesn’t help you progress to the next level. How To Get Ideas by Jack Foster. As a creative enthusiast I get to fall into this state of mind where I’m unable to come up with ideas. Or if I come up with them, they’re really not up to what I had in mind. This book taught me the process of getting ideas that kick ass. It made me walk around with my pen and paper and an open mind. Everyone in the creative industry should read this book. It’s fun and very informative. – Oshomah.


Judas Strain by James Rollins was the first 600 page novel i read in Jss2. It was a big deal to me at the time. I had stuck to short stories until then. Basically unlocked the infinite worlds behind a book without cute pictures for me. Men, Women and Children by Chad Kultgen. This book was not a big deal technically but the opening quote in the book gave me my first existential crisis. No jokes. Haunts me till date.

Carl SeganEmpress of the World by Sara Ryan. The writing style and storytelling struck me so hard, I fell in love with indie publishers, so much so that I started digging for ghost writer and contributors. And this was the first book about same-sex bisexual couples that made me see homosexuality from an observer point of view. The writing style did something that made the characters read so relatable, the romance between two 14 year old bisexual girls didn’t read any different from the normal awkward quirks and broken silences straight people had – Toye.


Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Carl Newport, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Both describe mastery and how it’s not merely some magic, It’s time and smart work. Wole Soyinka’s Prison Notes. Not because I think he is a hero, but because you really got to understand Nigeria and the people that struggled for it. The question I asked my self after is, is Nigeria worth dying for? –Taqwa.


What Great Brands Do by Denise Lee Yohn, Jewish Phenomenon by Steven Spielberg, How To Win With People. Stuff I learned took normal to extra normal, (new dimension of thinking). Crushed old patterns of doing stuff. – Smart.


Rich Dad, Poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki; Entrepreneurship. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; Life. Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield; Passion to Profit – Goodman.


Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi because it taught me how to get into the zone, Quiet by Susan Cain because it taught me to appreciate and understand my introversion, Wikipedia because it’s the daddy – Farouq.


Mastery by Robert Green, No excuses by Brian Tracy, Zero to one by Peter Thiel. All of them mostly helped me shape the way I think about life; discipline, work, goals. – Akolade.


The Autobiography of Malcom X, A life of greatness and legacy has everything to do with responsibilities. Then there’s the eye-opening as regards black American history. The Biography of Fela, because it tells the importance of sojourn and not playing by the rules. Its okay not to fit in. It’s important you do what’s most natural to you, end up in a career that’s closest to your heart, then make a change with it. The Life of Jack Ma, although this one wasn’t a complete book. Read it online in fragments. It showed me that you don’t have to be a major tech person to dominate the tech sphere. All you need is exposure, brain, a great team and a heart. –  J.B.



The Fu'ad

That go-to guy for different sturvs. Books and the Internet have taken him to Mars. He still loves his Garri with very cold water. Yeah, Content and Copy rock.

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