10 Nigerian women tell us the books that have had the strongest influence on their lives

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

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Because what you’re looking for is right within you and everything is possible. Because it emphasises that you have the equipment, all you have to do is read the manual. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseni. Because he is a genius. Because Kabul and growth and love gone wrong. And everything women have to go through. It somewhat gives me a better outlook into lots of things. Wives Revolt by JP Clark. Because it touches on gender inequality in the most comical ways. I was 9 when I read it and it made all the sense. Though not so consciously. – Raihanah.


Harry Potter series by JK Rowling brought out my inner child. Every adult needs it. Mills and Boon, Harlequin, and the likes helped shaped my sexual life, taught me a lot before I even became sexually active. Hence I was more sexually mature and knowledgeable than most of  my peers who didn’t read up. Girl Boss by Nasty Gal. Given to me by a previous employer to read. That gave me the courage I needed to leave her job. Though I didn’t go to become a girl boss, it just made me shape my desires career wise and stick to my guns. – Titi.


Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Taught me about survival. A whole lot of suffering went on in the lives of a mother and her kids. Basically showed me that you do not have to be super dependent on family members and your husband. Dignam and Lowry’s Company Law textbook. This probably sucks. Company law could be extremely boring but the subtle humour in the textbook makes it stand out.  The way corporate law issues are juxtaposed with real life situations. And, the book partly influenced my decision to become a company Secretary. I actually go to every school with the book. Came to Law school with it. Whenever I don’t understand class stuff, I use the book. – Anu.


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Taught me that life is a journey and every experience, good or bad, is a journey. Taught me that life is a journey and every experience, good or bad is beautiful. Also Coelho’s The Zahir, because hen love bears the tiniest amount of selfishness, it becomes something else. – Anike


Fooled By Randomness by Naseem Nicholas. Because it talks about the hidden role of chance in life and markets. It explains the fallibility of the human mind, how we over estimate causality of events.  It’s just a book that explains how horrible humans are at judging probabilities. Everything In Nigeria Will Kill You by Ayo Sogunro. To be honest it’s an amazing book, brings out the bitter truth. How Nigeria is never going to move forward until we collectively make effort. You know it’s just one of those very blunt books. Confessions Of An Economic Hitman by John Perkins. I love this book. It’s about an economic hitman, it explains what the West does to poor nations. Their strategies of exploitation, how they steal our resources indirectly.  – Nana.


Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg, free mentorship. The Zahir –  Life is jeje, don’t beat yourself up about anything. Embrace your life as is, in the moment you’re in. Oh and Harry Potter just makes me happy. It has a lot to do with J. K Rowling’s delivery – Oyinkan.


Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason because it is so epic, too many lessons from cover to cover. Tell me your dreams by Sidney Sheldon, woke me up to Multiple Personality Disorder plus it was gripping. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, sheer brilliance, shows the power of nemesis. – Jola.


The Client by John Grisham because it taught me not to give up in what I believe in and stand firm for the truth. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah taught me compassion and how family isn’t just blood and sometimes, your blood can be your worst enemy. Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta taught me that a mothers love knows no bounds and we take our mothers for granted most of the time. We need to be nice and compassionate towards our mothers always. – Habiba.


The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Made me read more both about black history and Islam. Opened my eyes to how much I didn’t know. After that there are few books that have changed my outlook about different things. Nothing has had quite a big effect since. – Dolapo.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale hurston, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin and Burger’s Daughter by Nadine Gordimer. These books made me start to see myself as black and special. While I was growing up, I read a lot of English classics that would call people nigger and all sort. But these books made me realize that I am as smart and as brilliant as an average white person. And the thinking and writing in these books made me aspire to be a story teller too. It sort of made me think different and act differently from others. While everyone is acting and talking the same, and basically chasing the same thing, I want to be more. – Titilope.



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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