Title: Unforgettable – Living A Life That Matters
Author: Nesta Jojoe Erskine
Year of Publication: 2018
Number of pages: 127
Publisher: Hetura Books
Reviewer: Elikem M. Aflakpui
When I read a non-fiction book like Unforgettable which offers advice on how one can make something out of life, one of the things I do is to compare the life of the author to what he has written. If I know the author, I do a scan in my mind to find out how what is portrayed in the book relates to what I know about him or her. Otherwise, I google them.
Recently, I found a viral joke on Facebook about a young man who had written a book about how to become insanely rich and he was looking for money to publish it. These are exactly the kind of authors I try to avoid. I hold self-help and motivational authors to very high standards. Fiction writers can get away with some things but, in my opinion, non-fiction authors must be the personification of the advice they offer in their books. If you write about integrity, leading a pristine life must be your hallmark. If your book is about morality, you must have a really long yardstick to measure your scruple. And if you write about being unforgettable, then you must ensure that that is exactly what you are.
Did Nesta Jojoe Erskine pass this test?
In writing the foreword to this book, Mo Issa recounts the first time he encountered the author. In his own words, “…this young man (referring to the author) was knowledgeable about his field and also passionate about teaching it to others. I made it a point to have lunch with Nesta after the workshop”.
That, I believe, is unforgettability exhibited there.
On February 15, 2017, my outfit (2EWEBOYS.COM) received a four-paragraph long email from Nesta. He was giving us feedback on the February 2017 edition of our monthly newsletter. He was full of admiration and gave us some editorial advice on some of the articles in there. Not so many people send us emails and for those who did, none was quite like Nesta’s. How could anyone forget that?
It is therefore clear that Unforgettable is not a mere collection of how-to-s but a reflection of the author’s life.
The book is a collection of stories – regular stories of regular people. Some, very familiar; others, new. However, these stories are told with a touch of panache – call it the Nesta touch. This is what makes this book a breezy read. It keeps you devouring the pages and yearning for more. Of a truth, I was disappointed when I found out I was but a chapter from finishing the book. “Is that all?” I asked myself.
Apart from the relevant stories and the rich manner in which they are told, the lessons the author gleans from these experiences awestrike you when you read the book. For me, it made me question my intelligence briefly. How come I have never thought of these things? How come I never thought of things this way? These were some of the questions that filled my mind.
According to American writer, editor, literary critic and teacher, William Knowlton Zinsser, four basic premises of writing are; clarity, brevity, simplicity and humanity. This thought of Zinsser pretty much sums up everything Unforgettable is about. The chapters are terse, the language simple, the structure easy to read and you will not be the same person (apologies to charismatic churches) after reading this book.
For me, the book addresses two themes; finding the meaning of life and living a life of purpose. Some of the topics it speaks to include dealing with fear, living a life of conviction and avoiding some mistakes in life. Unforgettable is a subtle guide. I call it so because it does not give you 5 steps or 7 steps to doing or becoming something. However, at the end of every chapter, you have something to chew on. It will make you take a minute to access your life and make some adjustments on how to improve it so you can leave an indelible footprint in the sands of time.
It is difficult to fault Nesta or his book on anything. The only thing my four eyes caught which would require some looking at in future publications is inconsistencies in the alignment formats in some pages of the book. Other than that, I can confidently say anyone who has this book has a near perfect material in their hands. And yes, the author gets extra credits for adding an additional reading list to the book – all of these he quoted in the book. For a first publication, the author deserves a lot of commendation.
We walk this path of life once and for a limited time. What are we doing so that centuries after we are gone, a young chap would tell our stories to make a point to his generation about living lives of impact? Like Nesta has done with/for the likes of Beethoven, Mensa Otabil, Abebe Bikila and Nana Kwaku Bonsam, would someone find your life worthy of emulating for something worthwhile you have done or for living in a certain way? According to Nesta, Unforgettable is about making this “once and limited time” count. I agree with him. It is on this basis that I endorse this book and recommend it to all and sundry.
Unforgettable will be launched on Saturday, June 30, 2018 at the UDS Guest House in Accra. Find more details here