On Thursday May 2, 2019 (the day after Liverpool lost to Barcelona in Leg 1 of the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League semi-final), I reviewed the book Synergy and Commonality: The Key to Success by Evans Kwesi Mensah during the launch at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT. I share an abridged version of my review.
Evans Mensah (left) pose with Terry Mante after the launch event
Tonight, I am pleased with the opportunity to present this review of Synergy and Commonality: The Key to Success, a book written by Mr. Evans Kwesi Mensah. I salute the chairman Uncle Ebo Whyte and everyone else gathered here.
When I first laid hands on the book, a rendition of Deuteronomy 32:30 impressed upon me strongly, “One will chase a thousand and two ten thousand.” In this book, the author gives a veritable blueprint for accomplishing what the scripture says.
Content, format & style
In 212 pages, organized into 35 chapters and an incisive appendix, Mr. Mensah employs time-tested principles, didactic anecdotes, case studies, illustrations and wise counsel that, when studied, understood and applied, will definitely empower the reader to lead a fulfilling life.
Synergy and Commonality is about identifying the things that make us and others unique and leveraging them for a life of impact and significance. It is also about understanding principles and values of life that are applicable to each one of us, no matter who we are, how old we are, which part of the world we live in, our gender, political party, whether you support Liverpool or Barcelona.
My review will focus on two broad ideas that are conveyed in the book.
In the opening chapter – a chapter about “Character” – the author captures a statement he saw on an electronic board in the United States that resonated with him. It resonates with me too. The statement reads, “Character is how you treat people who can’t do anything for you.”
In a very profound way, this statement sets the standard for true humility, respect and love for others. If we cannot treat strangers or lowly-ranked people with respect, then we really don’t have what it takes to build authentic relationships and meaningful lives. He references the story of Biblical Syrian military general Naaman who was humble and respectful enough to receive advice from his maidservant regarding his ailment of leprosy – which at the time rendered those infected as social outcasts.
When the general adhered to the recommendation of his servant, he got healed eventually. “Who would have ever thought that the solution to his problem was in the mouth of his maidservant?” This is a question Evans asks. And he goes on to share more light, “Sometimes the solutions to our problems are trapped in the mouths of people whom we might deem ‘not so important’ or people in today’s age who cannot easily be found on any search engine.” The ability to engage with people – people high and low – respectfully and tactfully could be the bridge between our problems and solutions, our present reality and our future expectation.
The book is written in an upfront manner, making it an easy-read. It is well-researched, indeed it took more than eight years of research to get it to this level. It shares insights about many notable personalities including Tiger Woods, whose comeback the book predicts on page 37. I wonder if that would earn him the title of a prophet.
It is a very comprehensive book, a book that should not just be read and archived but one that should be read and kept on the shelf as a constant reference for life’s journey.
To Evans Mensah, I say “Congratulations.”