This debut self-help book encourages empathy, financial stability, and self-confidence.
Alimam, born in 1961, was raised in Sudan. In 1997, he moved to Denver, where he initially worked as an airport security screener and cabdriver. This book originated, he explains, after he got his MBA in accounting in 2004 and failed to find work in his field. “That situation led me to embark on a healing journey, as an attempt to protect myself against breakdown,” he writes. Through reading self-help books and mulling his own experiences, he progressed from depression to gratitude for the life he has. In 52 short thematic chapters—the work could easily lend itself to weekly devotional use—Alimam discusses what he’s learned, including understanding the value of forgiveness and relinquishing control to God, and how to develop proper self-love. The author and his family have experienced Islamophobia in America, yet he is determined not to take it personally but to forgive the slights, whether accidental or deliberate, as they often result from ignorance. “Compassion is the life line that connects all people,” he asserts, so it’s important to resist the urge to brand people and instead recognize that everyone contributes in different ways. The author affirms the eternal existence of the spirit, and though he’s coming from a Muslim point of view, his religious references—to Adam and Eve and to a story of the Prophet Muhammad’s that resembles that of the Samaritan woman—should resonate with readers of other faiths, too. Being prudent about possessions and money is a major theme that recurs in multiple chapters, with personal anecdotes reinforcing his lessons. The advice in Chapters 26 and 41 stands out: “Make Your Hay Earlier” (don’t wait until retirement to enjoy life) and “Don’t Preach Hate.” A section on defeating procrastination and perfectionism and another giving 10 tips for combating insecurity are additional highlights. But the book is let down by its awkward, non-colloquial phrasing (for example, “despoiling comfort zone”; “He may act in heat but cooler later”; “glutenous people”), subject–verb agreement issues (“when that money go away”; “Before it fly away and forever”), and typos (“planing” for planning; “honoring our gusts” for guests). This means that some would-be profound aphorisms fall flat.
While the writing quality remains uneven, this book deftly mixes autobiography and advice.