Title: Life Goes On Collation: Bouncing Back to Life After Adversity
AUTHOR: Tony Agbamu
Publisher: Blue Partner
REVIEWER: Musa Jibril
For many reasons, the Books of The Year (BOTY) list for 2021 should include Life Goes on Collation: Bouncing Back to Life After Adversity. Among its many merits, it is a book that addresses the pervasive mood in the world presently. Following the Covid-19 apocalypse that wreaked havoc on lives and livelihoods, denizens of the Global Village―individuals or collectives, companies or countries―are plunged into a nadir that leaves survivors steeped in desolation from East to West of the globe. With the arrival of a slew of vaccines, the world is washed over by a wave of optimism, hoping that it will soon spring free from the clutch of a novel coronavirus whose name sounds like a nomenclature from a sci-fi flick.
The big question is: Will everyone be able to move on with life? Knowing that life will never be the same again, will everyone be able to walk the path of recovery?
Enter this author with a message crafted with clarity: “In life, sometimes, men and women must fall…this book is set to point you towards a direction of recovery.” That about sums up the kernel of Life Goes On, the new book by motivational writer, Tony Agbamu.
The author opens his account with the opening of a vista on the dark side of life, the one that is hardly the stuff of odes or rhapsodies but is, nevertheless, lurking around the corner, hovering over every being like the Hanging Sword of Damocles. Tragedy. Failure. Setback. Adversity. The hell that is life, of which the author weaves a tapestry of telling examples: Nigerian immigrants in South Africa returning to their home country a destitute lot, after the horror of xenophobia; a woman whose husband and child fell to the scythe of the grim reaper right before her eyes in a swimming pool; men and women whose marriages hit the rocks despite their best efforts; a young man with bright future, whose life was snuffed by trigger-happy cops. Out of the first chapter, a jolting truth jumps at the reader, that no one is immune against the calamities of life.
That is not the main point. This is the crux: no matter what happens to you, you have to keep going. Go on living.
If you think you have been savaged by life, Agbamu urges you not to spend too much time wallowing in self-pity. “Tell me your ordeal and I’d tell you of someone who had suffered far worse,” he writes.
Craving readers understanding, he avows: “We need to give ourselves and others permission to grieve and we need to be patient when the process seems to be taking what we consider to be a long time.”
Still, grief is a quicksand. One can remain trapped in it for life. There are means of rescue to avail oneself of, he points out. One, the family―a support system, often underestimated “until you find yourself in situations”; two, religion (which, through the salve of faith, helps to soothe our mind and salvage it from the wrecks of crippling losses) and three, individual’s personality type―Sanguine, Choleric, Charismatic and Phlegmatic―that can be leveraged to swim rather than sink when life throws you overboard into the high seas of calamities. Like teaching genome editing with CRSP-9, Agbamu tutors how individuals can rewire their personality types to not only withstand adversity but to bounce back stronger when the storm subsides.
So what is the best foot forward for an individual after a setback, failure or rejection? This question inevitably pops up in the mind of the reader. Halfway into Life Goes On, Agbamu provides the answer: be gentle on thyself. He cautions against casting oneself into the purgatory of self-recrimination as this could become detrimental to the recovery process.
Life goes on, that old cliché, has broad application in various circumstances, but usually as a consolatory remark. To this, Agbamu adds depth and perspective, so much so that, after reading the book, when next you hear someone says “life goes on,” you are wont to add the addendum: “So, don’t give up!”
Life Goes On is a pathos-filled, pithy book, moderately philosophic, wholesomely pragmatic. The author’s verbal brio makes the pages read like a tête-à-tête, between the writer and the reader.
Agbamu is an old-timer to the motivational genre, having carved his niche with his previous book, The 7 Secrets in the Conqueror’s Mind. But, in Life Goes On, he raises the bar, presenting a book that is both timely and timeless in its theme and treatment.