Title: The 7 Secrets in the Conqueror’s Mind (Learn Them or Get Cremated)
Author: Tony Agbamu
Publisher: Blue Partner
Reviewer: Musa Jibril
From the opening sentence, the reader has the kernel of the book: “In Life, one needs to capture, conquer and consolidate to get success; otherwise one will be cremated.” This is how the author introduces the core of his concept of “Three Steps to Life.”
Success is not an esoteric subject matter. It is a subject that is exhaustively treated by theologians, theoreticians, historians and mystics. What’s more, success is a popular pursuit of modern times. Yet it is one of the most elusive goals to humans, the Holy Grail that attracts an endless flock from the business circle to Harvard.
So what is new from the author? Without attempting to reinvent the wheel, Agbamu offers refreshing insights with his postulation of the three Cs. This is his conception: CAPTURING is the first step towards achieving what an individual desires; but if plans are not made to move the process towards CONQUERING, capturing eventually become useless; likewise, failure to CONSOLIDATE, render conquering efforts futile, leaving the individual worse off.
The 7 Secrets in the Conqueror’s Mind pivots on examples that readers can relate to. The reality of ‘capturing without conquering’ is beautifully illustrated with the anecdote of Antonio Conte, the Italian football manager, who took English football by the storm by winning the Premier League title in his first year with Chelsea Football Club, but suffered a catastrophe the next season, when he failed to replicate the feat and ended the season with his club in chaos and his sudden sack. Conte’s flaws––blind to the need to upgrade; a confrontational attitude that alienated him from his team and hubris ––illustrate the malaise of a multitude of people who failed to reach their full potential.
There is also a pertinent analogy in the story of Nokia, the Nordic colossus of the phone industry. Nokia that once charmed (capture) global phone users with its cutting-edge Symbian Operating System missed the opportunity to move ahead when it ignored the emerging android system. It eventually got left behind, upstaged by Steve Job’s Apple and its iPhones.
Morsi (and his misadventure with Muslim Brotherhood) is cited “to show what happens when capturing is incomplete and change applied too fast or too soon.” Others examples include Liberia’s Samuel Doe, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and Lagos’ former governor Akinwunmi Ambode fall into this category of those who failed to complete the success process. The author does not mince his words when he says “failure to consolidate will lead to castration and cremation.” He spotlights some exemplars of consolidated success, such as China’s Chairman Mao, Apple and Coca-Cola, and the United States of America, once a colony state, now a global hegemon.
For those still searching for the open sesame to life’s success, the book echoes with unforgettable lessons.
One: “Luck, timing and destiny play huge roles if the person, country or company wants to move successfully from the process of capturing to the stage of achieving conquering.” Two: “The process of capturing and conquering requires the ability not to blink first or make a compromise in a difficult situation.”
Three: “Not all individuals can conquer.” Four:––this is one of the most compelling lessons––beware what you capture, for every desire has consequences. The author rehashes the story of Kelvin Carter to bolster this point. Carter, the celebrated New York Times photographer, who shot the award-winning photo of a vulture waiting for a Sudanese girl to die during the 1993 famine, cared only for his award-winning picture and not about the girl and when his morality was questioned by the society, committed suicide.
The story of Lance Armstrong also resonates. The American cyclist with seven Tour de France titles captured the minds of the world and brought cycling to the upper rungs of sport, but he ended up in bad light, as a cheat, caught and castrated.
What makes the book a riveting read: its germane examples, its pace and tone. The tone sometimes shifts from the avuncular nuances of Confucius to blunt, punchy tenor, and sometimes, the voice is lifting, “teacher’s voice” of Norman Vincent Peale in The Power of Positive Thinking.
The 7 Secrets… is a personal development scripture. The 14-chapter, 207-page book is rich in anecdotes, replete with history, and saturated with nuggets of wisdom; its simplicity, plus clarity of expression leaves an echo in the reader’s mind. It is a philosophical book of how to take on life; its richness, its broad application makes it the right literature for everyday living in politics, business, military, diplomacy, football and family, in every endeavour of life.