Long Walk to Freedom
Hello wild reader!
I’ve always loved reading books, both technical and non technical. But one thing I constantly struggle with is keeping myself accountable to being consistent in my reading.
So… This is an attempt to keep myself accountable by continuously writing about the books I read! The goal is to write a short blog post about each book I read, highlighting what I learned from reading it and any insights I gained.
Why do I read books
For a few years now I have been fascinated with reading books, not because I enjoy the act of reading itself, but because when I read a book, I like to think of it as an hours long conversation with the author. But not just that, it’s an hours long conversation where the author will speak carefully about what matters most to them, and I just listen.
Books have shaped my perspectives on many topics, and in countless times exposed my lack of knowledge in various areas. I enjoy being wrong… because if I realize that I’m wrong, it means that I’m learning. In many cases (although there are also many exceptions) there is no wrong or right, just different perspectives and reading in-depth about the opposing perspective to my own almost always develops a sense of empathy towards it, if not changing my own perspective.
How do I read books
So the How for me is important, I don’t finish all the books I read, and I think that’s great! I typically stop reading a book once I ‘get’ the message. There are exceptions, those include biographies and books that are driven by history as I typically would want to capture the full history. Today’s review is one of those I had to read in full!
Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela
Alrighty so the first book I’m writing about is Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. I enjoy learning about great leaders. People who influenced others to make their environment a better place. Nelson Mandela was an easy choice, I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages and when I finally got to it, I was not disappointed.
Setting the tone for the rest of my posts about books, I will not be making a review, or summarizing the book.. I’ll just write about what I gained from it and where I was surprised.
Nelson Mandela and the ANC were fighters
I have obviously heard of Nelson Mandela long time in prison, but reading Nelson Mandela speak about it, gave me a whole new level of admiration for his and his party’s resolve. They had many opportunities to take the easy way out, but they never acknowledged apartheid’s authority on them. Nelson Mandela gave up watching his children grow up, he couldn’t attend his own Mother’s funeral, he watched helplessly as the National Party abused his wife, but he stood tall. I remember a quote from the book, where he said that the struggle (i.e the fight against white supremacy, apartheid and the national party) was his life, and that he had to give up his family for it. It’s inspiring to see how much he cared for the people, he gave up everything for them.
Nelson Mandela was a listener
Another indicator of Nelson Mandela’s greatness is how much of a listener he was. There were countless examples where he changed his mind on critical topics. He was stubborn, and there were times where he opted for the ask for forgiveness, not permission but it seemed to me that he always was willing to listen to the opposing argument. Nelson Mandela never gave up the struggles’ values, but he was able to enter into negotiations with the national party that put an end to apartheid’s rule over South Africa.
Nelson Mandela was a human
There were many times where I teared up hearing about his struggle. The first time he embraced his wife in over 21 years, when he heard about his Mother’s death and was unable to go to the funeral, when he finally stepped out of the prison, when his long-time partner and friend Oliver passed away, and many, many more. Nelson Mandela felt each pain deeply, and knowing that amplifies my respect for his resolve.
But not only that, Nelson Mandela made mistakes, he wasn’t perfect. Countless times he himself says that there is nothing special about him. He was human, but his passion for his people definitely makes him special.
There is a lot more to the book, and a lot more to Nelson Mandela. If I wrote down everything that went through my brain reading the book, this blog post won’t end.. So I’ll stop here.
I’ll end with my favorite Nelson Mandela quote from the book.