Positive Quote For Today

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."— Maya Angelou

The Habit of Reading

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With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from a website called Quote Master. All rights reserved worldwide.

On November or December last year as I was heading home during my evening exercises, I eavesdropped on the conversations of two teenage girls who were walking ahead of me. One of the girls was boasting to the other of how she hadn't read a book since schools were closed in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She claimed with an air of pride that she hadn't even touched the Bible. As I listened to her speak, I thought to myself how foolish it was of her to disdain books.

The girl reminded me of what someone once told us in 2006 when I was a student at Starehe Institute: that some people are like wheelbarrows - they can never do anything unless pushed. That teen girl was acting like a wheelbarrow; without being pushed by school to read, she couldn't do it herself.

I later resolved that if I ever get lucky to have children and overhear them boasting of how they never read, I will give them a good spanking - the kind of spanking the book of Proverbs exhorts parents to administer to errant children. But I want to believe I will succeed in inculcating in my children the same love for reading that my father instilled in me.

My father did instill in me a love for reading. When I was growing up in the '90s, he bought us plenty of books, magazines and newspapers which he encouraged us to read. He even offered us private tuition at home, mostly in writing and in mathematics. For my father, math was his forte.

I vividly recall the day in 1994 when I picked a Swahili textbook to read; I was six years old at the time and in Standard One. And wow! When I discovered that I could read the Swahili textbook, I felt a quiver of excitement run through me. And after that discovery that I could read, I don't think I ever stopped reading for the rest of my time in primary school.

It was as a result of reading a lot that I passed the 2001 national primary school exams and got into Starehe Boys' Centre, a prestigious institution in Nairobi where I had my high school as well as college education. At Starehe, I became preoccupied with reading books, mostly to pass the exams that we frequently took at school.

When I was preparing to sit for the SAT exams in 2006 during my time in Starehe Institute, I was encouraged to read widely and wisely by an SAT revision textbook that said reading broadly is the only means of enriching our vocabularies. So I read a variety of books not only in the subjects we were learning in the institute but also in other fields such as literature, motivation and entrepreneurship.

Then when I was a first year student at JKUAT in 2007, I was inspired to read even more by somebody at the university who was promoting a reading culture among students by pinning posters that encouraged us to read. On one such poster was a picture of Barack Obama with a quote on it that said, "If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads." I loved that poster so much that I I unpinned it and took it to my room.

Those encouragements to read that I received in Starehe Institute and at JKUAT kept pulling me back to books every time I was discouraged from reading such as when I was forcefully admitted to hospital in 2008 after I went astray at JKUAT. They have also made me gravitate back to books in the times within the last eleven years when I became too bored to read.

Reading has now grown into a passion for me. These days, I don't read to pass exams; I read to be entertained, to be inspired and to be enriched with knowledge. The knowledge I have gained has enabled me to overcome my dark past. And I tend to believe it will also unlock for me the doors of opportunities I need to live the life of my dreams.

Such is the passion for reading that I will inculcate in my children if I ever have some. And I will encourage my children to read not by force but by example. I will have them see me curl up with a good book in the evening instead of watching the telly or surfing the Net. By encouraging my children to read, I will prepare them not only to excel in school but also to make a lasting difference on this grand and magnificent planet.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on the habit of reading, you might also enjoy another one on "Books I'd Love to Read Again" which I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Book Review: "The Audacity of Hope"

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This is me in my den holding Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope. More about the book in the story below.

I finished reading Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope two days ago. And wow, what a delightful read it was! The book captured my attention in the first pages so much that I read to understand it, not to finish it. And I was disappointed to finish reading the book; disapponted because I wanted the pleasure of my reading to go on and on. Allow me to tell you more about the book and what I gleaned from it.

Obama penned The Audacity of Hope in 2006 when he was serving as a U.S. Senator from Illinois. He wrote the book elegantly and candidly, using lively words, in a way that was both lucid and refreshing.

He began the book by narrating how he conducted his first campaign when he ran for a political office in the '90s. It is somewhat inspiring to read his account of the campaign: how he would talk to people he met on the campaign trail and listen to what they had to say, whether they were friendly, indifferent or hostile. Some of the people would find Obama so nice that they would wonder why he was getting into such a nasty and dirty career as politics. But most of them appreciated his earnestness and youthful swagger that they elected him to the Illinois state legislature.

Then Obama narrated how he again ran for another political seat during the 2000 election cycle in the United States. He fared badly in the election and failed to clinch the seat. The setback was a rude awakening to him that things don't always work out the way we have planned them. But the setback didn't discourage Obama from following his passion for politics; it only made him wiser.

As the 2000s wore on, Obama prepared and ran for a bigger political seat: a senatorial seat to represent Illinios. This time, he emerged victorious in the race, aided by the national spotlight he gained after delivering the keynote speech during the 2004 Democratic National Conventiom held in Boston. The keynote speech was in a word, eloquent.

While serving as a U.S. Senator, Obama conducted town hall meetings in Illinios to listen to the problems of his constituents. He wrote of how gratifying it was to see folks turn up for the meetings, sometimes in large numbers, to air their grievances. Those meetings gave Obama blinding insights on what was ailing America, such as the loss of high-skilled, high-wage jobs.

As a U.S. Senator, Obama also interacted with other leaders as well as captains of industries in the United States and in other parts of the world. I admire the way he travelled around the world, to such countries as Iraq, Ukraine and Russia, to get a glimpse of what was transpiring in other nations. Those travels added to his wealth of knowledge.

It is from that wealth of knowledge that Obama derived the ideas he postulated in The Audacity of Hope on how America could become a richer, smarter and safer nation. The book brought out Obama as a dedicated, knowledgeable and hard-working leader. He not only understood the present-day problems of his nation, he also possessed an in-depth knowledge of American history.

The book also portrayed Obama as a loving husband and a devoted father. He recounted in the book about the joys and challenges he faced in the early years of his marriage to Michelle. And he pointed out how he has tried to spare time from his busy schedule to be there for his daughters. It is from those times with his family that Obama derived some of his ideas on how America could help strengthen the families of its citizens.

Reading The Audacity of Hope has reminded me once again that America - the so-called land of freedom and opportunity - is not an utopia. The nation suffers from crime, racism, poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies and other social ills that bedevil developing countries like mine.

By the way, this wasn't the first time I have read The Audacity of Hope. Back in 2012 when I was running for a political seat here in Kenya, I read a PDF version of the book on my father's computer. And after reading the ebook, I felt inspired to conduct my campaign the way Obama did when he first vied for a political seat in the '90s. But you know what? Upon registering to be a candidate for the political seat, I found myself lacking the charisma and youthful energy that was characteristic of Obama.

If you are a leader or aspiring to be one, I highly recommend that you read Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope which, to the best of my knowledge, was the third book by a U.S. Senator to hit the best-seller list since John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage and Al Gore's Earth in the Balance. It sure is a delightful read.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on my book review of Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope, you might also enjoy another one I wrote some time back on "Lessons From Barack Obama". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Bible Quote

"Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do... Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand."

~Phillipians 4:4-7 (TLB)

About the Author

Name: Thuita J. Maina
Nationality: Kenyan
Lives in: Kiserian, Rift Valley, Kenya
Mission: To inspire the world to godly living, one person at a time.

Just For Laughs

There was this drunkard named Azoge who loved drinking at Josiah's Bar. On being told a certain Hon. Nanga was flying to America to be conferred a law degree so that he could be admitted to the bar, Azoge replied, "Why fly all the way to America to be admitted to the bar while you can get into Josiah's Bar any time?"

The 7 Deadly Sins

  1. Pride
  2. Envy
  3. Gluttony
  4. Lust
  5. Anger
  6. Greed
  7. Sloth

Author's Note

I am learning to treat life as a journey, not a destination. So I am trying to enjoy each day as I anticipate to fulfill my dreams especially meeting my soulmate and traveling abroad. Tomorrow may never be mine.

Fun Facts

  1. The fear of having no cell-phone service, running out of battery, or losing sight of your phone is called Nomophobia, reportedly affecting 66% of people.
  2. A single Google search needs more computing power than it took to send Apollo 11 to the moon. The Apollo computer was less equipped than a modern toaster.
  3. Besides being some of the biggest names in the tech industry, HP, Apple, Google and Microsoft share another commonality. They all started in garages.
~Extracted from Codingforums.com

Health Tip

So many of us take for granted the wonderful construction of the human body and the workings of its various parts. Some of us even expect it to function efficiently with less than the minimum care and attention. Learn the much you can about your body and how the care of it can help to give you that greatest blessing of all - good health.

Wonders of the Modern World

  1. The Simplon Tunnel
  2. The Sky-scrapers of New York
  3. The Boulder Dam of Colorado
  4. The Panama Canal
  5. The Golden Gate Bridge
  6. The Taj Mahal at Agra in India
  7. The North Sea Oil Drilling Rigs

Great Example for Politicians

"My life in politics was a joy. I loved campaigns and I loved governing. I always tried to keep things moving in the right direction, to give more people a chance to live their dreams, to lift people's spirits, and to bring them together. That's the way I kept score."

~Bill Clinton

Scientific Marvels

  1. Space travel
  2. Heart surgery
  3. Fibre-optics communication
  4. Concorde
  5. Computers & Radios
  6. Anesthetics
  7. The atom bomb

My Supreme Desire

Although I'd like to be rich and famous, my supreme desire is to be radiant: to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage and goodwill. I wish to live without hate, guilt, worry, jealousy, cynicism and envy. I wish to be honest, natural, confident, clean in mind and body - ready to say "I do not know" if it be so and to treat all men with kindness - to meet any loss, failure, criticism and rejection unabashed and unafraid.

Greatest American Presidents

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. George Washington
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4. Franklin Roosevelt
  5. Theodore Roosevelt
  6. Woodrow Wilson
  7. Andrew Jackson

Making Peace With the Past

"Dwell not on your past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."

~Eileen Caddy

Toughest Colleges to Get Into

  1. MIT
  2. Princeton
  3. Harvard
  4. Yale
  5. Stanford
  6. Brown
  7. Columbia

Why You Should Trust God

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities and pour out peace."

~Ezra Taft Benson

The 7 Greatest Scientists

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Isaac Newton
  3. Galileo Galilei
  4. Nikola Tesla
  5. Aristotle
  6. Archimedes
  7. Charles Darwin

You Matter

"Always be yourself. Never try to hide who you are. The only shame is to have shame. Always stand up for what you believe in. Always question what other people tell you. Never regret the past; it's a waste of time. There's a reason for everything. Every mistake, every moment of weakness, every terrible thing that has happened to you, grow from it. The only way you can ever get the respect of others is when you show them that you respect yourself and most importantly, do your thing and never apologize for being you."


The Most Industrialized Nations

  1. The United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Italy
  7. Canada

Keys to Success

"...in his effort to withstand temptation, to economize, to exercise thrift, to disregard the superficial for the real - the shadow for the substance; to be great yet small, in his effort to be patient in the laying of a firm foundation; to so grow in skill and knowledge that he shall place his services in demand by reason of his intrinsic and superior worth. This is the key that unlocks every door of opportunity, and all others fail."

~Booker T. Washington

The 7 Social Sins

  1. Politics without principle
  2. Wealth without work
  3. Pleasure without conscience
  4. Knowledge without character
  5. Commerce without morality
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Science without humanity

Cherish What You Love

"Cherish your visions, cherish your ideals, cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts - for out of them will grow all heavenly environment, of these if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built."~James Allen

The World's Largest Cities

  1. London in England
  2. New York in the United States
  3. Tokyo in Japan
  4. Berlin in Germany
  5. Chicago in the United States
  6. Shanghai in China
  7. Paris in France

Benefits of Optimism

"In terms of success, optimistic people out perform their pessimistic colleagues. Research shows that they are consistently promoted higher and make more money while working fewer hours than those who think pessimistically. Optimists also contribute more significantly to social progress. It is the optimists who start and run successful companies, who win elections and carry out reforms, and who make breakthroughs in the realms of science and technology."

~Pepe Minambo

The World's Greatest Lakes

  1. Caspian Sea in the Commonwealth of Independent States, C.I.S. (formerly U.S.S.R)
  2. Lake Superior in North America
  3. Victoria Nyanza in Central Africa
  4. Aral Sea in C.I.S.
  5. Lake Huron in North America
  6. Lake Michigan in North America

Demonstrating His Love

"Take your communication for instance - the way you address others. It ought to be with loving, gracious and edifying words. Never talk people down. Never use words that hurt and demean people. Communicate excellently with others without destroying their self-image or making them feel sorry for themselves. Talk to people in a way that they never forget the excellence of your words, the love and grace of Christ that you communicated. It's how God wants us to love."

~Dr. Chris Oyakhilome

World's Longest Rivers

  1. Missouri-Mississipi (U.S.)
  2. Amazon (Brazil)
  3. Nile (Egypt)
  4. Yangtse (China)
  5. Lena (Russia)
  6. Zaire (Central Africa)
  7. Niger (West Africa)