If you think book launch is all about the author smiling to the bank, moneymaking isn’t every author’s fetish. Aderonke Onadeko’s idea of book launch is bringing glamour and fun to book reading and, above all, creating an avenue for intellectual give and take. But, then, a book has to be taken home. The more the copies, the better, even.
It was a rainy Sunday afternoon, but the crème of the Lagos society, friends of the author and book lovers converged on Rele Gallery at Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, for the launch of Aderonke Onadeko’s book, To My Younger Self.
The title of this book sounds like a work of fiction or biography, but it is none of the above. To My Younger Self is a collection of inspiring stories and letters by Onadeko from 24 outstanding individuals in Nigeria, sharing lessons learnt in their career, family and business journeys.
The event began with a video clip of the author on what inspired the book, after which a select group of readers, mostly accomplished women, read excerpts from the book to the audience. The first to read was Mrs Felicia Gbadamosi. She described it as a “thought provoking book, short and sweet”, replete with uncommon stories.
The second reader, Mrs Aisha Ahmed, commended the author for publishing the book, saying, “This is a big deal, because a lot of people who will pick the book will be glad to read it.” She said it was not just meant to inspire young people but adults as well.
Kemi Segun, another reader, was delighted that the author was able to think out of the box in writing the book; while Mrs Foluke Abdulrasak, who had known the author for 30 years, said she had a knack for doing whatever she does well, and wasn’t surprised that she came out with such a rich exciting offering.
Mr Gbenga Oyebode gave a brief inspirational talk. According to him, “The author’s strongest attribute has been reinventing herself over the last couple of years. If you do what you do well, people will take notice of you, and when they take notice of us, we tend to succeed beyond imagination.” The reading continued with Bunmi Lawson and Dr Ibilola Amao.
The hall was lit up as an interactive session with the author ensued, anchored by Chinwe Egwim. It provided an opportunity for the author to explain her target audience, etcetera, “This book should be in the hands of every young person still in school or in business.”
Asked why the book came about now, she began with an analogy, “I have been trying to reinvent myself. I am like a Coca Coca bottle: same taste, different bottle designs.” Initially, she was trying to write about her experience in job in private and public sectors, but decided eventually to let other people tell their own stories. “People have mentored me, and I have to pay back by mentoring others,” she added.
Shedding more light on the contents of the book, she said, “To My Younger Self features 24 authentic journeys of people who have had very rich experiences. In their letters, they shared the things they wished they had known; things they wished someone had told them; things they had learnt themselves; mistakes they had made and how they overcame the challenges. I’m hoping that this book will help young people, entrepreneurs and people transiting in their careers to gain clarity by learning from the experience of others to save time.”
To My Younger Self contains letters from Mrs Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank on Nigeria; Mrs Nike Ogunlesi, Founder of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble; Mrs Betty Irabor, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Genevieve Magazine; Mrs Ndidi Nwuneli, Founder of LEAP Africa; Mr John Obaro, CEO of Systemspecs; Mr Kunle Elebute, Country Managing Partner of KPMG; Mr Akin Akinfenwa, CEO Forte Oil and many others.
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“The reason why this book is important is because we want to get it into the hands of 10,000 young people before the end of the summer and I want this book to mentor and guide them. I want people who read this book to understand that there is a need for a strategic, informed and intentional way to grow themselves and their businesses and to plan their lives and careers,” said the author, a principal consultant at DRNL Consult Limited, UK and Delt-R Company Limited, Nigeria.