2022 was an insane ride. I won a few journalism awards, participated in a six-month journalism fellowship, travelled to six countries (five for the first time), and did terrific work as a journalist. Amid all this, I’m glad I was able to keep on learning.
As I have done in the past five years (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021), I put together a list of some of the most helpful content I came across during the year. I hope you find a thing or two that’s helpful. This list is a stripped-down version of a monthly newsletter on the highlights of my months and the most helpful/interesting things I come across every month.
Keeping this list helps me reflect on what I came across during the year and how it helped me, whilst also making it easier for me to revisit it when I need to.
? Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive – Marc Brackett
“Until the 1980s, most psychologists viewed emotions as extraneous noise, useless static. Our feelings slow us down and get in the way of achieving our goals. We’ve all heard the message: Get over it. Stop focusing on yourself (as though such a thing were possible!). Don’t be so sensitive. Time to move on.”
An excellent book on how to understand and regulate your emotions. I learnt so much from this book, but one thing that stood out is my realizing I didn’t know the difference between Jealousy and Envy until I read this book. This a reminder that by wrongly describing emotions, we’re starting off on the wrong foot.
?️ Life’s Work: An Interview with Jerry Seinfeld – Harvard Business Review
Can you teach someone to be funny?
Nope. You can teach someone aspects of making it in the comedy profession, but you can’t teach someone to be funny. I didn’t realize how genetic it was until I saw my daughter—I couldn’t believe how funny she was. I didn’t teach her to be that way, and I know my dad was funny, so now I see that there’s a huge genetic component. You just pop out with this thing.
? Tesla’s African expansion is imminent but is it reasonable to drive one in Lagos?
“In a regular car’s engine, you have about 200 moving parts, so if you take this out because it doesn’t exist in a Tesla, that’s 200 fewer things that can break. When you look at your automatic transmission, that’s another 800 fewer things that can break. So you’ve reduced your problems by like 1,000,” Ismail said.
Elon musk didn’t retweet or comment but it’s still one of my favourite articles. It stretched me to learn more about cars.
A beautiful documentary on the Brazilian Footballer Neymar’s life and sporting empire. Fun fact: About 250 employees are responsible for managing Neymar’s image and career.
+ WWII in Color: Road to Victory: I love history, for the first time I heard an explanation of the United States’ decision to detonate two nuclear weapons over Japanese cities (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) that made sense.
? ”I knew I was depressed, but I refused to accept it’ Toyin Abraham sits #WithChude
I enjoyed watching this interview because when celebrities open up to share stories of their dark hours, it reminds us that they’re humans. There’s also another episode with Jimi Agbaje [paywall] that I enjoyed watching.
+ Talent, Guts and Success ft Bovi. I also enjoyed watching this interview.
? Lessons from my first year as a journalist
About a year ago I made a career change from Accounting to Journalism. As I like to say, I moved from obsessing over numbers to obsessing over narratives. Why? Among many reasons, it was an opportunity to learn about an aspect of life I wasn’t too familiar with: storytelling.
+ Learning Curve 2021: Some of the most helpful books, articles, podcasts, and videos I came across. As usual, here’s the 2021 list.
? The Right Story: The Secret to Spreading Your Ideas – Bernadette Jiwa
“Stories that are personal and emotionally compelling engage more of the brain, and thus are better remembered, than simply stating a set of facts.”
Every book by Bernadette Jiwa is a hit. After reading her book, I decided to experiment with a few new storytelling ideas with the story of Saudi Arabia—it has taken me forever to do this tho.
? Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity: MacLeod, Hugh – Hugh MacLeod
“You don’t know if your idea is any good the moment it’s created. Neither does anyone else.”
Picked up this book after seeing it on Seth Godin’s recommendation list. A short easy-to-read book packed with thought-provoking ideas.
The American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson once remarked:
“In the minds of geniuses, we find—once more—our own neglected thoughts.
”In other words, geniuses don’t have thoughts that are in the end so very different from our own; they have simply had the confidence to take them more seriously.
This article resonated well with me because I’ve always been an advocate of not just always consuming content but also looking within.
? Meet the 19-year-old Nigerian building his own blockchain empire
“The salary was ₦70,000. When I got it, nobody could talk to me. I was the biggest boy I knew. My parents couldn’t believe you could get a job during the pandemic when companies were laying people off. Though the salary isn’t enough reason to not study medicine, they finally saw what I had seen since 2015.”
I enjoyed reading this article by a colleague.
? Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union
This documentary tells the story of Barack Obama from his early days till the end of his presidency. I enjoyed it because it shows the sacrifices he had to make, how intentional he was about his life and the complexities of politics.
Quincy Jones is the guy who produced Michael Jackson’s thriller and the ‘We are the World’ Song. His career spans 70 years in the entertainment industry with a record of 80 Grammy Award nominations, 28 Grammys, and a Grammy Legend Award in 1992. This documentary looks back at his life. One of my favourite parts from the documentary was a statement he made when he was reflecting on his third divorce:
I realized from the time I was a little boy to that moment, I was always running…always trying to fill up that black hole in my soul.
I ran because there was nothing behind me to hold me up.
I ran because I thought that was all there was to do.
I thought to stay in one place meant to die. All I could think of was my kids, how my success had been at their expense in so many ways.
There is a lot you don’t know about Kanye West. Netflix’s “jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy,” tells the story of Kanye’s life and legacy over 21 years. I enjoyed watching this. Reminds me of the importance of documenting your experiences.
? What the Dog saw and other adventures – Malcolm Gladwell
A compilation of 19 articles by Malcolm Gladwell that were originally published in The New Yorker.
“The trick to finding ideas is to convince yourself that everyone and everything has a story to tell. I say trick but what I mean is challenge, because it’s a very hard thing to do. Our instinct as humans, after all, is to assume that most things are not interesting. We flip through the channels on the television and reject ten before settling on one. We go to a bookstore and look at twenty novels before we pick the one we want. We filter and rank and judge. We have to. There’s so much out there. But if you want to be a writer, you have to fight that instinct every day. Shampoo doesn’t seem interesting? Well, dammit, it must be, and if it isn’t, I have to believe that it will ultimately lead me to something that is.”
? Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human and How to Tell Them Better – Will Storr
Recommended by Morgan Housel, it’s quite a long and insightful read. It takes a scientific approach towards exploring what makes stories an important medium for conveying ideas.
“We experience our day-to-day lives in story mode. The brain creates a world for us to live in and populates it with allies and villains. It turns the chaos and bleakness of reality into a simple, hopeful tale, and at the centre it places its star – wonderful, precious me – who it sets on a series of goals that become the plots of our lives. Story is what the brain does.”
? The untold story of how ThriveAgric survived a turbulent 2020
It took me seven months from when I had my first interview till when the story was published.
American serial entrepreneur Elon Musk once described the experience of running a startup as being similar to the act of chewing glass and staring into the abyss. “After a while, you stop staring, but the glass chewing never ends,” Musk said. ThriveAgric’s experience validates this description.
? How to excel in tech without learning to code
…Although we hear a lot about how we’re in the golden age of software engineering — nobody can hire developers fast enough — an underappreciated reality is that inside startups and tech companies, most roles aren’t technical. Every organization employs marketers, salespeople, recruiters, and executives whose job descriptions don’t involve any meaningful knowledge of computer science or even basic HTML, but whose professional lives and workflows are dominated by software nonetheless.
? This video of dogs running is delightful to watch.
+ A useful reminder that all the recent conversation about Gen Z and their working style isn’t peculiar to this generation. It sorta comes up every few years.
“We didn’t know how to celebrate heroes, except when they won.”
This documentary takes you on an emotional journey to Nigeria’s first appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
?: I’m excited about the launch of the How We Feel App (only IOS for now). I’ve been using it to keep track of my emotions and regulate them. It’s such a beautiful (I love the design) and useful app.
? No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention – Erin Meyer and Reed Hastings
This book has a lot of thought-provoking ideas.
Netflix is a very unconventional company. It has no vacation policy and no expense policy. They have a high bar for transparency, encourage their employees to interview for other jobs and come back to share salary offers so they can match them. In this book, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings talks about the culture that values people over processes, emphasized innovation over efficiency and had few controls.
? Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg Mckeown
“Many capable people are kept from getting to the next level of contribution because they can’t let go of the belief that everything is important.”
Less is better is a popular saying that’s attributed to minimalists. In this book, Greg Mckeown reminds people to focus on what matters.
? What happens after you sign an online petition? Do they work?
This article was inspired by a conversation with someone who works at Change.org, it helped me better understand how petitions work.
? Nothing could slow inDriver’s rise from Siberian startup to global Uber competitor. Then Russia invaded Ukraine
Over the last decade, inDriver has expanded into countries as disparate as Brazil, Botswana, and Indonesia. It has ramped up its global expansion in the past few years and is now available in 42 countries, with its official headquarters in California. According to Data.ai, it was the world’s second most frequently downloaded ride-hailing app after Uber in 2021–2022.
An Interesting origin story of inDriver. When I first heard of the app, I thought it was one of those Uber copycats but after reading the article my opinion changed.
It was obvious that Nollywood pushed itself and stretched its boundaries for this movie. I mostly enjoyed watching it.
? Minus Social: Minus is a finite social network where you get 100 posts—for life. A really interesting project.
? Here’s the funniest Uber driver profile I’ve seen.
? When Heaven Invades Earth – Bill Johnson
“It is abnormal for a Christian not to have an appetite for the impossible. It has been written into our spiritual DNA to hunger for the impossibilities around us to bow at the name of Jesus.”
This was a refreshing re-read.
? A recap of my one week in Paris
Over the course of the 45-minute ride, I had a light-hearted conversation with the driver who lives in Paris but is from Algeria. His English wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough for him to dish out some words of advice on why I should get married soon.
? BADAMASI (Portrait of a General)
Badamasi tells the story of Babangida from his origins in the village of Wushishi in Northern Nigeria to his joining the army and time as a Nigerian military head of state. It also portrays significant events in Babangida’s life including the period of the Nigerian civil war where Babangida sustains injuries in an attempt to rescue a colleague. The subsequent military coups and annulment of the June 1993 presidential elections were also portrayed.
This documentary goes behind the scenes as civil lawyer Ben Crump moves from one case to another seeking to raise the value of the Black life. Crump has a long track record of defending the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other blacks who’ve suffered from racism and unlawful killing.
Crump challenges America to come to terms with what it owes his clients.
? I Built Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!
American YouTube creator, Mr Beast keeps pushing the edge of what’s possible and I love it.
? This video of a flexible Asian girl blew my mind.
? Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to connect to them
“Many young adults who formerly attended a Christian church feel that churches are not safe places to wrestle with doubts about the beliefs, teachings, or practices of Christianity.”
Although the book was written based on US-focused sample size, many things in it resonated.
? Tobi Amusan: The Audacity Of Faith
Besides these, not many know that she had to secure a loan of $50,000 to prepare for this competition that has now shot her to world fame.
This article chronicles the journey of Tobi Amusan, the current African, Commonwealth and World Champion in the 100m hurdles as well as the record holder in the three competitions.
+ Podcasting in Africa is on the rise. Why is it not profitable yet?
Compared to traditional radio which requires operating licenses and videos which demand more technical expertise, podcasts arguably have a lower barrier to entry. You only need to have ideas you wish to share and the right equipment—anyone can start a podcast.
As is often my custom, I wrote a piece on podcasting in Africa and surprisingly well-received. It was the kind of article I wrote because I was curious about what I’ll find.
? Shifting from Star Performer to Star Manager
It turns out it’s not so easy to manage ultra-smart high achievers — especially when you’re one of them. As a superstar in your previous jobs, you met every goal, every time. You didn’t let anything get in your way — you just did it. While you had decent relationships with teammates, you didn’t really need them. Now you do, because you can’t even achieve your own goals without them, much less the targets set by management.
? Art & Copy – A Film about Advertising and Its History
I’d watch this again.
? Kids will always say the truth
? Damn good advice for people with Talent – George Lois
A collection of advice by George Lois the hard-selling, charismatic advertising man and designer who fashioned some of the most daring magazine images of the 1960s and popularized such catchphrases and brand names as “I Want My MTV” and “Lean Cuisine.”
? It’s not all about me: The top ten techniques for building quick rapport with Anyone – Robin K. Dreeke
A useful guide for communicating with people. I found a few new gems inside.
?What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing – Oprah Winfrey and Dr Bruce Perry
Over the years, I’ve found that seemingly senseless behaviour makes sense once you look at what is behind it.
Everyone has gone through some traumatic event, which shapes our outlook on life. This book has increased my understanding of how trauma works and how it affects people.
? The Psychology of Money – Morgan Housel
The premise of this book is that doing well with money has a little to do with how smart you are and a lot to do with how you behave.
? Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World – David Epstein
A vital re-read and a reminder that new narratives are liberating.
? Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself
Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.
No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.
Adriano did not disappear into the favelas. He just went home.
? What Really Happened to Alexandre Pato
I never understood the importance of communicating well and building relationships. I was told that only the results on the pitch matter. This is simply not true.
? Jason Fried on Why He Doesn’t Do Planning or Politics at Work
We’re not looking to compete, we’re not looking to outspend, we’re not looking to dominate. The market is enormous, and there’s plenty of room for lots and lots of companies to do well. So for us, it’s about: what do we need to do to build the kind of business we want to build.
A beautiful humorous limited series.
? This video of a young football fan chanting passionately in the stadium is beautiful to watch.
? Honesty is easy just tell the truth but honesty doesn’t have to be in the moment. Simon Sinek says in this short video.
? Funny video of this child and prince Harry.