Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has commended the candour, courage and confidence displayed by Chief Keith Richards in his latest book, “Never Quite the Insider: a Nigerian Memoir”.
Soyinka who reviewed the book at its public presentation at the Terra Kulture Arena, in Lagos on Thursday, October 17th, 2019 described the book as a “Memoir of a Ghetto Blaster”, adding that the book remains a big insight on profiling the psychology of corporate Nigeria.
“Nothing surprises me in the book, but what surprises me is candour and courage of the author, in putting together what look like a manual for both expatriates and locals, on how to navigate the testy waters of managing business,” Soyinka told an appreciative audience made of business, media and literary/arts community.
Kadaria Ahmed, Nigerian journalist, media entrepreneur, and television host who anchored the programme, maintained that the book is a thriller as the author gave a frank, unprecedented, look into corporate Nigeria and the world of expatriates.
In his remarks, the author affirmed that the 287page book “explains a little of my coming here, my love affairs with Nigeria”, and management practice in corporate Nigeria.
“So many people have told me over a glass of something that I should document some of the ‘strange but true’ stories that have become my familiarity and the uniqueness of my experience with Nigeria. Gradually, these have morphed into the hybrid that is “Never quite an Insider” he said.
The author also insisted that twenty years of running multiple businesses in Nigeria qualified him to write an instructive memoir and believed he has the insights that have value.
“To some extent this book then is a hybrid. It is part a ‘business’ book in that it describes how I ran three specific businesses and encountered a set of managerial and commercial challenges.
“Many of these would be recognisable to managers anywhere in the world but others would only be familiar to those operating in places usually described as ‘the developing world’, including Nigeria,” he said.
The book has also been described by many commentators as partly a memoir, and a ‘travelogue’ as it depicts a view of Nigeria from the position of a sightseer.
Richards’ career has spanned over thirty years of involvement in developing markets, especially Africa. A former Managing Director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, he had also been Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc and of International Equitable Association, IEA.
From 2005 to 2007, Richard wrote a weekly column for the Nigerian BusinessDay newspaper called “Outsider Inside”. The columns were a mixture of business, social comment, humour and inevitably, politics.
The author, a member of the Order of British Empire, OBE, also served on the Boards of several industry groups, some of which include The Nigerian Economic Summit Group, The Advisory Panel of the Business Day Newspaper (where he has been a columnist) and the Development Board of Pan African University/ Lagos Business School.