Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Jungle Seminar: 7 Essential Lessons for Success (book review)

There's a bit of long gap - much longer than I expected - between the last post, even when I have tried to make it a habit of writing again.

Perhaps it is fitting then that this post would touch on a book that I've read recently: The Jungle Seminar by Boris von Smercek. It's a light read, that I managed to finish in one evening (with the odd nap thrown in between).

The full title would be The Jungle Seminar: 7 Essential Lessons for Success. Perhaps what one would not expect from the title (and the cover) is that the book actually follow through a seminar in the jungle (not unlike our own) in which the participants are animals - not some humans dressed as animals, as I'm tempted to guess from the cover (the moral of the story: don't (always) judge a book by its cover).

So it's sort of an allegory (my sister - the one who lend me this book, thank you - suggested a comparison to Animal Farm), with some motivational topic being thrown there. I can't say that I've read other kind of motivational written in this way, although I wouldn't exactly call it a novel approach: it's a different take than straight-to-the-point, but it's hardly something new. And as such, I'll approach the book from its narration and message:

For the story itself, it's quite linear: a person (in this case, an ant) who embark on a journey for self discovery and self improvement, where he meet people (again, in this case, animals) from different walk of life, and through the journey they together find their strength. Pretty straightforward there.

As for the motivational part, the motivator character, Minerva (an owl) facilitate her part well, getting most of the participant to bring out the points - their strength - without her really spelling out the points one by one. I suppose as one read through the chapters, when presented with the challenges and situation that brings out the strength of each participant, there are situations in which you could identify yourself clearly with them - and I suppose we could note our strength along with the flow of the story.

However, the book clearly mention '7 essential lessons'. I really was thinking more along the line of finding your own strength (as shown by the struggle of the main character, Anton, who tries to figure out what his strength is), but the way the chapters are arranged seems to be more of highlighting points which you should strengthen to gain success. And in his case, at the end of the story he does manage to incorporate several of the other values in his line of work.

I'd say what I like about the book the most is the character Anton - someone I could identify with, for not having much idea on what one's strength is, but is open to opportunity for self improvement. The straightforward storyline makes this a good read for you without having to go through sea of words as is in some of those motivational book - thus getting you lost in the plot. Perhaps my only complain is how some of the conversation seems rather unnatural - sometimes they appear heavily scripted for me. But, to get the point across in a concise manner, I suppose it can't be helped.

If you have a chance to pick this book up, I'd nudge you to do so. Not really groundbreaking in its fact, but it's a light reader, so you don't get lost through the points presented. And if it's self discovery and self improvement you're looking, this could serve as a good starting or side reading.

But of course, as with any other book, the success depends on the actions that you actually take - and this book manage to remind you just that.

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