Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, was among guests that commended Chief Keith Richards at the recent presentation of his latest book, ‘Never Quite the Insider: a Nigerian Memoir’ at Terra Kulture Arena, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Soyinka, the book reviewer, described it as a “Memoir of a Ghetto Blaster”, adding that it remains a big insight on profiling the psychology of corporate Nigeria.
“Nothing surprises me in the book, but what surprises me is the candour and courage of the author, in putting together what looks like a manual for both expatriates and locals, on how to navigate the testy waters of managing a business,” Soyinka said.
Media entrepreneur, Kadaria Ahmed who anchored the programme, said that the book is a thriller because the author gave a frank, unprecedented look into corporate Nigeria and the world of expatriates.
Speaking, the author affirmed that the 287-page 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 20 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 of 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 was also 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 30y 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 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.