Sabally’s Magic Formula
A Book Review
By Foday Samateh

Title: Instant Success
─ The Ten Commandments of Personal Achievement and the Road to Enduring Riches. (pp. 74)
Author: Momodou Sabally
Price: $10

Sabally and I have spent rounds of unsparingly passionate, vivacious clash of views on the Philosopher Napoleon Hill. His last e-mail on the subject was a digital equivalent of an artillery fire targeted into my stronghold to incapacitate me into unconditional surrender. The unmistakable declaration of the self-proclaimed victor to his presumed poor vanquished was as admirable in its point-scoring calculation as in its polemical flourish: That he thoroughly studied Dr. Hill, while I merely read this deep thinker. I escaped the bombarding impact unscathed and un-intimidated. I am as persistent as he is not to call it quits until the indisputable winner takes his victim a gasping prisoner. However, I admit, unlike me, my most worthy adversary has produced a solid and sound evidence of his intellectual claim.
That evidence is Instant Success, his second book. The first is Janji Jollof: A Memoir on The Gambia’s First University Programme. In broad comparative terms, both works belong to the genre of human stride toward personal success. But they are different in subject-matter. Janji Jollof is a narrative of the author’s personal unflattering-to-rewarding experience in the pioneering university education in The Gambia under the auspices of St. Mary’s University, Canada. Instant Success, on the other hand, is a study, a research, a roadmap, a promissory philosophy made into a handbook about personal success and fulfillment in the journey of life for everyone. Notably, it is philosophy without its complexity. It is full of real people, their stories and state of mind, when they set sail at the harbor of ordinary moments to the shores of extraordinary achievements, which changed their lives for good, and in many cases, made the world a better place for million others as well. These eminent achievers include philosophers and thinkers besides Dr. Hill, writers, prophets, investors, inventors, entrepreneurs, sports icons, political leaders and other luminaries from a variety of walks of life.
The only qualification the author requires of any individual willing to follow his philosophy of personal success is that the individual’s interest in life must be more than waiting for mere hand-outs of chance and pay-outs of mediocrity. The individual must approach life with a real purpose by assigning himself a grand goal of his/her own choice, a piercing vision and burning desire, courage of self-discipline and conviction, will to succeed, and persistence to achieve that goal. If the success philosophy is adhered to properly as expounded in the book; the author bets that no obstacle will stand insurmountable in the way of outstanding achievement.
Yes, of course, it is a given that in Sabally’s writings, his family comes with the territory. The reader meets Ya-Boi (the endearing name for the persevering mother), who brought up five young orphans on her own with dignified stoicism, only to stand proudly at a five star hotel during the first in the nation convocation of university graduates and watch her last born deliver a masterpiece valedictory.  Then Muhammad, the first born of the author, reading an ageless children’s poem to his father (who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Economics at Georgia State University, Atlanta) over a long distance phone call to prove that he too is excelling in academic undertaking. Then the gratified father’s letter of advice to the son, whose poet-mother, Mariama Khan, is referenced to drive all the points of wisdom home through a couplet that is touching in style and penetrating in meaning. Oh, did I mention that the book is dedicated to Omar, his second son he calls his best friend?
Instant Success is appropriately jargon-free, since the audience is deliberately anyone, who will not settle for anything less than achieving his/her purpose in life. But, remarkably, the author is speaking to the reader one-on-one, as if he is revealing to his most favorite person in the world the deepest secret hiding in plain sight, but misguidedly searched about everywhere else by everyone else. The references are quite diverse and bibliography is long for this concise a content, bringing to the readership a rich collection of memorable axioms and motivational insights, as wide-ranging as from the daytime television queen Oprah Winfrey to Pope John Paul II to Shakespeare to Tiger Woods to Time Magazine. The words and actions of these great minds and outstanding achievers will surely inspire and empower anyone with self-confidence and positive mental attitude to achieve his/her purpose in life.
While I enjoy reading the many citations, the critic in my reviewer’s mind feels that the quotations are a bit over-abundant and therefore give the book an air of erudite superfluity: an artificial stream of consciousness. Understandably, the primary reason is to substantiate and underline the author’s claims with authoritative maxims. But it must not be left unsaid that his commentaries do suffice in many of these instances, as they are just as incisive and credible, if not more natural.

Posted on Sunday, December 24, 2006 (Archive on Sunday, December 31, 2006)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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