Outsider Inside is a book by a British national living and working in Nigeria, who gives his take on Nigerian social, political life and culture. Divided into nine sections, the book covers aspects of self-help and business practice; corporate government and financial crime; tourism and travel; international, and business, relations; culture; the unique lifestyle found in Lagos, Nigeria; politics; and other miscellanies.
A book to read if you want to see Nigeria from a foreign viewpoint, to understand Nigeria and what it means to be Nigerian in comparison to other (particularly foreign) cultures and nationalities.
Keith Richards, a foreigner who made Nigeria his second home, and even took a few traditional Nigerian chieftaincy titles, speaks about his adoptive home with a mixture of love and disappointment: he knows what is attractive about Nigeria, and the promise the country holds; yet he at the same time sees what stands in our way, one of which is the huge divide between Nigerians and their leaders.
Interestingly, however, the book does not contain the usual doom and gloom found in other works of this sort. On the contrary, it is decorated with humorous stories, and mostly flows in a conversational style that endears the reader to the work, so that at the very end you are left wondering why it ended. In some other parts, though, the writer finds it necessary to criticise several aspects of society – at one point, even his own homeland; and in others, he gives practical guidelines that may be beneficial to the reader, such as tips on winning over a potential employer – based on his experience as MD of Guinness at one point and that of Promisidor as at the time of writing.
All in all, it is a book that truly merits a read.
‘Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting’.
‘Outsider Inside offers a unique perspective on our Nigerian society and offers one of the more intelligent analyses of our culture and economy. Keith successfully demonstrates the idiosyncrasies and frustrations of our daily life, the pervasiveness of corruption in our society, while maintaining an optimistic and complimentary analysis of our people and our country… his book tells stories that all of us can relate to, whether we admit to it or not. … Keith’s book is absorbing, accurate, funny and unfortunately for me, depressing. Keith knows our country as well as we do, his perspective is in line with our own. I hope that when our political leaders read it, they will recognise the work that they need to do in order to ensure that [in the] future such books can record the progress our country is making, rather than being forced to commentate on the issues that we accept, but should forcefully object to.’
—Patrick Dele Cole, M.A PhD (Camb.)
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