|Written by Anam Bhadelia • March 2011|
|Written by Anam Bhadelia • March 2011|
Obsession' is a strong word with an even more powerful meaning. Due to the simple fact that it is used abundantly, one tends to forget the boundaries a human being can transcend when in the state of obsession. 'Driven' by Razi Imam with Hank Walshak, introduces us to the concept of 'Junoon' an Arabic/Persian expression used to describe a very powerful state of achievement motivated by obsession.
This book is a captivating autobiography about the author, Razi Imam's journey through life and his encounters and experiences that led to him achieving success. Through the narrative the author moves from Kuwait to Pakistan and then finally to America, where he currently resides. There is a strong diversity across these countries in terms of culture, hence a variety of audiences can relate to the narrative due to the diverse geographical landscape the novel spans over.
Driven begins with a description of the author's childhood in Kuwait. Imam's persevering attitude from the very beginning is inspirational, as fear of failure does not deter him from exploring new opportunities the way it deters most of us. Imam is not always successful in his endeavors and his failure allows a reader to connect with him as we all have experienced failure at some point in our lives. However the book teaches the reader to derive the positive from failure and not giving up as this is something we all should strive to achieve.
As is the case with any biography, the author proceeds to talk about his life in chronological order but then deviates to an instance in the future to discuss an encounter with two beings that seem to be paranormal and possess uncanny knowledge of junoon. Imam's encounter with these beings takes place over the span of a few days during which they teach him about junoon and its different phases. By narrating the conversation between him and the beings, Imam explains it in a way that holds the readers interest.
Imam uses various strategies in his writing to help the reader fully understand the feeling of junoon. One such strategy is coupling the descriptions of each stage with examples of famous people whose achievements best describe that stage. Real world examples of discoveries that have changed our lives, help translate the concept of junoon from something abstract into something we can relate to. Another strategy used by the author is introducing the element of mystery, which in this case are the beings he is conversing with, making it difficult for the reader to put the book away. By exploiting the curiosity of the human mind, Imam manages to discuss a concept that otherwise may not have been so engaging. While this tactic gets the reader through the book it also leaves the reader confused.
One way to interpret this encounter is in the metaphorical sense as the beings could be representative of the vast potential possessed by the human race. However, Imam never clarifies this, leaving their identity open to interpretation. Either Imam intends to be vague or he is indeed correct when he explains that the existence of these beings is a concept that defies the basic laws of physics and is something the human mind cannot grasp just yet. The lack of a clear explanation is disappointing.
Apart from this instance of ambiguity, the author uses clear language to narrate his story and break down the most complicated concepts such as quantum physics into simple ideas for the reader's understanding. The author does an impeccable job of developing the idea of junoon as the story progresses and linking it to his own life story enabling the reader to travel, learn and grow, with the author as the plot progresses.
Despite the ending, the book provides a positive insight of junoon with regard to reaching personal goals. One learns that success is not directly proportional to being good at everything and to achieve success one must maximize on existing strengths. The book leaves the reader thinking about what drives them and what they want from life. The drive to succeed comes from within and once a person discovers what they are passionate about, they can achieve the impossible. Humans have immense potential that they don't fully understand themselves and this book attempts to explain the difference we can make to the world if we were to unlock our greatest potential.
Title: Driven: A How-to Strategy for Unlocking Your