Book Review and Blog Tour: Spark by Azim Jamal
Azim Jamal will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Enter the giveaway below.
In a world vigorously chasing classic ideals of success, find your spark and become significant. Your journey starts here. Meet Steve, a hotshot lawyer fighting to climb the corporate ladder in this inspiring fable. His life transforms seemingly overnight as he is sent to India for a task he considers pointless. But things quickly fall apart. Steve, forced to reconsider his path, realizes that the curveball life has thrown at him is an opportunity to find his true purpose. This spiritual odyssey is about to transform him beyond his wildest dreams. A powerful lesson follows each chapter, making up the SPARK that transforms Steve's life: Selflessness, Purpose, Attraction, Resilience and Knowing. This SPARK is hidden within you too. It may be dormant now, but awakening to it will catapult you from the "Present You" to the "Best You." It's time to light up your SPARK today.
“What are you missing in your life?”
I’ve put that question to successful leaders all over the world. Not surprisingly, I often hear similar answers: purpose, fulfillment, happiness, balance and the like. What I’ve found is that many of us resign ourselves to vigorously chasing classic ideals of success without realizing that it is, in fact, “significance” that we seek. The truth is, no matter your age, position or status, connecting your daily functions with authentic intentions and values is imperative. Otherwise, we are simply hamsters on a wheel—covering miles and miles in distance, yet never truly moving forward towards our desired destinations. Sure, there is some physical benefit from such rooted motion. But over time, it has a negative effect on matters of the heart and mind, creating a domino effect that has ongoing ramifications for our own lives and society at large.
The subtitle of this book, “Journey from Success to Significance,” was borne from my own expeditions and explorations, all of which helped me form a steadfast belief: that we are all destined, by our very nature, to be explorers— pioneers who intrinsically understand that it is the journey, and not the destination, that matters. It is the twists and turns of life that guide our principles. What I wish for you to discover is that a life of significance is not some unattainable, pie-in-the-sky dream. Rather, it is a genuine pursuit that begins with a simple acknowledgment and appreciation of what already lies within you: Natural traits fuelled by a SPARK!
I enjoyed this book. I love nonfiction. However, this book weaves in fiction with nonfiction. The author alternates between nonfiction and a fictional story that helps illustrate the author's points about SPARK. The story is about Steve. Steve is a lawyer obsessed with promotions, wealth, and status because that is the world he knows. After a traumatic event during a business trip to India, Steve is forever transformed through the power of humility, kindness, and simplicity. The characters in Steve's story are wonderful. They are simple, yet incredibly wise, and instead of getting annoyed with Steve's race for wealth and status, they're patient and understanding with him.
The principles of SPARK are similar to ones that I've read scattered across different books and philosophies but still extremely valuable. I've taught the concept of Spark from the Search Institute in my Introduction to Psychology courses. While the meaning of SPARK is different in this book, they share a fundamental similarity: spark involves purpose. I agree with the concept about process over product. Personally, I don't use the word failure and don't refer to my lived experiences that didn't "turn out" the way I hoped as failures because I still learned a great deal from them. The process leads to learning and growth.
I don't think the excerpt or blurb give the book justice. I'd recommend reading this book. It's a short easy read but full of uplifting ideas that make readers think about life. The author includes reflection questions to help readers explore these concepts further so that the reader can actively engage with this book. If you want a book that helps you contemplate life, this is the one for you.
I received this book as a free review copy and am leaving this review voluntarily.
What do you want your readers to know about you?
When I was young, I wasn’t clever academically. I wasn’t fond of science courses like Physics and Chemistry. This reduced the scope of me pursuing higher studies beyond high school. But, on the flip side, I was a good athlete and participated in a lot of team sports where I was able to grow my leadership skills. I also loved to volunteer and devoted as much time as I possibly could to my community. Having these extracurricular activities helped me find a college seat where I could pursue an accounting career. I did very well in this field. I eventually received three designations - ACCA, CPA and CFP. My accounting career took off and I worked my way up to owning two firms of my own.
Yet twenty five years ago, despite the success, I gave it all up to follow my calling. Although I was a good accountant, it wasn’t my true love. I didn’t know it at the time, but I found my real gift when I turned my attention to speaking, coaching and writing.
I share this story because it took one important change, when I was 18, to catapult my life in the right direction. As soon as I committed to meditating everyday, it changed me and, as a result, I was calmer and much more peaceful, and disciplined. I can truly say that it was, as is, the secret to my success. It got me through the pressures in my pursuit for higher education, and has subsequently kept me balanced in my accounting career, and as an author, speaker and coach. I continue to find valuable inspiration from it even today.
I hope my story is a note to all those who may still be finding their calling or for parents whose children may be like I used to be. It all doesn’t hinge on necessarily being a clever student, It often is simply about finding your natural talent and/or innate gift. There is no time limitation for finding your purpose as long as there is a burning desire to always pursue it. But when you find it, and commit to it, it's like a rocket launcher that allows you to soar.
What’s something you would like your readers to take away from this book?
The book is part story, part self help. This was intentional because I wanted to make it engaging for all, from those who have found success to those seeking it. The first part of each chapter is the fable and the second is the self help portion which speaks to the concepts covered in the story, as well as some self help tips readers can take away.
In regards to some of the key takeaways from the book, I believe the main takeaway is that any pursuit for outward material success in and of itself can never be complete, and there’s always something deeper we all need in order to tranquilly complete the circle. And this missing piece is what I refer to as significance. The book will allow people to connect and reflect on what it is they want to do in their success journey; how they want to approach obtaining or maintaining it, and what they want it to look and feel like when they arrive.
I believe the book will ignite a unique inner spark that will guide a life of significance. A life of significance that helps both individual evolution, as well as a collective outlook to inspire others to shine their light.
For the past 25 years, I have been fortunate to work with successful leaders in the corporate world and I have learned that while most, if not all, are successful outwardly they still struggle to find purpose, fulfillment, inner happiness, and balance. This made me realize that it is not just success we are looking for—it is Significance! Success is personal; you can have wealth, fame, titles, and power, but unless you are making a genuine impact on others, something will always be missing. That’s what I mean by significance— it means that I am successful but I strive to create impact and make others successful too.
The main protagonist of this book, Steve Harmon, not only resembles a mix of people I have worked with, but also somewhat mirrors my own journey, which I also share in my epilogue.
What is the most enjoyable part of writing for you?
I enjoy the whole process, but what I like most is it allows me to revisit and reassess my experiences. It affords me the opportunity to experiment with theories and concepts from which I then create tangible thoughts to help my readers advance to a better place - a more purposeful life. This period of contemplation and consideration is deeply satisfying and valuable in my journey of self-discovery and growth, as well as in my aim to make an impact by helping others.
What inspires you in life?
Life inspires me! The good, bad, indifferent, beautiful, and all in between. Every day I wake up to endless possibilities, ideas, and energy to live my best self because life is the greatest teacher of all. This opportunity to experience life in its infinite scope fills me with reverence and inspires me to live with a deep sense of purpose, happiness, and significance.
How do you define success as a writer?
The ability to articulate your truth to the world and create an understanding to help people pursue their true path. This type of success goes beyond matter and touches the spirit, which is exactly my message in this book - seek Significance, not Success!
Azim Jamal is one of the finest inspirational life-altering personalities with a global following. He is the CEO and founder of Corporate Sufi Worldwide, whose mission is to inspire individuals and corporations to unleash the power within and find harmony between Business, Balance and Beyond.
Author Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Azim-Jamal/author/B001S03N14
Azim Jamal will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Thanks to Goddess Fish Promotions for organizing this tour and for all the work you do to support authors.
Follow the full tour:
March 9: The Avid Reader
March 16: Literary Gold
March 16: Long and Short Reviews
March 23: Sandra's Book Club
March 30: Fabulous and Brunette
April 6: All the Ups and Downs
April 13: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
April 13: Uplifting Reads
April 20: Carey PW
April 27: Gina Rae Mitchell