Book review of SPARK by Azim Jamal

SPARK is a story of transformation; it is also a story of understanding what success really means.

SPARK by Azim Jamal — Front cover
Front Cover of SPARK by Azim Jamal
  • Title: SPARK — Journey from Success to Significance
  • Author: Azim Jamal
  • Published in India by: JAICO Books
  • Price: INR 399
  • ISBN: 978-93-93559-09-8

Reimagining success

Travel can be transformative in ways that we can’t fathom. SPARK is a story of one such transformation. It is also a story of understanding what success really means, beyond the classical definition that involves money, fame, power, and possessions. It’s a smooth story of a typical corporate predator named Steve Harmon—brutally competitive, self-centered and intensely driven.

A senior executive at one of Canada’s top management consulting firms, Steve believes that being ruthless is par for the course in a world where everyone is out to get everyone else. Naturally his worldview, which is shaped by popular culture, makes him think of his coworkers as his rivals who must be trampled at any cost.

As a professional, Steve is capable, tenacious, and focused. He puts in a lot of effort to stay on top his game. He also enjoys a rather luxurious lifestyle. Despite all the trappings of the so-called successful life he still feels discontented because there is always more to accomplish. Right now, he is eyeing a larger home, a fancier vehicle, or a membership to that exclusive club reserved only for the crème de la crème of the society.

A journey of epiphanies

Steve, who is awaiting the announcement of his promotion, that he feels he has earned through his hard work and competence, has no clue that his life is about to turn upside-down in the next couple of days during which he finds himself traveling to Dharamsala, a small hill-station in India.

On the way to his destination, he has extremely rough experiences that leave him penniless, hopeless, and filled with immense frustration. But over the course of the rest of his journey, he meets some incredible people with whom he probably would’ve never come in contact, had he not been in such dire straits. As he interacts with these people, he finds himself questioning his core values, beliefs and priorities.

Helping you connect the dots

SPARK is structured to deliver a lesson at every phase of Steve’s transformative journey. At the end of each chapter, Azim Jamal shares personal experiences and anecdotes as well as relevant quotations from thought leaders which help you connect the dots in your own journey. There is also a list of questions to ask yourself — these help to assess what kind of course correction you need to make in your life. Given that we are surrounded by conventional notions of success, the real-life examples and the questions can help you get in touch with your hidden dimensions.

The author seems to have borrowed aspects of the story from his own life experiences, which prompted a transformation in his worldview a number of years ago, driving him to get off the hamster wheel and pursue a life of purpose. I suppose the idea behind the unique structure of the book is to precipitate the same kind of transformation in the reader that helped Azim Jamal become the renowned author, lecturer, and mentor that he is today.

It could ignite a spark of transformation in you

SPARK by Azim Jamal is a self-improvement book disguised as a novel and therefore you may have to grant some concessions, especially in the way the story is weaved. Obviously, it can’t be considered as a work of literary excellence — and I am sure that is not the author’s intent either. Be that as it may, it doesn’t take away from the powerful and thought-provoking ideas delivered in a unique manner. It’s not preachy like most self-help books. Instead, the author shares the relevant insights using the protagonist’s inner dialogue as the medium.

Without divulging any more, I’d like to conclude by saying: whether you are a rookie or a seasoned businessman, a serial entrepreneur or a CXO, if you’re seeking to go beyond the conventional meaning of success, SPARK provides a lot of food for thought; it could even trigger a process of significant transformation in your life.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri has spent the last two decades learning, teaching and writing about wellbeing and mindful living. He has contributed over 1500 articles for several newspapers and magazines including The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Statesman, Mid-Day, Bombay Times, Femina, and more. He is a counseling therapist and the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed best-selling book on self-transformation. An award-winning editor, Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


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