Safe arena(s): This is a community area where you can log in, ask questions, post comments, answer questions and enrich the experiences by sharing your “walking through fire” stories to encourage and inspire others. This section will be moderated and monitored and is designed to allow for interactions and exchanges amongst a practitioners facing similar


I was impressed by the use of various great analogies — Moses, story of a farmer, catching butterflies, Christmas and rural chicken as presents, etc. I was humbled by the courage that you exhibited in sharing your mistakes. The book comes out as “honest”. I could connect to who you are as a person – your soul. Your experiences as outlined in the book touch on the very important aspect of limited career guidance for the youth. Many youth will connect to this. The multi-disciplinary skill sets that you have developed over time are what our youth should be aiming for.

Nodumo Dhlamini,
Director, ICT Services and Knowledge Management.
The Association of African Universities, AAU
Accra, Ghana

The book is well-written and easy to understand. The author is trying to dress up policy issues towards self-employment with better supportive and motivating government measures. The ideas are driven from an innovation system platform approach: how opportunities for better living can emerge from improving the policy environment, and intensifying collaboration, helped along by participation of dynamic actors. Then, the fear can be overcome by creating wealth. This flash of brilliance expresses well the burning flame of hope for Kenyan prosperity.
The document discusses the innovation process through case studies and lessons learned in a poetic manner enjoyable to read with clear definition of concepts raised.

Amadou Abdoulaye Fall
Director of Research, Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA)
Saint-Louis, Senegal

Beautiful work and an incredible story. Today’s generation has the most knowledge right at their fingertips (YouTube tutorials, coding boot camps), but just needs the drive to pursue it. People need to take a first step. You can’t think, “Oh, how am I going to get all the way over there?” until you start moving. The theme of focusing on skills -- not on meeting some profile that you think others want – is very important. See Cal Newport’s book: So Good They Can’t Ignore You, – on the “skills mind set” over the “passion hypothesis.” It is worth underscoring that you don’t want to give up in the face of hardship -- if you had done that, you never would have earned a PhD and become involved in science/technology!

Christos Makridis
Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford University
Stanford, CA

You have written a very interesting book. You are courageous in writing for a general audience and doing so openly about the challenges in your life. You certainly have had lots of interesting experiences. When you are introducing the book at the beginning, you say that you will discuss entrepreneurship and innovation with lots of real world examples. What you don’t say is that you present examples from your own life. It actually comes as a pleasant surprise how autobiographical the book is.

Halla Thorsteinsdóttir
Director, Small Globe Inc.
Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto, Canada & Cinvestav, Mexico

I really like the personal nature of the book. I think you can even go a bit further in owning the impressions in the book. You are very diligent in citing others on some ideas when I think you can reasonably take credit. The level of detail is impressive; the use of idioms and metaphors to reinforce a point is useful. I am so impressed and think that there are a lot of important messages for young people in this book.

Claire Wingfield
Senior Product Development Policy Officer, PATH
Washington, DC

This book is a personal account of Maurice’s work and entrepreneurial encounters and offers valuable lessons for budding entrepreneurs and professionals. Maurice’s life story and experiences reflect journey of millions of youth in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. Insights into the web of family and professional relationships emphasize the importance of adopting a holistic view and triangulating information collected from multiple sources prior to venturing into a new business or profession. As highlighted in the book, one must build and utilize support networks while seeking guidance from a mentor who shares common values believes in your purpose, capacity but has the courage to disagree when needed. One cannot agree more when Maurice underscores the importance of spiritual strength in leading a successful and content life. The book narrates how finding purpose in life, both personal and professional, is a continuous process and often wanders through unknown pathways.

Manish Kumar
Carolina Population Center,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The autobiographical narrative of the book makes the reader instantly ‘bond’ with the author, particularly as the narrative talks about genuine hardships faced by many of us and does not sugar coat the realities of our lives. I found the author’s account of the difficulties he faced and his own fears and inadequacies to deal with issues in his early career quite honest. By not coming across as a ‘super-man’ the author allows others to relate to his experiences and therefore develop more trust in his advice. The most important contribution of the book is the marrying of the ‘technical’ with the ‘personal’, where theoretical concepts are presented, with the importance of the cultures and the society we come from. In doing this Maurice has been able to focus on a vital ingredient that is missing from most innovation/ entrepreneurship literature: that the culture we live in defines who we are and how we fail or succeed.

I highly recommend this book. It will resonate with both the young and those mid career, and its lessons are those of real life. They are immediately relatable, and a reality. They are not superficial; this is not another self-help book. It starts with a promise to open up the ‘black-box’ and by the end it does succeed.


Masuma Farooki
Resources Policy Consultant, SNL Metals and Mining Group
S&P Global Market Intelligence
London, United Kingdom