Writing from a prison bunk, Richard Allen shares his experiences on the streets and behind bars in his new book, in order to “help others navigate the narrow path to success.”
At only 21 years old, Allen was facing prison time “for armed robbery, carjacking, and felony firearm.” Rather than focusing on the negatives, Allen decided that his time in prison “would be used advantageously…reading a vast array of books and [becoming] serious about [his] spiritual state of being.” After 11 years, he was released and used his acquired knowledge to establish a thriving clothing line: 4Given Citysin.
In this brief “cautionary tale,” Allen chronicles how financial success distracted him by “pulling [him] in different directions at the same time” and how one night of poor judgment landed him back in prison. He warns readers “to ‘take heed,’ to pay attention and be aware of…the subtle compromises you make that’re not conducive to your forward progression.” He encourages a close relationship with God, humility, and realizing that “if you have fallen, it’s not over!”
Allen’s story is followed by a “Reflection Section” in which readers are presented bite-sized quotes from the text along with thought-provoking questions and lined space for readers to write their responses. An Appendix provides a seven-point “to-do list” for success.
Allen’s life has imbued him with an interesting perspective, but unfortunately, the book is more like a pamphlet than book. The main content, which concerns his life story, only spans 16 pages of double-spaced type. The rest of the book comprises his questions and lined space for readers to write their thoughts.
This leaves readers wishing there was more to chew on by the end. Still, Rich in Purpose, Poor in Pride could be an inspiring–albeit extremely brief— read for anyone facing prison time, transitioning from prison, or looking to trade negative circumstances for a path to future success.