In his business book, Nigerian banking and insurance executive Bukki Dosunmu attempts to makes an allegory about corporate success using the metaphor of “the Big Bad Kahuna.” Unfortunately, this approach devolves into a confusing mix of quasi-mysticism, self-help jargon, and familiar warnings about the dangers of the corporate world.
At times, Dosunmu effectively uses imagery and humor, and the onset of the book does convey a sense of intrigue. With self-deprecating humor, Dosunmu tells us that “I don’t like quizzes and puzzles, because too many questions make my head giddy, but I can assure you that the Kahuna in this book is not an imaginary entity.” Unfortunately, the intrigue ends well before the Big Kahuna is revealed as a “personified moniker that is meant to mirror each of us, along with the various choices, emotions and experiences that contribute to making us who we are at any given phase of our lives.”
Before this revelation, we find a series of cryptically titled chapters such as “Hosts and Ghosts” and “Crumbling Cookies, which offer well-worn exhortations to self-discovery. We are told that “every situation packs consequences and a price that must be paid,” and that “there is no point in hugging the rear view mirror of my life.” The final chapters – where Dosunmu finally talks about the corporate world – are peppered with clichés of the “business is a jungle” genre. Included is a distasteful chapter on brown nosing, where Dosunmu uses a cruder term for the chapter name and urges us to set up a network of “AKs” (ass kissers).
All told, this is a disappointing read. Alas, by book’s end, readers will feel no closer to self-realization, or “mastering the art of corporate survival,” than when they started.