What I Learnt As A Youth: Tried, Tested and Timeless Wisdom for Life is a book by Choolwe M. Choolwe, who is also well known as Pastor Choolwe. This book is a reflection on his life as the title suggests. The book was written at a time that Choolwe crossed the line to no longer be considered a youth which is above 35 years old in Zambia. This is a loaded book with 35 chapters which I am guessing was deliberately done to match the reflections he gives over his past 35 years. He talks about his upbringing, family, education, career, ministry, and the life lessons he acquired along the way. In his words he says, "I am sure given a chance to meet me in person, many of you might want to ask me the question I have heard over and over again; "how did you achieve all you have achieved at such a young age?"" Choolwe gives us the answer in this book.
He uses the Bible as a reference point for many of his held beliefs, advice from people he has met and also life’s experience. The book does have wisdom that any youth and even those past, can utilise in their lives. As expected some of the lessons are what you would find in other books of its kind like- As A Man Thinketh by James Allen, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason, Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and others. The information isn't necessarily new just repackaged. The book serves as a remainder on how we can be motivated to make ourselves better and change the world around us.
For someone who is the founder and president of Gospel Envoys Church, which has 35 churches, a membership of over 5,000 within a space of eight years, Choolwe does possesses the clout to grab the attention of the reader. His achievements are no mean feat especially coupled with his academic qualifications and work experience. The book is written in short chapters in a simple style that makes it easy to understand the points he wants to put across. Because most of the examples are based on his life the material is relatable and not a distant figure on another continent.
What I Learnt As A Youth is a book with a wealth of information, but I do have a few issues with it. The chapters could have been arranged in a more coherent manner. By this, I mean that chapters talking about friends and family could have been grouped together and likewise, chapters to do with ministry grouped together. Instead, what is in the book is one chapter talks about family, the next money, followed by academics then returns to relationships in a choppy way. In an effort to have 35 chapters to signify 35 years, there is quite a bit of repetition and some chapters did not need to be chapters rather would have been fine as subheadings. Some of the chapters would have done well been combined, for instance, the chapters on laziness and leadership.
When you read this book, you cannot help but be inspired by what Choolwe achieved during his time as a youth. There is a reason why he is widely considered as one of the leading leaders in our country. He says, “When many of you remember my life as a youth, you will say what happened to your life through my ministry.” I believe many will say they were inspired.