The Extraordinary Bravery of an Ordinary Man

This post does not at first sight have anything to do with marketing or business, but it does.

I am a good way through reading an inspiring book “An Ordinary Man” by Paul Rusesabagina.

This is the account of how one man, through his incredible bravery and doing what was right, saved 1268 people from certain death during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

The author recounts his childhood in a village on a hillside in Rwanda, how the lessons he learned from his father prepared him for rising to the challenge when his actions alone saved all those people.

When thousands of people were being hacked to death by mobs, Paul maintained an oasis of safety in the hotel he managed in Kigali the capital.

His only weapons were words, but he used them and his relationships with his network of contacts to provide a refuge.

Why has this book had such an impact on me? I travelled to Rwanda three times in the early 1990’s, the last visit was just after the start of the civil war that lead to the genocide. I saw at first hand the rising tension and building animosity between the two ethnic groups. The situation was deteriorating daily and I had great difficulty in getting out of the country, but that is another story.

Rwanda is a jewel of a country, near the equator, almost in the centre of Africa, fertile soils, breathtaking scenery and largely unspoilt by urban development.

Even if I had not spent most of my life in Africa, this book would still have had the same impact. It delivers three important lessons:

The power of words and language, so here is the connection with marketing, what are our primary “weapons” we use in our campaigns, letters, emails, – words.

The importance of networking, building, cultivating and improving relationships over a period of time.

Doing what is right, for us, for our customers, our families, friends our suppliers and whoever we come into contact with. Having the courage to do what is right without thinking of the personal risk.

Here was one man who took personal risks that could have been his death warrant, used his words and his contacts to save 1268 people, because it was the right thing to do.

This book is well worth reading, you can order it here from Amazon.

An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

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  1 comment for “The Extraordinary Bravery of an Ordinary Man

  1. June 18, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Hey, nice post, very well written. You should write more about this.

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