THE READERS’ HUB BOOK REVIEW ON QUARTER SHARE by NATHAN LOWELL

Reviewed By: Dr Mukhtar A Danmallam, Faisal Mudi Kurfi, Bashir Bala

The first of the six-book Trader’s Tales in the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series, Quarter Share is a source of inspiration in many spheres of life: business/entrepreneurship, education, personal development, leadership, mentorship, collaboration/teamwork, and many more.

The sci-fi novel is about a well brought up and looked after boy, Ishmael, who suddenly lost everything – his mother and caregiver, the opportunity for university education, and even the estate he should have inherited from his mother. He had to live alone and take charge of his life in a planet that does not tolerate parasitism.

He bravely overcame his predicament and astutely took charge of his life by taking the initiative to get a job as a mess deck attendant. His companion and trainer, a young man named Pip; is a small fellow who left another freighter where was mocked and bullied. Pip is from a trading family and uses his family skills to enhance his meager wages by trading goods.

Using hard work, and his own innate talents; Ish, combine his efforts with Pip to make a few trades, which ultimately made a significant impact on other crewmates and ship officers.

Some lessons that can be derived from the book include:

  • Overcoming Grief and Unfortunate Situations: Young Ishmael did not dwell forever in grief and hopelessness over his predicament. The challenge to find employment (which was almost impossible for him) or leave the planet spurred him to face and manage his ordeal.
  • Importance of Having a Skill: Ishmael made a very good first impression with his coffee-making skill, which he learned from his mother. That endeared him to his bosses and the crew and opened doors of opportunities and goodwill for him. Do not underestimate any skill. Learn something and be the best at it.
  • Preparation Is Key: Ish does not leave anything to chance. He prepares well ahead for every task. When he was looking for a job to get off-planet, he prepared well for the interview. He got some coaching and read the company’s handbook. He got the job.
  • Mentorship: Ish understands the important role mentors play in one’s journey to success. Hence, he always looked for a guide in his different endeavours. In his primary job of cooking, his boss Cookie was there for him. In his academic pursuits, he found Sandy, the bookish; and his colleague Pip, the trade guru, put through trading.
  • Leadership: The book is full of many sterling leadership qualities. Cookie trains and motivates his subordinates to prepare the best meal. He also understands their abilities and uniqueness and pushes them to aim at higher qualifications and ratings. He acknowledged that Ish is too good to stay at Quarter Share, even at the risk of losing his hardworking and reliable staff.

He also appreciates and gives feedback to his staff. His words to Ish “You showed pride in a job well done and addressed the problems systematically. When you know the solution, you acted. When you did not, you sought for help. Your contributions have made the ship a better place”.

Furthermore, the management for the ship encourages and challenges the crew, even lowly staff, to come up with innovative ideas that make their work easier and life better for everyone. It is a huge motivation to know that your boss trusts your abilities and judgement.  

  • Everyone’s Got Talent: It just needs to be identified and nurtured. Pip was initially misunderstood to be a little dull. However, with some support and understanding of his uniqueness, he was found to be ingenious with trade and very smart as he finally passed the exams that he failed many times when the exam format was changed to oral and practical.
  • Taking Pride In One’s Job: The secret to a happy and successful carrier is to love and enjoy what you do and do it very well. Cookie said, “As for cooking, it is my life and I love it. My pleasure comes from creating the best meals I can and making life more pleasant for the crew”.
  • Work/Business Ethics: We need to have guiding principles and values that we stand by at all times in our work, business, and life in general. Cookie regularly tells his staff “We run a restaurant, gentlemen. The crew doesn’t have other choices, but we owe them our best all the same”. What more in a world full of competitions?!
  • Diversification: While Ish was confused about the speciality to pursue, he worked to qualify for all the four main specialities in the ship. Moreover, he is already an expert cook. He planned to have many choices at his disposal and never be irrelevant in the ship.

In life, it is good to have a diverse skill set but master at least one. Learn a bit of many things, and learn a lot of one thing

Dr. M.A Danmallam
  • Networking: Your network is your net worth. You need to know people that matter across different backgrounds, and the relevant people should know you. Connections will unlock doors of opportunities for you.

Criticisms

One of the criticisms of the book is its lack of conflict. Everything seems perfect. No evil plots. But, that might just be what we need now. Some distractions from today’s gloomy and chaotic world. Almost all-breaking news is heartbreaking. We need something too positive to balance this gloomy picture.

The near-perfect world devoid of conflicts depicted in the book may perhaps inspire some sanity and positivity in us, and make our real-world better.

Best Quote

“I was amazed frankly. What had started with the innocent concept of let’s rent a booth had become a paramilitary operation complete with schedule supply…”

Culled from Quarter Share (page 217, paragraph 2)

The above quote from the book depicts a perfect scenario in which their business grew exponentially from a humble beginning and benefitted the whole crew in the end.

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