My very great thanks to Rox at The Book Publicist for sending me a copy of The Modern Shepherd by AlBaraa H. Taibah in return for an honest review.
The Modern Shepherd is available for purchase here.
The Modern Shepherd
“There is no prophet who has not tended sheep.” So goes a famous phrase in Islamic scripture, words that had long intrigued young MBA student AlBaraa Taibah. How does shepherding awaken one’s wisdom? Empower one’s leadership skills? Build one’s character? Why was shepherding the starting point for great leaders like Mohammed, Moses and Abraham? There must be a reason and lessons in shepherding to take away, he reasoned.
So AlBaraa made the decision to become a modern-day shepherd, to spend ten days alone with a herd of sheep in the Sahara Desert, attempting to learn what the scripture was talking about. Confronting the dangers of desert snakes, getting hopelessly lost in the dunes and nearly dying from dehydration, on the first day he asks himself, “Why didn’t I just take that leadership course back in Boston?”
What transpires is an adventure and a journey into consciousness that is as poetic and funny as it is profound. The Modern Shepherd is a journal of discovery and a leadership textbook unlike any other. Learn and laugh with AlBaraa as he acquires the secrets of being an effective leader from a stubborn flock of sheep.
My Review of The Modern Shepherd
Ten days tending sheep in the Nufuth Desert might be a life changing experience for AlBaraa H. Taibah.
A confession. I only agreed to review The Modern Shepherd because it’s quite a short book. A second confession. I thought The Modern Shepherd would be a sickly spiritual journey and my own lack of any religious belief would mean I didn’t enjoy it. I was foolish on both counts because this book is a highly engaging and entertaining account of one man’s experiences. I sat down intending to read a couple of pages to get a feel for the style and found myself drawn in and devouring the whole book in one sitting.
There were so many elements that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved AlBaraa H. Taibah’s self-deprecating style. There’s a diffidence and humility balanced with confidence and vitality that very much appealed to me. At one point when he was about to hurl a rock at a sheep I felt he represented the petty frustrations of all humanity in a simple act. I found the authorial voice vibrant and eloquent and the present tense account added to the immediacy of the events so that I could easily picture myself in the setting and actions. I thought the passages relating to AlBaraa H. Taibah’s leadership in school contrasted and complemented those parts set in the desert perfectly.
I really appreciated the lifestyle of a modern shepherd that AlBaraa H. Taibah presents. It made me grateful for my home comforts and taught me that possessions do not make me who I am. The need for patience (sheep can be recalcitrant and disdainful creatures!) and effort to achieve a sense of purpose is wonderfully conveyed without heavy handed preachiness. There’s real humour between the pages of The Modern Shepherd as well as some beautifully poetic language that I loved too. The quoted sayings at the start of each chapter were frequently very inspiring.
I was also extremely touched by the fact that part of the proceeds from the Modern Shepherd will go towards third world school development and felt that in The Modern Shepherd I had seen a true leader in AlBaraa H. Taibah as he is a man who walks the talk.
The Modern Shepherd was not what I expected. Part travelogue, part spiritual journey, part leadership manual, part biography it is a book that can be read and enjoyed on many levels. It enlightened and entertained me and I really recommend it.
About AlBaraa H. Taibah
AlBaraa H. Taibah has a degree in Architecture Engineering from King Kahad University in Saudi Arabia, and later gained a Masters in Education Leadership at Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. An influential communicator and innovative entrepreneur, AlBaraa is a TEDx speaker and author who believes in the importance of education for national growth. He is a successful education leader with 9+ years of experience in multi-national societies, educational institutions, non-profit organisations and entrepreneurial start-ups.
You can follow him on Twitter @albara2.