The self-development market is estimated to touch $13.2 billion by 2022, with a major chunk of the share dominated by books, including global successes like The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. The driving force behind the industry are millennials, who are likely to spend more than twice on self-development as compared to Baby Boomers, according to research.
While millennials make up 64 percent of Pakistan’s population, as of yet, Pakistanis are mainly consumers of this market and not necessarily contributors – but that’s set to change with the release of ‘Dare To Be You’ – penned by Shahzad Malik and published by Stalwart Publishing.
The author, 33 year old Shahzad Malik, has a strong business background: belonging to the Master Group, Malik has been handling the family business as the Director while also serving as the Managing Director of Master Wind Energy Ltd. ‘Dare To Be You’ is Malik’s debut as an author, chronicling his journey of overcoming self-doubt and centring his core values.
While Malik is now well established in the business world, in his book he states that wasn’t always the case; as a teenager Malik struggled with finding purpose and direction, a topic he delves into, writing:
“Why am I here?” I often found myself wondering, “In a sea of 7.6 billion people, what is it that makes me unique? What is it that sets me apart?”
At a little more than 100 pages, ‘Dare To Be You’ is short and candid, with references ranging from the Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’, the entrepreneurial journey of Steve Jobs to more current and pop-culture centric references like Star Wars and Harry Potter. From Sadaf Noor Malik’s bold yet minimalistic cover design to Malik’s informal and open writing style, the book touches on topics including fear, acceptance and passion – a concise recipe for reaching ‘your true potential,’ as Malik puts it.
The book’s release comes at a time when Pakistan is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, taking a toll on not only the health sector and the economy but also Pakistan’s youth – whose education has been considerably disrupted, forcing them to stay home with little to do. Mental Health has been a significant concern during the pandemic and Malik hopes ‘Dare To Be You’ will bring more awareness to the issue, especially in a cultural setting where mental health issues are considered taboo.
On sharing how he himself got into self-development as a young adult, Malik shares, “I was a very spoilt and privileged kid growing up, I found myself stuck in a loop of constant bad decisions; it came to a point where I wanted to break free from all of it. So I made a huge change in my life, I made a list of individuals that I aspired to. I started reading their autobiographies, from Steve Jobs to Warren Buffet to Jack Welsh and researching the commonalities in their life decisions.”
‘Dare To Be You’ also serves as inspiration to up and coming writers in Pakistan looking to debut their work; while it’s true that most Pakistani authors who have cemented a name for themselves in the literary world often hold dual citizenships and gain more acclaim in the West, the trend of local literary festivals is promising. In an interview with ProperGaanda, Malik said, “It was a long process of five years with many starts and stops; there was a lot of self-reflection and at times it felt very drawn out but it was also very fulfilling” while discussing his writing and publishing journey.
‘To accept ourselves as we are, is a courageous act. To be able to look at ourselves and be kind to ourselves, to see ourselves for who we truly are and to be okay with it, is nothing short of being bold.’
– Chapter 7: Self-Belief
The paperback version of ‘Dare To Be You’ retails at PKR 495 and is available online as well as at bookstores including Ferozsons and Liberty Books (along with their online stories). For a more luxe experience, readers can order the Collector’s Box Edition (priced at PKR 3,000) which comes with an exclusive letter from the author, a “Colish” candle, the Dare to Be You Mirror, a bookmark and the paperback edition of the book.
Official website: https://daretobeyou.pk