How to Become a Successful Black Man” by Hillary Drummond Simpson is a guide book that is filled with inspirational stories of successful black men who have succeeded in life, with hard work and guidance from one or both parents, and or a father-like figure or mentor. These men have succeeded against all odds, and have made their dreams into reality by believing in God and by striving to stay on the correct path, even if they became distracted or lost their way. In part one of her book, Hillary Drummond Simpson gives her readers shocking real life statistics on the black men in our society and explains how the majority of black men are in jail or in prison, and why young black males only want to be rappers and basketball or football players. She goes on to explore and analyze why so many of the young black men are incarcerated instead of being enrolled in college or a trade school. In the second part of her book, she gives the readers a look into the lives of very successful black men that the young black male can identify with as well as admire.
I enjoyed reading “How to Become a Successfully Black Man”. I feel that she gives her readers real insight on the plight of today’s young black male. But, she also gives readers hope and encouragement when looking into the lives of some of the world’s greatest, most successful black men. These are all men who are ordinary men who aren’t rap stars, or who are in the entertainment field, or who are major sport celebrities. In her interviews with the different successful black men who are featured in her book, there are stories that foster hope, and are filled with wonderful advice and wisdom for the young black man. And, the black men she has chosen to interview are all very intelligent, very accomplished and successful who have conquered their dreams and made them into reality. Each of the men gives a lot of advice on what a young black male needs to do in order to succeed in school, and in life. Each of them gives helpful information in what prerequisites are needed in or der to succeed in that specific profession. The really interesting and heartwarming stories are like a beacon of light and hope for black mothers, and for black women and men everywhere. I, being a black mother of a biracial young adult son, found this book to be interesting, insightful and full of wisdom. I hope that I can get my son to read this book, or at least hope to be able to share some of the author’s stories with him.
In “How To Become a Successful Black Man” Hillary Drummond Simpson begins her book right where I would, defining the word success. She is correct in stating that everyone has a different definition of success. Some would define success according to their career, their monetary value, or maybe their fame. Perhaps my definition of success is a bit abstract. I see success as achieving happiness in whatever you choose to do. For me success cannot be measured by how many degrees you have hanging on the wall or how many numbers are behind the dollar sign. I know wealthy people who were not happy just as I know some very happy people who are a long way from being wealthy.
Ms. Simpson recounts a conversation between herself and her son when he was seventeen. He was a junior in high school and told her he was not going to college. Having a son that rejects college can certainly make your hair turn gray. We are all individuals and what works for one may not work for another. Ms Simpson continues by sharing more of her son’s story. At this point she speaks of racism. The author and I do not live in the same area and I believe young black men do have a much tougher life in the area she lives in. Then she adds interesting statistics: “Boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to flunk or drop out of school;” “Boys are four to five times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);” and “Forty percent of African-American women between the ages of 18 and 24 attended college while only 25 percent of the men in that age group attended.” Too many of the young people today aspire to high fame positions, such as NFL players and Rap stars. I was very much interested in her opinions on playing Pro Sports. The young man should know his career will someday end and prepare for that event.
My favorite part of this book is: “Read, read, read! That is the name of the game. Reading opens up a world for you to enter; it improves your comprehension and concentration. It builds you into an intelligent man. It does not make you a nerd; it makes you smart and gives you options in life. Reading gives you the ultimate power.” With reading you can accomplish your greatest desire, whether it is to travel to another country, planet, or dimension, or go back in time or to the future. Perhaps your dream is to meet a famous person or experience an event. Through reading you can do all these and more. Ms Simpson introduces readers to a variety of famous black men who are considered successful: Ephren Taylor II, Dr. Stephen Appea, Richard B. Jefferson, Esq., Julani Ghana, and so on. The last section of the book is FAQ. In short, this book is well-written, well-organized and is a must read for parents of young men. I applaud Ms Simpson for shedding light on the plight of young men in our society.
How to Become a Successful Black Man” was written by a black woman who watched the struggles her black son encountered while growing up. Her educational background and her passion for finding positive role models for young black men inspired Hillary Drummond Simpson to write this book. In it, she cites statistics of the odds stacked up against black males, tells her own story, and provides stories of successful black male role models. Her concern was that most young black men aspire to careers in music, entertainment, the NFL, or the NBA and limit themselves to just those choices without seeing any other opportunities. She provides comprehensive interviews with successful black men in the fields of the Arts, healthcare, education, and business. Each role model talks about his current job, the prerequisite skills/traits, his own background, his natural gifts, what effect peer pressure had during his teen years, and his advice to the parents of young black men. Common to most of them were the need for a strong male role model or mentor, exposing them to different cultures and values, reading, pursuing an education, and exercising self-discipline.
Simpson addresses what role sports should have in a boy’s life and ends her book with the lessons she learned. For the parents, these lessons include: strong nurturing, combating negative self-image, and getting an education. For the boys, the lessons include learning from mistakes, reading, believing in yourself, controlling your anger, giving respect in order to receive it, listening more than you talk, being patient, and planning your life.