Book Review: Robert Ian Bonnick’s Soul Survivor is an inspiring rags-to-riches tale

Robert Ian Bonnick is a warrior. This successful man has had a career that most people could only dream of. But, what some of us may not know is that he had to overcome extreme adversity and challenges in order to get there. In his debut book, Soul Survivor, he describes his own personal rags-to-riches tale and instructs readers with a how-to guide so that they too may realise their own success.

Bonnick is known for his modelling, having worked alongside, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. He also danced with Womack & Womack and M People. Before that he played professional basketball and also found time to be a successful club promoter. Many people would be happy achieving one of these things, but to achieve that much is nothing short of incredible. Bonnick takes this all in his stride and doesn’t take things too seriously. It is obvious from reading his book that he is a determined man who has put in the hard work in order to realise his dreams.

This book is Bonnick’s debut one, but you could argue that this probably should have been split up into two separate books, because the end result sees the message diluted and the presentation too uneven to make a real difference. Bonnick’s fans may be left unsatisfied after reading this book, because they may want to know more details about Bonnick’s life. And these elements presumably had to be left out in order to incorporate the advice he offers instead.

For the record, Bonnick was abandoned by his parents when he was a toddler. He spent his childhood living in two children’s homes. He says he learned a lot from the kids he lived with. In some cases these were positive lessons while the others were cautionary tales. Some of the children from Bonnick’s childhood wound up dead or in prison, so it’s incredible that Bonnick was able to rise above this and achieve so much.

The other part to this volume is where Bonnick ventures into self-help territory. He describes the five techniques he employs in order to realise success. These include: discovering a purpose or dream; accepting where you are; visualising where you want to be; overcoming mental roadblocks like self-sabotage; and accepting that time can be outside of your control. It is obvious that Bonnick is quite a humble man. He describes how he serves others without expecting anything in return, as well as remembering where he has come from and those who have helped him along the way. A lot of what Bonnick preaches is positive psychology and thus, is hardly anything new.

Bonnick’s story is a colourful one about how a shy Jamaican-English boy became an amazing success story. Bonnick’s writing is animated, hopeful and vibrant to read. While some of these ideas aren’t new, this should resonate with various readers because some of Bonnick’s story is universal. Soul Survivor is an intriguing and powerful look at how people can triumph over circumstance. Amen.


Robert Ian Bonnick’s Soul Survivor is available now through New Holland Publishers

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