"CULTIVATING MINDS TO OWN THYSELF" by Jameel Davis (Book Review)

If you could provide a young person in your community, a family member, or a peer with a handbook for life management and self-empowerment, I believe that you would be pleased by picking up "Cultivating Minds to Own Thyself" by Cleveland author Jameel Davis.

It's hard to review the book without acknowledging the individual behind the words. And to acknowledge the writer is to confirm that he lives what he believes, he practices what he preaches, and he is a man of conviction. To witness the way Jameel Davis conducts his life and business, is to verify that his words of wisdom are genuine.

"Cultivating Minds to Own Thyself" covers a range of topics from identity to the education system, retirement, relationships, and spirituality. There are questions and quotes, and there's even space for writing notes on the pages as well. Overall, the book can be viewed as a self-help guide to living a life of integrity and progress. The back cover copy states that this book "teaches readers how to examine themselves in attempt to modify their thoughts and in turn become their best self, as well as make a difference in the lives of others."

It is birthed out of a love for his brothers and sisters, and a cultural responsibility to nurture and educate his community. You can feel this passion on the pages: through first-person accounts of the changes he made to his own life and the recommendations that he produced as a result, the advice can not be taken lightly.

Jameel notes that he removed many negative influences from his life, in order to surround himself with individuals who uplift and inspire. A graduate of Kent State University's Justice Studies program, the influence is evident as he unravels concepts of miseducation and representation. He credits environmental factors to contributing to the development of self-respect and dignity. He summarizes this with a quote saying that: "a solid core will override every exterior aspect you have."

Having graduated from University, Jameel still does not shy away from pointing out the contradictions that exist with the system. The thousands of dollars of debt, and "miseducation" that many of us believe are a customary rite of passage for young adults...he points out the flaws openly, with recommendations for self education and independent financial management and retirement preparation.

Why preach on these topics that have been covered by many, written about in abundance, and discussed daily via social media memes and influential quotes? Because it is his civic duty to inspire. In Chapter Four: I Am My Brothers & Sisters' Keeper, Jameel states that: "It is my passion to enlighten and to help myself, as well as those who wish to be helped, to become better than yesterday."

I read this book in two sittings, only separated by a brief night's sleep. While the words were wise and intelligently composed, it was the soul with which it was delivered that most moved me. It was the acknowledgement of culture and history, and the obvious intent to inform a generation about how to move forward without repeating mistakes of the past, and without repeating careless life choices that are fed to us with ill intention.

As an artist, I admire how Jameel has chosen to use his literary voice for the empowerment of people. As a writer, I appreciate how the words were crafted, and the level of detail and references that were used in support of his arguments. As a father and a brother, I commend his honesty and willingness to share raw emotion and intention. I believe that we living during a time where we need to amplify every good message we find, in order to break through the daily discouragement of corruption and injustice that we see in local society, as well as the international landscape.

These are words that we all need right now. Words of hope. Words of progress. Jameel says: "Leadership and positive reinforcement must be implemented. We have to be more family oriented. Spread love, joy. Promote healthy relationships."

The relationship advice is blunt and effective as well! Chapter Six has a great reference: brain teasers and questions for singles. A thorough self-questionnaire, it allows readers to take a moment to reflect on their personal beliefs and characteristics, and frames them in relation to love, friendship, and commitment.

"Part of owning yourself, is understanding the world around you. You cannot deploy yourself in a world you know nothing about. You do not need to understand everything about the world, but you should keep a close eye on things and people that can destroy who you are," he says, in a standalone quote at the end of this book.

There are so many important takeaways from this piece of writing, that it is worth reading, worth highlighting, and worth referring back to on occasion. And one of the best parts about reading a piece of writing and being able to access the author, is that you can sustain the feelings of inspiration and continue to receive the positive energy and observe the real-world journey of the book's creator.

I recommend that in addition to reading "Cultivating Minds to Own Thyself" that you also connect with Jameel himself. He is active on Facebook and LinkedIn at "Jameel Davis," and can also be found on Instagram at @CultivatingMinds_ or via his publishing company @ElevatedWaves. I highly recommend this, because the simple act of connecting with Jameel Davis has been nothing but a blessing for me personally, and I have witnessed firsthand the impact he has had on those he has engaged with.

Sending nothing but wishes for continued success for this young brother, and preparing myself to read his other works!

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Stacey,

    I was caught by surprise when I seen that I received another book review. A very heartfelt one from you 😌

    I'm often on the go and really don't sit aside much time to reflect on my writing capability and the impact I have on others. I pretty much create content, produce it and go on to the next project.

    After reading your review of Cultivating Minds, I truly realized how great of a person I am, how valuable the book is and how brilliant you are as a writer.

    Before I started writing the book, I received a lot of inquiries from people who are inspired by me and who've asked how I was able to make the transition into the man I am now given the life I was provided at a young age. So, I wanted to write a book that truly shared the process, but at the same time, will help them reach their mark.

    I wanted to share knowledge of how to find yourself, direct and indirect experiences within the world that prevents us from reaching our full potential, with the hopes of those experiences allowing my readers to understand and to take ownership of self.

    I believe once you reach your mark, it's imperative you send the elevator back down to help someone else come up.

    I also wrote the book for my younger, present and older self, as I could still revisit it and learn from me.

    You've highlighted many takeaways from the book, all which I still lead by example with and hope my readers take away as well. It was very difficult for me to summarize the book because I've touched on many subjects. I believe the subjects enclosed are needed to be addressed because they can shape your reality.

    Back on March 22, I spoke at a local government funded school to a body of 300+ students and staff and conducted a massive book signing for the book. This past Sunday at the black business expo held in Downtown Cleveland, the school's director and one of the English Teachers found me and acknowledged that the book is part of their curriculum and expressed interest in me returning to discuss the book with the students and staff. I'm currently arranging that.

    I said that to say, It is my passion to enlighten and to help those who wish to be helped and who are inspired by me. I don't do things for rewards, money or attention, but because I believe it's true for me to do. I get super excited when I find my work has reached someone who value me as a man, father, artist etc.

    So I would like to personally thank you for your well written review and for taking the time out to write it. It makes me anxious to read the book again, from a readers standpoint and not the writer. I’m truly happy that we have crossed paths and have formed a bond/partnership. I’ve already learned so much from you, that has helped me on a personal, business, family and community level. You are truly a gem 💎 and I’m very grateful of your existence.

    If you could copy and paste your review on my amazon at your convenience, I would greatly appreciate it .


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