The Art of Disruption; a manifesto for real change is a book by Sheffield legend Magid Magid. “A Somali born, working class black muslim immigrant” who became the youngest ever Lord Mayor of Sheffield. A man who banned Donald Trump from the city and famously called him a wasteman… This book shares his commandments for living the best life and making the change in society you want to see.
When I first heard about Magid, I couldn’t help but smile. Seeing him as the Lord Mayor of Sheffield felt like a real change and an amazing representation of Sheffield, the city of Sanctuary.
I met Magid a few times, mainly through Tramlines, the festival that my husband was director for. The cover of his book was a huge billboard that was displayed in the festival site. It was such a clear and brilliant message that was so far away from the usual work of past Lord Mayors and I watched hundreds, if not thousands of festival goers get their selfie with the poster and heard so many stories of personal connections to Magid. That he had attended their events, met him in the street, that people had been inspired by him and the difference he had made to their lives, and I knew this was someone special.
I bought the book as soon as I saw it was on pre-order (this isn’t a sponsored post, I bought the book and wasn’t asked to review it) and devoured it in a couple of days. Each of Magid’s commandments starts a chapter in the book where he goes into an explanation of his thoughts along with anecdotes of his life. From stories of hanging out on buses with elderly ladies in Doc Martin boots, to battles with council members, Magid shares intimate details of his life and how Sheffield has shaped him as a man.
His commandments are;
- Be kind
- Don’t be a prick
- Do epic shit
- See the good
- Don’t lose hope
- Do it differently
- Always buy your round
- Don’t kiss a tory
- Tell your ma you love her
- You’ve got this!
It is a book filled with positivity, heart and a desire to change things for the good. I cried by page 20, felt sheer anger at the racism and hate filled messages that he received during his term as Lord Mayor and laughed till my belly hurt at some hilarious commentary (“People accuse me of tearing up tradition, but what is tradition, apart from peer pressure from dead people?”
But mainly, I finished the book feeling hope.
2020 is a year like no other, it is easy to feel that everything has gone to shit and that we are doomed. Between the news and social media, we are bombarded by negativity, fear and division. Yet Magid’s book brought out a hopeful and brighter side of me, it made me remember that there is so much good out there and the good need to work together for change through kindness.
He shares this quote.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.Martin Luther King
And in reading about the discrimination and outright racism he has faced and the way he dealt with this was a moment that made me sit back and take a moment. It is easy to react to bad situations with an equal force of anger or hurt, but Magid’s words of hope reminded me of the importance of compassion. Of how a positive reaction to the bad can change not only other people’s mindsets but changes how we unpack and deal with that difficult time.
Kindness is bold, brave and politically radical; in both small gestures and wider structural policies, it has the power to change someone’s life – and to change the world.Magid Magid
I have a couple of sayings here on my blog, I say ‘be kind, yo’ and sign off with the phrase ‘peace and love’. I truly believe that kindness will be the thing that changes the world. And it has been a journey to get here and a journey I still travel. I grew up believing you had to be the toughest, you had to show your worth through shouting the loudest and winning the argument. My go to state is often anger and the desire to show I am not weak. But I have learnt through my life that this isn’t the person I want to be. I don’t want to be the toughest or the alpha, I want to be the kindest, I want to be the person who others know is loyal and caring, I want to be someone who helps others, who makes a difference, who is open and warm and loving. This book reminded me that being the best isn’t about being the toughest, it is about being the kindest.
Seeing the good
It is fair to say that I loved this book. This is a book that is about community, change and making a difference, no matter how small. It isn’t too wordy or pretentious, it is written in a gentle, first person voice of a man who has done some extraordinary things yet feels like he could be your best mate. The Art of Disruption is inspiring and exciting and makes you want to be a better person.
Seeing the good encourages others to do the same – optimism is contagious, after all. You may even start a chain reaction of positivity and kindness, and who knows how far this will go or which mind you might spark.Magid Magid
‘The Art of Disruption, A manifesto for real change’ is widely available now. If you can, have a search of your local, independent book stores. If you are in Sheffield, I recommend La Biblioteka. Or you can buy it from Hive here. Hive supports independent book stores and is a British tax paying company. If you would like to find out more about Magid Magid, you can follow him on facebook, twitter and find his website here.
Magid Magid is in conversation with Sile Sibanda for Off the Shelf festival in Sheffield on 24 October at 7.30pm where he “presents a guide to hope, doing better, and being courageous, and shows how it’s possible to think differently about power and life.”
Peace and love