How Do Immigrants Achieve Success? | Ynkawen’s Tsundoku

This book about the mindset of an immigrant is especially helpful everywhere you go.


This book is about the typical mindsets found within immigrants. Jena Kanji writes about immigrants she personally knows from different nationalities such as Syria and Pakistan.

Jena Kanji

Her family were Indian Ugandans who were forced to flee the country during Idi Amin’s reign. They eventually settled in the United Kingdom and then to America.

How Does It Hold Up…?


One of the themes involving immigrant has to do with frugality and the ability to scale down and adapt to the new country. Many immigrants have no choice but to take low-wage jobs, despite having advanced degrees. As such, living in a completely alien country means living in a completely different life.

Another important theme about immigrants that Kanji talks about is the unbounded optimism they have for their new country. Positivity does not preclude a successful career, for it is a restricting mindset compared to the jobs that are just satisfying for the immigrant to work in. Even when the odds are against them, immigrants do everything they can to find opportunities presented to them, or to seek them out.

That happiness and satisfaction with the immigrant’s life has to do with the purpose-driven way they have. Having a higher purpose helps to motivate immigrants to continue pursuing a life of fulfilling work. Unfortunately, this mindset no longer becomes a feature among their children and grandchildren, who do not have the immigrant mindset.

Part of the immigrant’s life involves the necessity to adapt to the new country. Since immigrants come from countries that have conflicts and chaos driving them to emigrate, it would make sense that they would be familiar with discomfort.


A part of contemporary history involves the innovations created by immigrants. They include Instagram, eBay, the birth control pill, SpaceX, films, music, and scientific discoveries. This catalogue highlights the importance of immigrants and their contributions to their new society. This also includes the children of immigrants.

Kanji discusses life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s reign and the desperation faced by Indian Ugandans, including her family.


By looking into the lives of individual immigrants in Kanji’s life, she can map out the commonalities that immigrants tend to share. I can’t say that it is effective, since for all I know they may have obscured details about their lives to preserve a sense of anonymity.


The lives of immigrants are stories worth telling, for they not only have suspense, but they also have inspiration. This book explores many paths that immigrants take to achieve success.

Risk-taking is a part of the human experience and is a more worthy endeavor than working a secure job with ennui. It is easy to think that the future itself is secure, but that is not the reality. To live a risk-adverse life is to live the life of an immigrant.


Anyone can take what Kanji has written and apply it to their own lives, though it would not nearly be effective unless it involves moving to another area, whether a locality or even another house.

This Book Adds…

…To World-Building Knowledge

I can clearly see how this would be helpful when writing about migrations of people. Within a fictional world, the lives of immigrants would help shape the societies they adopt.

…To My Own

I try to think about my status as someone who intends to move to another state. I am no stranger to this, but this time I intend to make the trek myself by my own means.



This is a book that can easily get people interested in the lives of immigrants, but more so how exactly immigrants contribute to society.


  • Kanji, Jena. “Think Like an Immigrant: 7 Immigrant Mindsets That Will Change Your Life.” New Degree Press. 2018.

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