BOOK REVIEW CAN DO! Making the impossible POSSIBLE!

Written by Kevin Chaplin Review by Steuart Pennington



Kevin Chaplin’s book “CAN DO – Making the impossible POSSIBLE” is different to any management book I’ve read before, and I’ve read plenty! It is said that after the Bible, management books are the next best sellers globally. It is estimated that the average business leader will read 20 such books during his/her time- usually over the holidays – and then foist them on his/her perplexed staff as the next management bible!


Kevin’s book is uniquely South African. Yes, he does elaborate on the management principles that enabled his own personal success, particularly while at FNB, but more importantly what he learnt in the founding of the SA Ubuntu Foundation, the Academy of Entrepreneurship, and the rescuing of the Amy Biehl Foundation.


For me, what made his book compelling is the following:


  • It is a deep self-reflection of the challenges facing managers in a rapidly changing South Africa 1984 ‘till the present
  • It is a very personal account of the family versus job dilemma
  • It describes the importance of mentorship and the essence of choosing the right mentors
  • It highlights how essential continuous learning and the commitment to a strong faith is
  • It stresses that business success is measured by looking way beyond the mere numbers
  • It tells of his own personal energy and the challenge of thinking out of the box
  • It describes the difficulties he had with the reality of corporate South Africa, BBBEE, racism, discrimination and the ‘white male’ dilemma
  • It captures the reader’s attention as he describes the agony of deciding to leave a well-paid corporate job and make his involvement in social entrepreneurship endeavors pay.


I so enjoyed reading about his personal journey juxtaposed with the South African history of the last 35 years. I became totally absorbed in his commitment to Ubuntu and the potential it has to influence ‘corporate think’ in SA. I was fascinated to re-read the history of Amy Biehl, the extraordinary compassion her parents had for her murderers, and the role that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission played in their lives – as Americans.


His unusual entrepreneurial flair in giving uniquely South African social causes…. life; his passion for humanity; and his ability to network and get people from all walks of South African life into the same room is inspiring and gave me renewed faith in our country, our diversity and our future……….


CAN DO! Is a book about the importance of the journey and not the achievement of the end goal. Afterall, in to-day’s world the goalposts are continually moving, getting the journey right is what is important and what will personally inspire. CAN DO! Making the impossible POSSIBLE tells you how!


CAN DO! can be purchased in SA at Exclusive Books, CUM Books, Bargain Books, Take a Lot and Internationally it can be obtained by ordering on the following link: