In the introduction to the eBook, I wrote about the decision to quit my managing job in a large corporate firm and to do something completely different with my life. Back then, in 1993, I swore NEVER to be a manager again. I wanted life to be simple. 9 to 5! Set off on a job with a clear perimeter and targets, so it was easy to measure how I performed. Being a technician (again) during my first missions to Africa, made life much simpler for me: either the installed equipment worked or it did not.. Much easier than work as a manager where deliverables are greyer and objectives more obscure..
Somewhere along the road, I must have done something wrong, as 10 years later I ended up as the director of the Dubai office... I was probably the only director running around in Tshirt, safari pants and sandals in the office. I did keep a suit in my locker, though, just in case a government official showed up for a meeting.
One day, I put my suit on for the deputy minister of Agriculture from a Western country, and his entourage. Often these meetings are pretty boring, explaining what we do, have a cup of tea, shake hands, take a picture and basta-cosi.... Half an hour, an hour max..
But this deputy minister got intrigued by our organisation and how we do our work, so the conversation was pretty lively and entertaining. At a certain point, we branched off talking about our personal experiences in 'remote places'.. We ended up talking about Afghanistan. My guest said he just finished reading a novel about Afghanistan, and how he appreciated it. He promised to send it to me.
I thought "Right, heard that before!". But, surprise surprise! A couple of weeks later, this book appeared in the mail together with a nice cover letter by 'my deputy-minister' saying "It is a compassionate read and one I thought you might appreciate as much as I did."
Well, he was right. It is the best book I read in years: 'The Kite Runner', by Khaled Hosseini.
Mr Hosseini is a Kabul born physician, currently living in California. His first novel tells the story of Amir, an Afghan boy, who is - like many Afghan boys - fascinated with kiting.. You need to know kiting is a Real Serious Thing in Central Asia.
The story follows the life of Amir through the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, the Soviet invasion, the challenging years living in exile, the Taliban era. The main thread is Amir's relationship with his father, and the feeling of guilt towards his friend and servant, Hassan. It is about coming to terms with mistakes from one's youth and the feeling of guilt. The story sucked me into its intriguing plot like a detective novel does.
Very well written.. I wished I could write so well, but then 'He Does It so Much Better Than Me!".
So I guess this is at least one advantage of being a manager: you meet people who recommend you interesting books!
Enjoy this book. More of my favourites, you can find in my online library.
More recommended books from The Road.