The rise of a creative movement that has seen several successful business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the world turn into bestselling authors, was a panel topic at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2016. The motivations behind moving to the world of words from the world of money were discussed by experts in the field at a session titled, ‘Popular Writings: The Process and Popularity Factors’.
Moderated by Abdul Fatah Sabri, the panel was chaired by Dr Carl Balita, author of best-selling book, Entrepreneur in 12 Days, and multi-award winning business leader from the Philippines; Professor Enrique Soranio, Senior Advisor of the Wong and Bernstein Advisory Group, a Strategic Consulting Group servicing ASEAN organizations, and a family business coach; and Syrian literary critic Izzat Omar.
Focusing on a successful business person’s role in providing support and patronage to the development of literature and arts, the panel highlighted the importance of documenting entrepreneurial successes for future generations to learn from and emulate.
Drawing interesting similarities between literary creativity and business innovation, Dr Balita said: “The proverb, ‘innovate or die’ is as true for establishing and sustaining a successful business venture, as it is for authoring good literature. I am a student of arts but I teach and write business. One of the biggest reasons I took to writing was because I wanted to immortalise my entrepreneurial feats for others to benefit from. The trend of people in our country migrating to others in search of lucrative opportunities is growing. I want, my thoughts to be infectious through my books and my training, and for people to know through the example of my life, how they can succeed in the Philippines itself.”
The UAE’s history of business leaders providing patronage to education and culture was brought up citing the renowned Emirati poet, Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais. Izzat Omar recounted the poet’s life’s journey as he grew up among a family of trades, and used his travels between India and the UAE to promote Arab literature and culture in Bombay by starting schools and libraries in the city.
“The Sultan Bin Al Owais Cultural Awards established in 1988-99, is the Nobel of the Arab world. Recognising the best literary talents in the region, it is one of the richest and most prestigious. People like Al Owais and others worked tirelessly to establish Sharjah, and the rest of UAE as a powerful cultural centre through cinema, music, translations, schools, universities, and more. Juma Al Majid is another great example who continues to contribute greatly to the field. I believe successful and powerful businessmen must work even harder to herald an era of human literature that will enrich our world in more ways than one,” said Omar.
Adding to the significance of businessmen contributing to world literature, by narrating his successful experiences in family business coaching throughout the world, Professor Soranio said, “I spent 20 years being a corporate executive and another 27 years in academics. Next on my bucket list was to be able to leave a legacy behind, because I felt an insuppressible need to share my experiences with future generations. My works focus on family-owned enterprises and those people trying to ensure their businesses carry on for generations benefit from it.”
“I coach the ninth generation of a 200-year old Japanese family in the business of making and selling saké. It gives me great pleasure to see family businesses flourishing, and I make it a point to be able to tell a gripping story in easily absorbable prose even in the genre of business,” he added.
Soriano is the author of Business Governance: Powerful Insights on Leadership and Succession.
SIBF 2016 is organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), and is taking place from 2 to 12 November at the Expo Centre Sharjah.