Friday, December 7, 2012

A Biography of  Syed Mokhtar Albukhary

Authored by Premilla Mohanlall, “Syed Mokhtar Albukhary: A Biography” was a nicely written, easy-to-read, authorised biography of Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary.  The first time I looked at the book at MPH The Curve, I had a sudden recall of “Daim yang Diam”, a biography of Tun Daim Zainuddin. Coincidentally, both men are extremely wealthy men (don’t have much update on Tun Daim, though) and considered by many as reclusive, brilliant, globe-trotting businessmen.

For the business-minded, the book is a treasure trove in information.  It gives a lucid insight into the inevitably inter-connected worlds of politics and business, both in their finest examples and in their oft-times questionable dealings. In this context, it is interesting to note that the once venerable New Sunday Times today (11 November 2012) front-paged its upcoming serialisation of this book.  For those who may have forgotten, TS Syed Mokhtar was treated to bad media during the time of our Fifth Prime Minister, vis-a-vis the NST Group.  Well, as they say in politics and diplomacy, there are no such things as permanent enemies or permanent friends.  That said, there is a lot of honest-to-goodness juicy stuff inside the book to give a lead to curious politico-business bloggers (which I am not).

A skilful, organisation-ist, if there ever is a word like that. In short, the book is a rags-to-riches story, Malaysian style.  This is a breath of fresh air, given the lack of (honest and well-written) books on successful (Malay) Malaysians. Further, the book benefited greatly from firsthand interview with TS Mokhtar and his innermost inner circle of friends and business partners.  Bear in mind that this book speaks about a man who preferred to remain outside the limelight of media in spite of his enormous wealth.

For the HR practitioner in me, it provided an insight into the mind of a hugely successful, strategic business leader.  Based on the book, TS Syed Mokhtar struck me as a brilliant organisation-ist, masterfully balancing between, self-actualisation, nationalism, capitalism, as well as societal needs. His personality illustrates that there’s absolute introvert nor absolute extrovert. One rises to the occasion when one has a clear idea what one wants out of life. If you have had a chance to read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”, I am sure that you would appreciate while important characteristics of hugely successful individuals include putting in tireless effort, self-discipline and remain focussed, luck (or God’s blessings, good timing) is the critical, key characteristic.  These…. elements, appear to be a recurring elements when we study high-performing individuals.

All in all, “Syed Mokhtar Albukhary: A Biography” is an exciting, inspiring story of one man’s tireless pursuit of success while keeping firmly grounded on the meaning of success for oneself, those around him and humanity at large.  The take-away for a man-on-the-street like me is that one can aspire to craft success in life by:
  • keeping a correct worldview;
  • thoroughly studying the road ahead;
  • putting in a tireless effort, but also knowing where to focus;
  • impeccable time management; and
  • bearing in mind that one’s reputation has huge intrapersonal,  interpersonal and commercial value.

Book Info
Title:                    Syed Mokhtar Albukhary: A Biography
Price:                   RM19.90 (paperback)
Author:                Premilla Mohanlall
Publisher:          pVm communications Sdn Bhd
ISBN:                  978-967-415-806-4


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