Business News

Non-Fiction: The Pathway to Success

A Bank is Born by Nadeem Hussain Liberty, Karachi ISBN: 978-6277626082 138pp.

Reading A Bank Is Born, the recently published autobiography of Pakistani banker and entrepreneur Nadeem Hussain, I was reminded of an interview by renowned British journalist Michael Parkinson with famed American filmmaker Orson Welles.

During their discussion on politics, famous people, and the dream factory known as Hollywood, Parkinson asked Welles if being a movie star was the pinnacle of fame anyone could ever aspire to. The acclaimed director replied that there can never be a final answer to that question, as each period of history has its pinnacle of fame.

Wells explained that, at the beginning of the 20th century, the greatest thing in the world was to be an opera singer – a career that brought endless lines of fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous tenor walking down the street. After World War I and until the early 1960s, the biggest thing in the world was to be a movie star, the epitome of all the glamor that fame and fortune could represent. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the biggest thing in the world was to be a rock star or a pop singer.

If Wells had lived to see the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of communism, and the triumph of capitalism in the post-Cold War world, he might have added that, these days, the greatest thing in the world is to be united. Entrepreneur, or CEO of a successful company.

Former banker-turned-entrepreneur Nadeem Hussain’s memoirs reflect his belief that great achievements come from a bold vision, determination, persistence, and hard work and risk-taking.

Modern CEOs and entrepreneurs carry batons of fame and fortune that once belonged to movie stars and rock stars of yesteryear. In our age of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, a successful CEO has that element of wealth, glamor and a rock-star lifestyle that the rest of us can only hope to emulate.

In that vein, entrepreneurs also want to showcase their success as a path for others to follow. Memoirs abound, but among the best we can find is industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s autobiography, Business Executive Alfred P. Sloan’s My Years with General Motors and Walmart founder Sam Walton’s Made in America.

When reading Hussain’s A Bank Is Born it feels like following in the footsteps of the famous businessmen who hoped that by following their example others could learn how to achieve tremendous success in life.

The memoir shares with readers some of Hussain’s major successes in business, including being a globetrotting Citibanker, and two main crowning achievements of his entrepreneurial vision: Tamir Microfinance Bank (TMB) and Easypaisa.

TMB helped bring most of the population into the economic stream, which was largely ignored by commercial banks, while EasyPaisa revolutionized e-commerce and how money could be transferred over distance without the help of banks. Yes, at a time when such things were largely unheard of. For most Pakistanis.

In his short but enlightening book, Hussain tells us how these two successful feats of entrepreneurship became a reality through bold vision, determination, perseverance, hard work and that special element that French military commander Napoleon Bonaparte instilled in all his generals. Signified in: ‘luck’.

However, to bring that fortune, Hussain had to toil long hours and overcome many difficulties to make microfinance accessible to the largely unbanked section of Pakistani society.

An entrepreneur is always motivated by profit, but the motive will never yield results if it does not serve the basic purpose of commerce and economics, which is to create opportunities for others and generate wealth in the society, which in turn leads to prosperity. Brings social satisfaction and stability.

In times like ours, when Pakistan’s economy is in dire straits, books like Hussain’s may inspire others to realize that difficult times can be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to lead through innovation.

Hussain certainly did this with TMB and EgyptPaisa. When starting each of these ventures, he was warned that it was too risky to undertake, but Hussain subscribes to the famous belief that if one can dream it, one can do it. Negativity takes a person nowhere; To be successful, one must believe in success.

The author also talks a lot about his personal life and how he managed to get through some of his most difficult and stressful times with the support and encouragement of his family and friends. Special emphasis is placed on his wife, politician and journalist Sherry Rahman, whom he considers a significant pillar in his achievements.

Although Hussain doesn’t mix business with politics too much in the book, an entrepreneur’s perspective on political events is always fascinating to read because it shows that the business community, like any other citizen, has its finger on the pulse. Is. Nations where an unstable environment can become a make or break situation for them and their companies.

Thus, some of the most interesting sections in the narrative are Hussain’s views on the political situation in Pakistan after 9/11, with the General Pervez Musharraf era, the lawyers’ movement, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s return from exile and her subsequent assassination.

The basic gist of reading A Bank Is Born is the emphasis on not resting on your laurels, but instead going out and finding the next big thing. It is always important for entrepreneurs to find the next breakthrough that will be a game-changer. Right now, Hussain is doing exactly that with his latest venture, Planet N, which aims to be a catalyst for a new wave in technology entrepreneurship in Pakistan.

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, famously said that if you don’t come to the office every day with a fresh and new idea, you don’t really have a company. Ironically, the saying of Polish Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg that “those who do not move do not heed their chains” can also apply to a free enterprise environment, where innovation is always key. That’s certainly the message from A Bank Is Born, a well-written book that should be read by anyone who wants to push their limits and chase their dreams.

No success story in business has ever come without taking risks, and as Hussain’s book explains, the greater the risk taken, the greater the achievement.

The reviewers are writers and journalists. His interests include history, politics, music, literature and cinema. He can be contacted at [email protected] and tweet @razmat

Published in Dawn, Books & Authors, April 2, 2023


Back to top button