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BW Businessworld

Bazmi Husain, ABB India

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What are you reading at the moment? What did you recently finish reading? What have you learnt from it?
I love to read. My taste in books ranges from classics, humour, westerns and from contemporary authors to some really good children’s books. I stay away from management books, though. 

Recently I read Artemis Fowl And The Last Guardian. It’s always a good romp with Eoin Colfer’s boy-genius running down the diabolical Opal Koboi. I also enjoyed Christopher McDougall’s Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes And The Greatest Race The World has Never Seen. My reason for reading is simple − it helps open my mind and exercise my imagination.
What is the one book all leaders must read and why?
My favorite book is Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter.
Name one book everyone in your sector should pick up and why?
Again it’s ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach’ (also referred to as GEB) by Douglas Hofstadter. It’s notreally about mathematics, art and music; it is about the common thread that runs through seemingly different disciplines. It explores fascinating ideas, such as Escher’s ‘Drawing Hands,’ acrostics and word play. Put simply, it’s a radical way of thinking that involves everything from extrapolation to logic to symmetry. Too often we are trapped by our circumstances or jobs into thinking in a one-dimensional way, reading GEB is a great way to free your thinking. Unlike the purist, the eclectic reader’s freewheeling choices often take him out of his comfort zone to explore different genres, from classics to whodunits and science fiction. “It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it,” said Oscar Wilde.
What kind of books do you normally buy while travelling?
I have an Amazon Kindle which I carry along whenever I travel. So, I have an array of genre to choose from. Browsing in a ‘real’ bookstore is different; it depends on how much time I have between flights and what catches my eye. Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum is one of my travel buys.
Have you written any books? If not, do you plan to write in future?
No. I have no such plans. I would rather not torture people!
What books did you grow up with? What did you like most about them?
Like others who were growing up at the same time, I had a steady diet of Indrajaal comics, Enid Blyton, Tinkle, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse to draw from.
What kind of books do you have on your bookshelves?
We have a collection of over 5,000 books and they cover quite a range from travelogues to humour, science fiction, psychology and education and represent some of my family’s shared interests as well as our individual literary pursuits.
Where do you shop for books?
I shop online as I mentioned earlier and as I am almost always on the go now, I find it convenient to read e-books.
Have your reading habits changed in the past four or five years? If so, how....
When it comes to reading, it’s pretty much the same. The only thing that’s changed is the way in which I buy and read books. A few years back I might have been carrying a book along with me, now mostly I read them online. I choose to buy a hardbound or paperback only if I really loved what I read.

Name one book you cherished as a gift. Who gave it to you?
I am the cook in the house. So, I cherish all the cook books which my family has given me.
(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 13-08-2012)