The Sea and the Hills: The Life of Hussain Najadi

Hussain Najadi

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 285 Price: (paperback) $29.99 ISBN: 9781469180939 Reviewed: June, 2012 Author Website: Visit »

Observers of international finance and Middle Eastern intrigue will be fascinated by this timely self-portrait of the dynamic –-and controversial – Bahraini investment banker who, in the 1970s, began urging Arabs to divert their petrodollars into the emergent economic powerhouse of Asia. Founder of the Arab Malaysian Banking Group (current assets: $16 billion), Hussain Najadi pioneered many business links between the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. He also brought developing nations together at the prestigious World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

His autobiography’s subtitle, “Oil, Politics and Justice,” is an apt summary of Najadi’s life-themes. As a fiery student activist, he agitated for his homeland’s independence from Britain. In 1985, he was the 50-year-old chairman of Arab Asian Bank when arrested by Bahraini authorities on fraud charges, likely spurious: he spent seven years in prison. Always, he has attracted as many critics as admirers ¬– and weathered every storm. Today, Najadi remains a key figure in global finance, valued advisor and frequent lecturer.

Elegantly written and suffused with optimism, this classic tale of redemption chronicles the rise of a poor boy (he once sold encyclopedias) to power and influence, culminating in a man who credits his success not only to “my actions and beliefs” but to the hand of fate. The chance appearance and reconciliation of seemingly opposite ideas and strategies crucial to many of his decisions, the author writes, “were driven by kismet, destiny. In fact, till today, my life continues to be shaped by people who appear suddenly and propel me to new heights or save me from disaster…”

In his heartfelt last chapter, Najadi endorses the Arab Spring now sweeping the Middle East, including the troubled nation of Bahrain. “The despots,” he writes, “ . . . are on the wrong side of history and are swimming feebly against (the) tide.” Najadi is a compelling thinker, and his memoir provides rare insight into the drama of the Middle East.

Also available in hardcover.

Author's Current Residence
Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
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