Leader's Bookshelf: You have to go down that rabbit hole

Lara Khouri is Director of Communications, British Business Group Dubai, and Head of International Marketing, ICAEW
Lara Khouri is Director of Communications, British Business Group Dubai, and Head of International Marketing, ICAEW

There isn't one book in particular which did this for me. Rather, every book I have read has given me something valuable.



What book(s) are you reading now?
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I've been a fan of Sherlock Holmes for as long as I can remember, so when I saw two volumes encompassing every story of the great detective in a duty-free shop in Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I bought them without hesitation.
Which book(s) shaped your outlook and changed your life?
There isn't one book in particular which did this for me. Rather, every book I have read has given me something valuable. For example, historical fiction has given me an understanding and appreciation of history and cultures. Similarly, detective stories hone my analytical skills and my ability to assess a situation from different points of view which is extremely useful, especially when I find myself in situations in which there is some disagreement. In these cases, the ability to see the situation from the other person's perspective is an undeniable asset.
Which titles or authors can you pick up and read anytime, anywhere?
Dame Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. No question. Their writing style carries me away effortlessly and the way in which they weave their stories, pulling threads here and there, creating knots and sometimes looping back, is always irresistible.
Which book(s) would you love to pass on to your children to read and treasure, and why?
Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. For me, these stories illustrate the power of imagination; of believing in yourself and following a path only you can see. Society works so hard to mould children into 'good' adults and, along the way, perhaps inadvertently, squashes their imagination and teaches them that there is a 'right' and 'wrong' way of living life. We have also stopped rewarding superior performance. Instead, everyone gets a 'certificate of participation'. I love these stories because they teach children that you have to do something extraordinary to get something equally amazing in return. You have to go down that rabbit hole, step of the window ledge or walk through the back of the wardrobe. Take that step that no one else will.to get where no one else will. 
What do you think we can do to promote reading in our communities?
Let's start with young children. Even if the child is too young to read or enjoy being read to, pull out a picture book and help them get acquainted with the concept of reading. Eventually, children will read things online. However, in order to create that connection with the written word, we should start with a good, solid book. There's nothing like shutting off the world to dive into the story.
 


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