Well-chosen words can lead you to empathise with people you will never see: Iskander Ahmed

Managing Partner of Buzzy Bee Communications on the books that have shaped him

Published: Fri 17 Aug 2018, 12:30 AM

Last updated: Tue 27 Dec 2022, 11:52 AM

What are you reading currently?

I am reading Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuck.

A book that changed your life?

The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. Cited as a seminal piece of literature on storytelling, it has begun to resonate with me more and more every day. From religious parables to company mission statements and the movies we hold dear, you realise that storytelling truly is the currency of our lives and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Through the book, Campbell deftly breaks down mythological storytelling and leaves you with key lessons to craft an effective narrative yourself that will stand the test of time. George Lucas swore by this book and used it as the greatest source of inspiration for Star Wars, so let that sink in.

A book you'd highly recommend.

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. I didn't stumble upon this book until my sophomore year of college. The book is one of the most visceral accounts of the Vietnam War I've ever read. Seen through the eyes of young soldiers, you learn about the emotions, hardships, sacrifices and objects that define them and how you begin to hold some of the smallest things dear when there's a chance you could lose it all in an instant. The most powerful takeaway from the literature though, I believe, is that well-chosen words, unlike anything else, can leave you empathising with people you'll never see, worlds you'll never know and times that have gone by.

Your favourite literary quote?

My favourite literary quote happens to also be a piece of 'flash fiction'. The six-word story by Ernest Hemingway (though his authorship has often been contested) amazes me every time by how much it conveys with so little. "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn." Isn't it something?

More news from WKND
Telling stories that 'stick'


Telling stories that 'stick'

Everyone knows that oral and written traditions of storytelling are the most effective ways to pass on values. The modern marketplace is no different