If you ever go out for lunch with Omar Al Busaidy, the Unit Head of Abu Dhabi Experience Development of Tourism and Culture Authority, be prepared for frequent interruption by people who approach him with hugs, kisses and high-fives. When Tempo chatted with Omar, he shrugs off the attention, his eyes shining as he talks about his new book “Just Read It.”
Tempo: How would you describe Omar Al Busaidy?
Omar: Young, wild and free. Those were the first words that came to my head, but I consider myself a renaissance man. My first job was working as a face painter during summer camp in Dubai at the age of 14. I remember my first paycheck, it went directly to my first bank account: my mom.
I worked and studied throughout my university years in banking, business and politics. It was tough but when you’re young you have no excuses. I have a mother who pushes me beyond boundaries, and a sister who sets the bar so high that my 193cm height doesn’t help to reach it.
During my early twenties, I also ventured into several businesses and failed miserably. They say ‘Bad decisions make good stories’… but they didn’t mention ‘empty wallets’, too.
Tempo: What has been your most memorable experience?
Omar: Working for the UK Foreign Office. I was a senior commercial Advisor, supporting UK companies doing business with the UAE. I was the first Emirati to work for the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi. The previous Ambassador Edward Oakden, exposed me to the highest ranks of both British and Emirati diplomats and businessmen. At the age of 21, I was flying sky high and learning things that money can’t buy.
Tempo: Tell us about your book ‘Just Read It’.
I have a lot of ideas; I go back and forth in my conversations and it’s never a step-by-step process. I wrote a lot of ideas in the book, so much so that I couldn’t even create a table of content because all the ideas, or so I believed, were good ideas. So I just went ahead and put them in different pages. The book is about entrepreneurship, self-development, motivation, inspiration, or anything for that matter. It’s a book about different ideas.
Tempo: Is there a reason that it is an e-book, apart from cost?
Omar: Well I love reading and I usually read hard copies of books, but one time I spoke to Iman Bin Chaibah, owner of Sail Publishing and he said to me: “How do you carry several books in your bag when you travel?” And I thought to myself that it really is a hassle, so I decided to first work on an e-book and then a hard copy. My sister, Aida, also encouraged me to write an e-book because it is easier to reach a global audience. However, they say ‘there’s no school like old school’, so I still insist on later publishing a hard copy to make it accessible to people who have no digital platform.
Tempo: You named your book “Just Read It” – is there a story behind this?
Omar: I’m usually a very complicated person and I’m pretty bad at organizing my thoughts. I spoke to my friend Nouf Al Hashemi and was confused about what I should call the book. I told her that I wanted people to just read it, and she said then call it that – ‘Just Read It’!
Tempo: How did you friends and family reach to the book?
Omar: Most of them were happy and continued to support me…but of course there were some haters along the way. But as they say, “haters gonna hate.”
“To put smiles on people’s faces whilst building my empire – that’s my motto every year!”
Tempo: What was the biggest challenge?
Omar: To keep up the momentum; to maintain the same style of writing, and to get more ideas into the book, and to ensure that I hadn’t forgotten anything!
Tempo: Who’s your favourite author?
Omar: Paul Arden, author of “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be.” He’s funny, creative and I think like him.
Tempo: What can people expect to learn from your book?
Omar: Nothing – because what’s in the book is everything they already know.
Tempo: What are your plans for 2015?
Omar: To put smiles on people’s faces whilst building my empire – that’s my motto every year!
Tempo: Any advice to Emiratis wanting to write a book?
Omar: Don’t call your book “Just Read It”.
Tempo: How can people connect with you?
Omar: Twitter, Instagram, Linked In or they can just bump into me.
LinkedIn: Omar Al Busaidy