By Majid Al Suleimany
Reviewed by Peter M. Fitzpatrick
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“Our religion is one of faith, compassion, love, tolerance, and understanding – yet some of us use its name to justify their wanton and indiscriminate acts.”
This book is a large collection of articles the author has written for the book and from his newspaper column entitled “Between Us Only” in the Oman Daily Observer. He writes from a management perspective and thirty years employment in human resources and training. No punches are pulled in describing his experiences with racial prejudice in big corporation culture, both from expatriate staff and even his fellow Omani workers.
But the scope is not limited to business issues. Reasons for the economic lag in Arabic countries are also floated: “I suspect that a real problem exists in the mind of Arabs: They do not feel that they own their own countries.” These issues seem prescient of the contemporary “Arab Spring.” The al-Qaeda phenomenon is analyzed, as is the since-repressed popular rebellion against the re-election of Ahmedinejad in Iran.
His reporting on the actual conditions that foreign workers must suffer in the oil-super-rich country of Dubai are astounding. The bulk of the book is about management and human resource issues, however, and the author’s commentary is unique in its Arabic and Muslim perspective.
Suleimany originally wanted to break up the book into topics, but was told by his countries Censor Board to print them chronologically. The result is one that might put off more academically interested readers in Arabic management issues. There are no neat categories to index or access in an orderly fashion. But the general drift of the writing is illuminatingly simple. Simple human respect and kindness, universal values that transcend culture and creed, are re-affirmed throughout.
The tone of the book is journalistic, not too far from the sense of an American editorial column. It is filled with concrete examples of the way companies operate in the Arab world and as such is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in that subject. It is not a book on management theory in the abstract; the author’s rationale is moral and ethical, based on an Islamic understanding of the human condition. His approach is moderate, however, with the result being more light on effective corporate management, from the unique perspective of a manager-writer form Oman
Reviewed by Premium US Reviews – By Peter M Fitzpatrick