Synopsis

“Don’t set out to make money. Set out to make history”

The biography of a pioneering business leader who inspires extraordinary loyalty in his colleagues

A fast-paced life story, full of tips on leadership, business philosophy and personal values

Demonstrates a uniquely Arab approach to business; a masterclass for those wishing to succeed in business in the Middle East and beyond

Published by: Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing

A Passion for Adventure: Turning Zain into a Telecom Giant, is a fast-paced story, full of tips on leadership for those wishing to succeed in the Middle East and beyond. It reveals his strong personal values and demonstrates a uniquely Arab approach to business.

Saad Al Barrak is a pioneering business leader who inspires extraordinary loyalty in his colleagues and whose respect for the human dimension in business is encapsulated in his calls to ‘be bold, be daring, be different’ and ‘don’t set out to make money, set out to make history’.

In terms of the bottom line, Al Barrak in just seven years (2002-2009) transformed MTC – a moribund, ex-state-owned telecoms operator with 500,000 customers in Kuwait – into the international giant Zain with over 72 million customers across 23 countries. Revenue leapt from $570m to $8 billion, while market capitalization jumped from $2.5 billion to peak at $32 billion.

A Passion for Adventure gives the inside account of Al Barrak’s masterminding of the creation of the Zain brand, which 2 years after its launch was valued at $2.9 billion, the 2nd most valuable brand in the region. ‘Zain’ became the sweetheart of the telecommunications world through innovative media campaigns and ground-breaking telecom services.

A Passion for Adventure outlines a business philosophy based on ‘chaos by design’, tapping human creativity and eschewing formal structures. Al Barrak explains the origins of his approach in boyhood experience in the souks of his native Kuwait, how it was shaped by higher education in the United States and England, and honed in the adversity of occupation and war.

Beginning with the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait in the early 1990s, Al Barrak’s career has shown a marked ability to thrive in the most challenging of circumstances. His taste for risk and instinct for emerging markets led Zain to expand rapidly across the Middle East, including post-war Iraq, and in a single breath-taking move to expand into 15 sub-Saharan Africa countries where other telecoms operators were afraid to go.

With a Foreword by African entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Mo Ibrahim, A Passion for Adventure gives a clear idea why renowned educational institutions such as Harvard and Oxford Universities use Zain as a case study and how Al Barrak has revolutionised the business models of many companies around the world.