My Journey with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in “My Story: 50 Memories from 50 Years of Service”
Mohannad Al Masre – Founder & Chairman of Damsco Group
My experience with the book “My Story” is a pleasant one, with its narration of human relations, life, power, and the critical keys to the development of the state and its economy.
Rich in history, the book records the transformation of an ‘empty desert Emirate’ into one of the ‘smartest capitals’ in the world. It was an exciting journey of reading filled with the depth of institutional vision, the burden and responsibilities of a statesman; a man of excellence and a seasoned politician with great economic intellect, who focused on work, planning and innovation, the main pillars of any successful project. This is one of the most inspirational books I have read so far.
The book is an inspiring oasis for generations to come, giving them hope and encouragement to be brave and make bold decisions in all walks of life; “Paving the way to knowledge and life through experience, lifelong learning, insight and reflection.”
I eagerly read the pages of this book, learning about the important historical facts about Dubai, its development, the establishment of the Union, and the pivotal turns in its history of becoming the brilliant global economic power it is today.
The city never ceases to amaze me, the only scientific explanation for the ‘Dubai phenomenon’ is the eloquent mind that built this futuristic city. As a Dubai-based entrepreneur,I am fascinated by the ‘economic intellect’ and insight of the rulers of Dubai, discovering alternative economic resources for the wealthy emirate other than oil.
Regarding the economic challenges that Dubai faced in the early 20th century, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid says in Chapter 8 “185 Years of Searching for Dubai”: “That crisis cut off the lifeblood of the economy, bur Dubai never stopped looking to its future and diversifying its trade. Our economic crisis deepened with World War II, but so did our determination to find alternative sources of trade and revenue.”
A passage caught my attention in which Sheikh Mohammed spoke about the importance of trade for developing Dubai’s economic cycle, stating: “We continued to invest for the future and to focus on what we have always done best: trade in general, and servicing re-export markets in particular.”
Many thinks that the free market system is a recent one adopted during the last few decades in Dubai. However, Sheikh Mohammed indicates: “In 1902, after the Iranian administration in Bandar Lengeh raised taxes for merchants on that side of the Gulf, Sheikh Maktoum abolished all customs duties on imports, opened up Dubai’s port and welcomed all traders. As a result of adopting this free trade policy, goods flowed into and out of the city’s port and in a short period Dubai became the Gulf’s re-export hub. A significant number of major merchants trading in the Gulf area soon moved to Dubai and made it their regional headquarters.”
Sheikh Mohammed also sheds light on the legacy of economic intellect among the old sheikhs who ruled Dubai. In the same chapter, he writes: “My grandfather’s legacy was to ensure economic diversification so that Dubai would never again rely on just one source of income. That principle was something my father, Sheikh Rashid, adopted through the construction of ports, the expansion of Dubai Creek, the development of free zones and the airport, as well as driving the launch of new economic opportunities, such as aluminium smelting.”
“It is a legacy passed down through my family. It is the guarantee that the lessons of our arduous journey over the past 185 years haven’t been taken for granted.” This is one of the most valuable tips for entrepreneurs in this book, to help them develop and expand their investments and deliver successful projects.
Despite focusing on the political aspect and the reinsertion of the government, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid indicates: “No one is born perfect; we all need the mind and souls of others to complete our own. Everyone must continue learning no matter how much he or she achieves. A leader needs the counsel of others to learn more, and to win their support for new plans and projects. Only an ignorant person turns a blind eye to advice.” This quote is taken from the twelfth chapter “Three Lessons from the Dawn of Rashid’s Rule” and it perfectly applies to the world of economics and business. Executives and heads of companies should follow this enlightened thought in management and relationships.
“The creation of leaders is the main enabler of development and further progress.” This is one of many robust insightful quotes about developing human resources and engaging them in serving the nation.
Focusing on competent human resources, especially young ones, and engaging them in both private and government sectors is essential for the development process.As Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid says in his book: “took great care to invest in the ambitious young people who surrounded me throughout the various stages of my career.”
Most entrepreneurs are preoccupied with the idea of appointing the right cadres in the right positions. But executives and department heads are also concerned for creating dedicated teams loyal to the vision of the institute. I quote from the same chapter: “The leader we create are the eyes through which we see, the hands with which we build and the creative energy we add to our own to realise our vision.”
In chapter 36 “Collaboration” Sheikh Mohammed expressed his belief in the importance of investing in the youth and its energy, narrating an interesting story that occurred during a GCC meeting in early 1980s: “I was sad, because, we didn’t handle our wealth effectively, we didn’t trust the ideas of our youth, and didn’t dare to try innovative approaches.” (page 207)
Far from the world of digits and finance, I was captivated by the thinking of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid in Chapter 49: “I do not rely on personal efforts in humanitarian work, but rather on institutional efforts, for they are sustainable and have
I was impressed by the fact that the Sheikh focused on the human character; “When asked why I launched Arab Hope Makers, I said we are searching for the human in every one of us.”
Finally, I advise everyone, regardless of specialty, work or interests to read the book “My Story: 50 Stories in 50 Years” by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as it is a book of great wisdom and invaluable insight.