13 Apr 2017 12:35pm

Between the lines

Gerry Brown, author of The Independent Director (Palgrave) and chairman of Novaquest Capital Management, shares his life in books, and economia reviews Jainism and Ethical Finance by Atul Shah and Aidan Rankin

Caption: Gerry Brown says he wishes president Putin would write the true story of modern day politics in Russia.

My desert island book would be Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes because I have never yet managed to find the time to read one of the first novels ever written. Also if it was in Spanish I could spend time translating it.

The book that I learned the most from is The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I read it when I was a student and began to understand more about the evil of man.

I wish that president Putin would write the true story of modern day politics in Russia and maybe it would encourage more Russians to work for real democracy.

My favourite book ever is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Christmas is one of my favourite times of year and the story of how the miserly Scrooge becomes a kinder, gentler man is a constant reminder of the need for compassion in today’s world.

The last book I read was Trump Revealed by The Washington Post reporters Marc Fisher and Michael Kranish. I wanted to understand more about one of the most powerful men in the world. What is striking is that all of what is currently happening was predictable behaviour, so why was he elected?

Jainism and Ethical Finance: A timeless business model

Atul Shah and Aidan Rankin

There has been much discussion of business ethics recently. But according to Shah and Rankin, most of this is fiddling while Rome burns. Unless we stand back and review the very model on which global capitalism is built, nothing changes.

This matters for a range of issues from the environment to financial scandals, from income polarisation and poverty to fraud and white-collar crime.

As part of a 10 million- strong global Jain population, they offer a framework grounded in this appealing, non-theistic religion, based on principles of humility, tolerance and diversity.

While the link between finance and a mask-wearing, broom-wielding vegetarian sect might be easily scoffed at, in this fascinating book the authors explain the relevance and power of an approach that always tries to take the long-term view and considers all stakeholders, as well as the environment. That they do so using real-life business and finance examples makes it an even more compelling read.