Emirati Entrepreneur and Author Omar Al Busaidy Discusses His Recent Book

Lindsay Judge   |   03-02-2023


Omar Al Busaidy is a man of many talents. From a young age, he was interested in poetry and writing, which soon led to a love for public speaking. As an entrepreneur, he had many experiences, both good and bad, and he saw the need to share this with the world.


After presenting many talks and seminars to students or budding entrepreneurs he decided the time was right to put his words down on paper and he published “Just Read It” – a book that describes many of the key elements needed of entrepreneurs but also delves into the mindset that’s required in order to be successful. “Just Read It” became popular both in the UAE and around the world and has helped Omar to gain an integral following. This year he will share some of his messages on an international platform at the Emirates Festival of Literature later this month. Ahead of that, we met with Omar to discuss the success of his book as well as his other ventures and businesses that are in the pipeline. 



Can you share a little about where your passion for writing came from?

When I was young I used to enjoy writing poetry and that’s where I think my passion first came from. I was encouraged by the school principal at the time to write a poem for the yearbook and it’s something I did every year until I graduated from high school. I was inspired by movies and also the books that I was reading in school. After this, I stopped writing for a long time, I was doing a lot of speaking rather than writing, but it came back to me later in life. On the advice of some of those students, I decided to put together what I was saying in a book and that’s where my passion reignited. 



Tell us about your book “Just Read It” – can you share some of the key points and takeaways?

I was very active when I was younger, I was a full-time employee, I was a university student, and I also had a side business. Through many trials of trying to start different things, I had a lot of business ideas that failed or weren’t successful and throughout my career, I was invited many times by different organisations to speak about this. I hosted a session at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi and the students enjoyed how I talked about failure and to keep trying, and the Professor of Entrepreneurship asked if I could go back and do it again. So I did and this continued for a while until eventually, along with one of the students, I created a class called Emirati Entrepreneur Class, where I would talk about the attitude of an entrepreneur and the mindset that you need to have in order to actually want to do something. Every class was full – students were even sitting on the floor – but I used to notice how none of them would take notes, so I wondered how they would ever remember what I was saying. I told them ‘if you don’t document the things that I’m saying, you will never remember’ and one of the girls at the front of the class told me that they would prefer to read. She said: ‘why don’t you just write a book?’ And so I did! It wasn’t in the plan but I felt the urge to get people to take the information in and this seemed to be a great way to do it. So I spent the next eight months writing the book and putting down all my thoughts. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was going to get it published, or even what to call the book as it wasn’t necessarily about business, it’s more of a self-help motivational book that you can interpret as you wish. I spoke to a colleague at the time and told her about the book and I told her ‘I just wanted people to read it’ and she said: ‘call it that then!’ And that’s where the name “Just Read It” came from. She was actually the one who encouraged me to get the book published, so I have her to thank for that.




Can you tell us how the book came to life from that point? 

My sister had a friend in publishing and this led me to find a publisher. I spoke to her company and when they saw it they agreed to publish it. The book came out as both an e-book and a hard copy. I was then contacted by a lady who owns a communications company in Dubai who offered to do the PR for the book, and from that moment, I got so much attention around the book and I was invited to speak at book fairs all around the world. “Just Read It” came out during the UAE’s Year of Reading and because of this it was picked up by a lot of schools, Universities and companies who would bulk order. It was fantastic and gave me great exposure. 



What are some of the key messages you wanted to share with the book?

Sometimes I get asked what people can learn from the book and I say ‘nothing’, because everything that’s in the book is either something we already learnt at school, at home, in religion, or life, and all I did was ‘Omarise’ it. If you think about a lot of these types of books or quotes, someone at some point said them and we all say the same things but we just say them differently. I feel that the way I deliver the message is different from what else is out there. 


To go back to your question, one of the things I talk about is getting out of your comfort zone. I examine the difference between taking a risk and taking a calculated risk. I discuss the importance of surrounding yourself with a circle of support. They say ‘your network is your net worth’ and ‘who you surround yourself with is crucial in helping you in where you’re going.’ These are all themes that are important and I do think we need someone to remind us of this because sometimes we deviate from these and lose track of where we’re going. The older I get the more I have realised that one person or one thing could take you completely off track. I also look at the importance of meditation or prayer, being with yourself and reflecting. We don’t spend enough time doing that. I also talk about the importance of networking and communication. Even if you’re an introvert, you have to work on your skills of communication because it’s something that could make or break your life.  


Another story I want to tell you is how a teacher from Iran got in touch with me. She had seen the book somehow and she reached out to me to ask if it would be possible to translate the book into Farsi. I don’t speak Farsi and had no one to translate for me so I told her she could take the content of the book and translate it herself. I didn’t want any royalties, I just want the message to go out. So I gave it to her and she went ahead and did it, and she published the book in Farsi! The design is the same but the language is different and now people in Iran can get my book!



Are there any plans for a follow-up to the book?

That is a great question! A couple of things have happened around this. Firstly, I was invited by the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government to co-author a book called “Agile Government”, which was published two months ago. I wrote about something called the Majlis Diplomacy. Another book I co-authored on called “Innovation to the Core” also just came out. So I’m constantly being asked to do other things. I do want to write my second one and actually, I already have the title, it will be called “Why Jobs Are For Robots and Life Is For People.” This will be a kind of follow-up to “Just Read It”, but it goes deeper into how we need to all be more human rather than this robotic concept of just being in an office and on auto-pilot. If I could demolish all offices, I would do it in a heartbeat! I feel like they are the worst, most toxic environments in the world. There is so much negative energy that takes place in office environments, and when that energy is contained in one place, it’s even worse. If I could work remotely for my whole life I would do it. If you want human connection, meet outside! There’s simply no need for offices. As long as you have your laptop and your internet connection, you can get the job done from anywhere. 




We know you will be taking part in this year’s Emirates Festival of Literature – what can we expect to see from you there and why do you think this platform is important for the UAE?

The UAE is known for many things – the tallest buildings, the best beaches, the fastest cars – but what we are not yet known for and what the leadership of the UAE wants to showcase is the knowledge-based economy that we have. In a sense, highlights how all the money that the government has invested in its people to get a good education, and what they are doing with that knowledge. This is what we need to be talking about. Our diplomacy is extremely important right now when there are so many conflicts and wars taking place around the world. What you’re seeing is that the UAE is coming out as a strong player when it comes to negotiations and conflict resolutions. When you have a platform like Emirates Lit Fest that can showcase the thinkers, the intellectuals, the authors etc. It’s a great platform to remind people that we have these amazing talents and that there is more to the country than what meets the eye. Some great Emirati authors are coming out and it’s a testament to the government’s work on human capital and people development and I think this is a great opportunity. 


I am honoured that I have been invited to speak at the festival. It’s a fantastic line-up and it’s something I have wanted to be involved in for a while, so I’m very excited. I will be involved in a workshop around entrepreneurship. It’s a topic that I’m interested in for many reasons and honestly, making money is one of the last reasons it interests me. Entrepreneurship helps develop your soft skills. When you see a nation that has a lot of entrepreneurs, you start to become more open to different cultures and ideas and this initiates an open mind. I think what we have here in the UAE is the opportunity to negotiate with someone who looks different from you or might live a different life from you and this is why I encourage entrepreneurship. Even if you don’t succeed with your business in the end, the first engagement is what I love about it. 


The UAE has just rolled out a new law that allows Emiratis working in the public sector to take a year off from work to go out and start their own business while still receiving 50 per cent of their salary. This is amazing and it’s encouraging entrepreneurs in the UAE to follow their ideas. And then if they become successful within that year, they can become independent and not have to rely on a public sector job anymore. Of course, I know why people what the stability of a job, but from my experience, once you are no longer in that situation, you could be much happier. I am now working between two continents and my company; Global Possibilities is registered in the United States, the UAE and Malaysia, so I’m already established globally within a year.



Tell us more about Global Possibilities. 

It’s a consulting business, I do commercial affairs and public diplomacy. On the commercial affairs side is that I help companies expand, either from The US or Malaysia to the UAE or vice versa. And with public diplomacy, I advise governments on foreign policy, especially when it comes to peace building and religious tolerance and inter-faith dialogue. I work a lot with groups from different religions and bring them together and we have a very nice situation. All of these faiths have more in common than you would ever imagine. 



What else is in the pipeline for you? 

I have a start-up company that I’m working on with a partner. It is called Kluly. It is an ed-tech platform on which we credentialise micro-learning. For example, for everyone that’s coming to the Emirates Festival of Literature, for each event, they attend they would receive a certificate of attendance. This certificate is in the form of a digital profile which shows them how many sessions they have attended, what types of topics they have attended etc. So we offer the ability to track your micro-learning and the skills you gain. You are then able to share this with your colleagues and it acts as a form of resume, highlighting that you are a life-long learner. We are not talking about skills that take a long time to learn as that would be macro-learning, we are talking about short learning experiences and we will credentialise these sessions, whatever it may be. We have already onboarded over 20 clients and issued over 2,500 certificates in under three months, so we’re growing quite quickly. 



What is something you would still like to do that you haven’t done yet?

I would love to open a coffee shop! I am addicted to coffee, it is my vice and I wish I could have a café with great coffee, good books, and a chilled environment. I know this exists in so many places but I want to have my own concept. I would also want to sell my own delicious brownies! I see it as a place that will incorporate everything I do. 



Who or what inspires you?

I think what inspires me is to have a lasting impact on people’s lives. When I get positive feedback from people who have been impacted by my book or my talks etc. that’s what truly motivates me. Sometimes we feel like we are very small pieces in this big wide world, but when we can influence things from afar, that’s when it is truly amazing. Look at the lady in Iran who translated my book, for example, it was so crazy, I’m still amazed by this. All I want is to be remembered as someone who was a good force in life. I don’t just want to exist, I want to make an impact. 



What is a motto or quote you live by?

‘The only disability in life is a bad attitude’. I am a very positive person, I love positive people and positive energy and every day I wake up and I try to give that positive attitude in everything that I do. 



What is a book you would recommend?

I love “Good To Great” by Jim Collins. What he talks about is how having the right people around you, impacts everything you do.

I would also recommend “Flashes of Thought: Lessons in Life and Leadership from the Man Behind Dubai” by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. It’s a fantastic book and even if I wasn’t from the UAE I would recommend that book.

And finally, I love “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. That book honestly changed my life at a very low time in my life and it was really impactful.