Sunday Reading

Cashmere sewer

Om Malik: I’ve been reading about you, and I have been fascinated by your progress and more importantly how you have conducted your business. Where did you find the inspiration to follow this path?

Brunello Cucinelli: From the teary eyes of my father. When we were living in the countryside, the atmosphere, the ambiance — life was good. We were just farmers, nothing special. Then he went to work in a factory. He was being humiliated and offended, and he was doing a hard job. He would not complain about the hardship or the tiny wages he received, but what he did say was, “What have I done evil to God to be subject to such humiliation?”

Basically, what is human dignity made of? If we work together, say, and, even with one look, I make you understand that you are worth nothing and I look down on you, I have killed you. But if I give you regards and respect — out of esteem, responsibility is spawned. Then out of responsibility comes creativity, because every human being has an amount of genius in them. Man needs dignity even more than he needs bread.


A correspondent sends this one along, subject line: “Most interesting thing I read today.” Fantastic:

Here, no meetings with mobile phones. No one is allowed to bring them into the meeting room. You must look me in the eye. You must know things by heart. You must know all of your business with a 1 to 2 percent error rate. It is also training for your mind. It is also a question of respect, because I have never called someone on a Saturday or a Sunday. No one is allowed to do so. We must discover this, because if individuals rest properly, then it is better.

Do you know the word otium in Latin, meaning, “doing nothing”? The Roman people were all laid back. In all the pictures, they were all laying around. They were doing nothing, just staring. In the winter on a Sunday afternoon, I can spend six hours in front of the fireplace, just looking at the flames and thinking. In the evening, I’m drunk with beautiful thoughts. My wife says to me, “What are you looking at?” I say, “The fire.” We have to take a step backward.


I’m not about to buy a $3,500 sweater but if I was it’d be from this man:

Om: What’s the correlation? All these people you are quoting are very interesting, but why mention them? Also how are they correlated to all these people whose photos you have on the wall here?

Brunello: Those are the ancient thinkers, philosophers: Socrates, Confucius, Constantine, Palladio. These people are the contemporary figures that left me with a different view on the world. Dostoyevsky, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Kafka, Kennedy and the Pope. At the end of the day, all these great people, what do they focus on? Human dignity. They all talk about being custodians in the world. Hadrian, the emperor said, “I feel responsible for the beauty in the world.”

Can I ask you, how old are you? I am 60 myself.

Om: 48.

Brunello: You are not far away from my mindset.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a great enlightened man, but he was the first of the Romantic movement, too. I think that in the last 30 years, we have tried to govern mankind through enlightenment, through the use of reason, our mind. This is no good.

This century is where enlightenment and romanticism must blend. A great idea that is born out of the mind and then goes through the soul — there is no doubt that the outcome is marvelous. If this idea is true, fair, beautiful, there’s no doubt that it is also a good idea. I think this applies to everything.

All words and pictures from this gorgeous website. There’s other great stuff.  Take this, from an interview with photographer Vincent Laforet:

Om: When I was a young reporter in India, I had this one photographer friend, Anu Pushkarna. He would take the flattest pictures ever, but he was the bravest guy ever. If there was a riot or some other craziness going on, he was right in the middle of everything. It wasn’t art, but they were real. He would get hit on the head for taking a picture.The same event captured by some of the bigger-name photographers in India like Raghu Rai, the same perspective, it would be like, “Wow.” The pictures were what made the story better.

Vincent: It’s a perfect marriage. It’s like a movie, with film and sound and acting and directing and music. I wish there was more mutual respect between the different professions. I can tell you that the joke amongst war photographers has always been that most war correspondents work from their hotel rooms at the suite at the Ritz-Carlton, whereas the war photographer has to go where the bullets are flying.

AND there’s an interview with my old college nemesis!  (not a bad guy, actually pretty impressive, just tragically humorless)

Hey, Readers, send me more stuff like this!  I’d love to evolve Helytimes into something more like Wonderful Digest magazine, all sent in by correspondents.  Helytimes’ email is helphely@gmail.

Gonna take a break for the summer soon, but send me the most interesting thing you read!



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