Books: The book that shook

Books: The book that shook - 'I first read Max Frisch's Homo Faber when I was 15, and I must have read it about six times since. It's a remarkable novel about a man, Walter Faber, an engineer and a true rationalist who, through a series of quite implausib

by ERNESTO SCHMITT
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

'I first read Max Frisch's Homo Faber when I was 15, and I must have read it about six times since. It's a remarkable novel about a man, Walter Faber, an engineer and a true rationalist who, through a series of quite implausible coincidences and chance encounters, comes to question his analytical approach to life, letting himself go and accepting the need for a more human, less dispassionate approach.

There is an Oedipal plot - Faber by chance ends up having a sexual relationship with his daughter, and by a further tragic coincidence kills her unintentionally. What the book shows is that you can't control life. It has little to do with rationality and much more to do with chance. The lesson is you have to let yourself go a little - that you can't control everything. Not something I tend to discuss with the financial community!

The book has significance for me because I started out as a strategy consultant, but realised you couldn't really control the chaos that is the business world. It helps you as a manager: not everything is rational; you need your humanity, too.'

Ernesto Schmitt is co-founder of Peoplesound.com.

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