Sully Iqbal

Creator, Entertainer, Smile Maker

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Who is Michael Ovitz? - Michael Ovitz

“It’s not about money. The money will flow. It’s about power and influence.” - Michael Ovitz

if you are in anyway interested in the entertainment industry, especially Hollywood, and don’t know of Michael Ovitz, then stop reading this (okay maybe don’t stop) and immediately pick up this book.

I knew very little about Michael Ovitz before reading this book but since i’ve reading about his story, he has become one of my greatest inspirations. Who is Michael Ovitz covers essentially the whole of Ovtiz’s career and his rise to arguable being the most powerful man in Hollywood.

On the surface the idea fo a very successful man talking about his life story may sound egotistical, but the entire read is enthralling and personally inspirational. Ovitz takes a deep dive into what he’s learned over his many years in the media industry, and not only does he share his high points but also his lowest lows. The sharing of both ends of the spectrum humanises a man who for many years was seen as a looming phantom over Hollywood.

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The most inspirational part of this book for me was learning the story of how Ovitz, Perkins, Haber, Rosenfeld and Meyer were gutsy enough to take a risk and step out to create the CAA, arguable the greatest agency of all time. The chapters describing this transition alone makes this book worthy enough for any entrepreneur or someone seeking to work in the entertainment industry to purchase a copy.

The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

A Coming of Age Story for the Final Stages of Life

I’ll be honest, I’ve not read a lot of Earnest Hemingway… well to be completely transparent this is the only Ernest Hemingway piece I’ve read. As a bookophile, that is almost a blasphemous statement. However, I am redeemed int he fact that I absolutely adored this novella!

In spite of it’s bitesized length, I’d say 3-4 hours of reading for a fast reader this book is a captivating read.

Hemingway manages to almost entirely tell a heart-touching narrative with a single character, or at the very least a single human character. The Old Man for the most part is the readers sole focal point and Hemingway is able to bring to life a living breathing world through the eyes of this old man.

Yet, Hemingway also masterfully turns nature and the world into characters into themselves! Whether it be fish that the old man encounters, a seagull or even the ocean itself.

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The Old Man and the Sea is an amazing depiction of what it’s like to grow old, the social impacts of the process and how one individuals deal with the fact that aging is an inevitability of life we must all accept.

Home Fire - Kamila Shamsie

Life truly does imitate Art…

The world that Shamsie builds is so similar to our own it’s almost as if she travelled to the future to grab news headlines to base this book off.

Admittedly I usually don’t read novels that aren’t seen as ‘literary fiction’ books that don’t really have a specific genre. However this romantic drama was able to grip me in a way that greatly surprised me.

Without spoiling too much of the plot, it feels as if the novel lifted elements from the Shamima Begum case and from the appointment of Sajid Javed (boo) as Home Secretary. That is until you find out the book was published before either fo these situations! As I said, life truly imitates art.

The acts of the novel are clearly defined and broken up by the narrative shifting between characters. This might be seen as a 'simple’ technique to move the story along, but it is used so effectively in Home Fire that one is more than happy to let that go.

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Personally I felt the first ‘act’ was a bit slow and plodding. However it is necessary to set up the more interesting and faster paced remaining acts. Furthermore the pacing of the acts do reflect the state of mind of the specific character it is following, and well as the characters become more frantic, so does the pace.

Home Fire is a brilliant portrayal of the trials and tribulations of Muslims, in particular South Asian Muslims, in an increasingly polarised British Society. Different nuisances of the community are addressed, whether it be the life of an academically gifted Muslim girl brought up in a less well off area or be it an extremely liberal Muslim boy bought up in affluence with his heritage shunned by his father.

This novel is essentially a platform for displaying the different facets of the British Muslim community, whilst using the backdrop of the ‘War on Terror’ to create palpable tension and fear amongst the characters and the readers.

Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami

An Eerily Poetic and Accurate Portrayal of A YOUNG ADULTS MIND


Not only is this novel one of the most influential pieces of writing in my 22 year life, but also Murakami is my all time favourite author and I don’t think anyone is going to ever dislodge him from that place. Therefore it only seemed fitting that the first piece of work in this ‘series’ would be the first Murakami novel I read.

In these ‘reviews’ which are a loose term, nothing will be spoiled as I feel all of these works deserve to be truly and faithfully experienced for the first time.

Norwegian Woods is a story of loss, sexuality and self discovery. Despite being set in 1960s Japan, a setting I obviously cannot relate to, the novels themes transcended its setting. Despite being half way across the world and being 50 plus years in the future, I connected with the protagonist more so than I ever have in my life with any protagonist in any medium.

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Murakami explores the deepest and darkest crevasse of the human mind without taking it to the extremes. Addressing issues such as mental health, discovering love and finding your place in the world Norwegian Wood exposes the flaws in how humans confront these situations without putting our characters through farfetched situations.

As a young man first reading this novel almost everything our protagonist Toru goes through was something I could relate to. Whether it be his worldly opinions being moulded by his surroundings at University or be it his first sexual encounters that the author explores. These timeless themes resonated with me deeply as at the time I was going through the same phase of life as Toru and found myself comparing his thought process to my own.

When an author is able to make the reader deeply internalise and personify a character, so much so it makes the reader question their own decisions, it shows there is a level of understanding of the human psyche that is unparalleled.

in conclusion Norwegian Wood on the surface is already an excellent heart wrenching novel about the pangs of young life, but on a deeper level it is an in-depth analysis and exposure piece on the flaws of the human conscience.

Purchase the novel now!