“A simulacra of simulacra of simulacra. A dilute tincture of Ralph Lauren, who had himself diluted the glory days of Brooks Brothers, who themselves had stepped on the product of Jermyn Street and Savile Row … There must be some Tommy Hilfiger event horizon, beyond which it is impossible to be more derivative, more removed from the source, more devoid of soul”—Pattern Recognition. (via juliefredrickson)
Nadim Barakat graduated from high school at 16 and, for the commencement ceremony, built a battery-powered cap and mortarboard that spun around, a family member recalls. Today, he’s applying his talents to more sophisticated pursuits by using some of the fortune he’s amassed during his dozen years on Wall Street to build a school for 325 students in a Ugandan village.
He’s taken a particular interest in the school’s building materials, recently deciding that construction would proceed with 25,000 interlocking stabilized-soil bricks. It’s a big commitment for the villagers, because the bricks must be pressed locally and need a long time to cure. But the building should last longer, and making the bricks doesn’t require much water or cement.
"He liked the idea that people would go to such lengths to build a school," said George Srour, founder of Building Tomorrow, the nonprofit that’s overseeing the project.
It’s the sort of strenuous effort that Mr. Barakat demands of himself as chief investment officer for a Credit Suisse division that invests $28 billion in private equity funds on behalf of state pension funds and other institutions. Mr. Barakat oversees a team of more than 60 people who scour the world for investment opportunities. They’ve significantly outperformed both the S&P 500 and the top 25% of similar PE funds.
It’s taxing work, but Mr. Barakat keeps his perspective. He immigrated to the U.S. with his family at 13 after growing up in civil-war-torn Beirut. He remembers living with electricity and water shortages and retreating to the center of buildings to avoid attacks.
"When you have security and the ability to plan for a future," he said, "you know that’s a gift."
By Aaron Elstein
I have to share this entire article. Nadim has been a constantsourceofinspirationandsupportinmylife. This brief profile is a distant satellite view-he’s even more remarkable in depth-a visionary. On several occasions he has said something to me that’s simple yet profound, and I think I get his point, then YEARS later it hits me and I’m like Oh! That’s what he meant, wow! I’m happy he’s being recognized for all he does. Check out the entire list!
Can I tell easter w/o my grandfather to go fuck itself? I’ve kind of done that for all the holidays since October-so yeah.
My grandfather, as I’ve mentioned before, was orphaned at age 11 and raised by nuns within the Catholic church. He credits the religion for his success. I remember doing the stations of the cross during lent growing up. I went to Catholic school. I wrote what I would sacrifice between on a piece of paper which i would give to my teacher to burn.
When I was nine I gave up the easiest thing I could think of-something I hated and wouldn’t miss-meat. That was twenty years ago. I haven’t had it since, not even chicken broth based soup. My grandmother will tell you I refused to eat animals beginning at age 5 when she took me to dinner and I announced to the waiter that I was a vegetarian. But I’m sure I was forced to choke down meat between five years and nine, even if I don’t remember it. Still, growing up between Wisconsin and Texas, how open minded was my family? They let me live out my weird little ideals, despite being religious and otherwise incredibly strict.
I don’t know when it happened, sometime between reading a letter from St Paul to the Corinthians in front of the observers who witnessed my baptism + first communion, dealing with a friend dying very young as a sheltered 11 year old, the priest who officiated my mother’s wedding (twice) then baptized me and my four siblings being accused of molestation (post mortem) and me learning to think for myself and question everything I became an admitted atheist. I never told my grandfather. Even if he were still here I wouldn’t tell him. My (step)dad knows and that’s it. I don’t care. I don’t need to express my religious beliefs, or lack thereof, to feel complete. Or validated.
So on this day, when some people believe someone rose from the dead (the son of god nonetheless) and are celebrating miracles with chocolate eggs and bunnies I’m remembering my role model knowing that he is not looking down on me. All that is left of him is the ash of his body in an urn covered in an American flag in a tomb my grandmother decided would be an excellent final resting place for all of us, and my memories of him. He would be horrified if he knew my position on religion but I continuously refine myself to embody the humility, compassion, generosity and honesty that many seek through their faith. I think he’d see that in me. He would never give credit to the fact that he was the perfection I was striving for, and still am.