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Interview with Franc Bračun, PhD, from NLB d.d., was conducted by Vita Godec MBA, Managing Director of Lenis Pharmaceuticals.

What does reading mean to you?

Reading means a lot to me. I read often and read many different types of literature – from books to journals. On the one hand, reading teaches you something new, and on the other gives you an understanding of the world around you, and the combination comes with a lot of added value. Especially as you get older, you see how wise it is to read books.

What’s your favorite book? What did you take away from it?

There are several important books I could list, but lately, there is one in particular that has given me a lot to think about, namely Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows. It talks about how necessary it is to distinguish between the inner workings of a system and how that system then operates. Far too often management deals with consequences (therefore disorder), but they would be much more efficient and successful if they actually found which levers and buttons to press so they could actually make meaningful change. I would recommend it to anyone in management. I found out about this book when I was reading Limits of Growth (since Meadows co-authored that one), written in the 1970s within the Club of Rome. This was the first serious study on climate change and its effects on the world. The authors tackled the topic of looking at climate change from the perspective of systems, how they are designed and what makes them tick. They thoroughly showed even back then that we would have a very difficult time continue the unlimited exploitation of natural resources and unlimited pollution. The theory of dynamic systems took theory and expertise in hard sciences and technology, and applied it to social studies.  The author has also written columns analyzing articles on the economy through the same lens [Limits of Growth is free to read hereEd.]

Do you take notes and if so how?

I only take notes rarely (I did that more in college), more just a few labels. I try to remember things by making thought patterns in my head. Some books stick in my mind more, others less. The ones I enjoy the most I tend to reread.

How important is a good cover?

The cover isn’t make or break, but it’s definitely important. When I’m trying to decide on my next book from the huge array of them (these days there really are tons of books to choose from) and a cover grabs my attention, I’ll at least pick it up. If not, I’ll skip it.

How do you keep up with your TO-READ list and what is the next book on it?

I most often find books through word-of-mouth recommendations. Usually, I read through a certain topic, sometimes I find a good idea on Amazon, but I don’t have a TO-READ list per se. Sometimes I start a book and then stop mid-way if it isn’t good. I never have just one book in progress, but I’m usually reading 3 or 4 at a time actively.

What do you say to people who tell you they have no time to read (especially fiction)?

I would say that it’s not so much about time as it is about whether reading is something that makes you happy. You can always find time, if nowhere else then right before bed, even if only for an hour or so. Often I send my coworkers a suggestion for a book. For the time being, though, that’s an informal system.

Hard copy or e-book and why? Did the pandemic affect your relationship with books?

I prefer actual books to e-books. The pandemic didn’t really affect my reading habits, as even before then I used to read a lot.