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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Iqbal Latif: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with businessman Iqbal Latif


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

Unlearning the old and relearning the new.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

“Be an integral part of rising global consciousness”. Seven billion connected minds in this age of connectivity will be a force to reckon with.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2014?

Blinkered mindsets and backwardness. You need open minds, both now and going forward.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Remaining underutilised in all the good I could have done.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

Eradication of poverty and misery in the world, and “piety for human conditions”. I am very motivated by this.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

Formation of capital is the most critical part of any society to develop and without banks, businesses cannot survive. But this needs to be done responsibly, honestly and transparently, because the assets of the bank are someone else’s deposits; when you borrow, you’re borrowing someone else’s savings. An honest businessman will never own the bank, he will fulfill all his obligations.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“I’ll do it tomorrow” – (Just do it).


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

Absolutely. Charity begins at home. Causes I personally support are several but I would make a specific mention of juvenile diabetes and a few others that work in eliminating poverty and disease. This is very close to my heart.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

Employment of modern technology can be destructive or constructive. Arrogant and conceited use of it can destroy mankind. A nuclear bomb can annihilate millions but the same nuclear processes can generate energy to provide basic necessities of life to the needy, or using the very same radioactive materials for gamma knife radiosurgeries to combat progressive tumours.


Iqbal Latif
Iqbal Latif

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

Socrates, Archimedes, Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Voltaire, Adam Smith, Nietzsche, Einstein, Boris Pasternak, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Jared Diamond, Ray Kurzweil and Steve Jobs.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

A main of sole maneure with mille feuille for dessert at Paris’s Le Fouquets.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

Anytime. I think Sir Winston Churchill is my ideal on that: “My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.”


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

A cup of tea, hands down.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

My own because of the multifaceted and diverse nature of people I host, the variety of subjects discussed and the eclectic selection of cuisines served.


Who is the most positive person you know?

Randy Pausch: His last lecture before he died is poignant and embodies positivity. He said: “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how to play the hand” and “the brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something…” Definitely the most positive person I’ve come across.

What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Sharing that would take the pleasure out of the guilt.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

Any symbol representing Descartes’s “Cogito Ergo Sum” (“I think, therefore I am”).


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

A fusion between McLaren and a Mercedes.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

Dancing impulsively on the streets to buskers.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” and “The Sistine Chapel”.


International businessman, property developer and hotelier Iqbal Latif is the owner of the Rafayel on the Left Bank hotel in Battersea.


Follow him on Twitter @ilatif.



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  1. I think he is pulling our legs….No one can be this pretentious. I wished he would have included Ken Dodd in the carriage: Ken and Mr Voltaire would get on. Mr Voltaire has a excellent clothing store on Sloane St

  2. Terrific answers from a man whose genuineness comes across palpably. I particularly loved his answer on who was the most positive person he knew. True, this whole interview is very inspiring. And Peter Wayde, really, cynicism and pooh-poohing success is soooooo boring. Merry Christmas indeed!

    • Sammy
      Why does Mr Latif wear Raybans inside? I think we should be told.
      I somehow get the feeling that even Mr L would admit that he being just a teeny weeny bit pretentious.
      I am sorry, but what could anything I have written be conjectured as ‘pooing’ on his success?
      My gentle ribbing is to do with his wearing Raybans inside and the sheer outlandishness of the composition of carriage guests.

  3. There is nothing the matter with a bit of Christmas cynicism….and everybody(even dear, kind hearted Mr Wayde!) needs to have their pomposity pricked de temps en temps.

  4. Very impressive. I googled Mr. Iqbal Latif after reading his interview only to realize that what the gentleman shows is merely the tip of the iceberg. I disagree Peter Wayde. No sign of pretentiousness anywhere, the man is as genuine as they come, and he’s a voracious reader and writer. Check out some of the posts I waded through:


  5. I think, my dear chap, you have far too much time on your hands on pointless research.
    What is clear is that my friend Mr Latif likes to promote himself….
    I was expecting learned articles on capitalism in the WSJ….but none appear….
    Always best to wear ones’ learning lightly otherwise it smacks of showing off.

  6. The answer to the first question is a transmuted form of the quote, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write,
    but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
    ~ Alvin Toffler

    I don’t know of the rest


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