BACKSTORY: British Chamber of Business’ David Dawson
We question David Dawson, CEO of British Chamber of Business in SA
When and where were you happiest?
At sea, on it or under it.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished the memoir Do No Harm by the eminent British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh — excellent. I’m about to start yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester’s autobiography.
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
Possibly Juba in South Sudan.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Sailing and scuba diving holidays, but not together — one in Northwest Europe and the other in the Indian Ocean.
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Avoid ambiguity and making assumptions. Get absolute clarity on what you will agree to or not agree to.
What was your first job?
I worked as a paperboy, in the UK.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Wilfred Thesiger, the British explorer and travel writer, in another world.
Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.
The African Bushveld.
Is there such a thing as "enough money" and, if so, how much is it?
Probably, but it’s not an absolute, and will vary from person to person. The pursuit of money seems to have become an end in itself, which explains a lot.
Which phrase or word do you overuse?
"It’s not rocket science" — because it usually isn’t.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Which living person do you most admire?
Virgin’s Richard Branson. I like it that he can combine being a successful businessman with having a sense of adventure (and fun for that matter).
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Learning other languages.
On what occasion do you lie?
What is your most treasured possession?
Beware of treasuring possessions. That said, I am quite fond of my old Land Rover.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?