BACKSTORY: UCT professor Haroon Bhorat
We question Haroon Bhorat, professor of economics and director at the development policy research unit at the University of Cape Town
Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.
The 1943 painting Broadway Boogie Woogie by Piet Mondrian.
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Do your research beforehand, but also trust your instinct.
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
Zanzibar in the 1990s: officials were seeking bribes because my wife and I were on different surnames.
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
"It is crucial."
Tell us about a hidden gem in SA that not many people know about.
Nice ’n Spicy in Cape Town, a tiny Indian curry house run by a former DJ; and Andalousse Moroccan Cuisine, Woodstock, Cape Town.
How do you deal with stress? What are your top tips for handling stress?
Running regularly and any outdoor activity involving nature.
When and where were you happiest?
A year’s sabbatical with my family in Manhattan. Museums, jazz, plays, good food and a great work environment.
What was your first job?
Packing shelves at the OK Bazaars in Cape Town.
What is your biggest regret?
Not having the funding to finish my degree at MIT in Boston.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Gandalf first; Superman as a distant second.
Which talent would you most like to have?
A photographic memory.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress/amaze them?
Your cellphone will talk back to you and link your conversations to adverts you see on your next internet search.
What’s the one book everyone should read before they die?
Fiction: The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and 1984 by George Orwell. Nonfiction: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes and Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I am a huge Godfather fan and a keen, but amateur, birder.
On what occasion do you lie?
To keep the peace in a household with three arguing children.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
I wish I had invested in more accounting and auditing courses at university.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Chocolate with rooibos tea.