Surendhar Reddy

Brunello Cucinelli

Some notes from Brunello Cucinelli’s interview with Om Malik in 2015

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On personal growth and authenticity

  • Man needs dignity even more than he needs bread.
  • In order to be credible, you must be authentic and true. To be credible, you must be consistent in the way you behave.
  • I do not like things to go too quickly. I like to be swift as a person, but I don’t like things to be rushed lightheartedly.
  • You should go with the flow of mankind, you should live as if it was the last day of your life, plan as if you were to live forever, you should be at rest, at peace, you should give yourself some peace.
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On ethics and transparency

  • Mankind is becoming more ethical, but it is not happening because man has decided to become better than he was 100 years ago. It’s because we know we live in a glass house where everybody can see.
  • We hold a meeting here with all the staff every two months. Everybody takes part in it. Even the person with the humblest tasks knows exactly what was the latest shop we opened. Everything is based on esteem, and esteem then generates creativity. Everything is visible, when things go well and also when they go less well. When we are sad, when we are worried, when we are happy: If you show all these different moods, then you are credible.
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On technology and information

  • We have now swapped information for knowledge, which is not the same thing. I do not want to know. I’m not online. I don’t even have a computer.
  • We must be on the cutting edge with technology. But your life shouldn’t change as a consequence.
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On business and work ethic

  • Here, no meetings with mobile phones. No one is allowed to bring them into the meeting room. You must look me in the eye. You must know things by heart. You must know all of your business with a 1 to 2 percent error rate. It is also training for your mind.
  • We have more than 50 percent American investors as shareholders. Before going public, I said to them, “Are you looking for a company that grows very fast, that makes profits that are too high, in our view, quick profits? Do not invest in our company. Do you want a company that grows in a gracious way? That allows suppliers to grow alongside it, so that your artisans can grow as well as the company’s staff?”.
  • Say I work for Apple. Maybe I have the humblest kind of job, but I’m not ashamed that I work for Apple. Because it is still Apple. Whereas here in Italy, you say, “I’m a tailor” or “I’m a waiter” and you still get that kind of respect. That’s the nobility that we have to rediscover.
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On philosophy

  • Hadrian, the emperor said, “I feel responsible for the beauty in the world.”
  • This century is where enlightenment and romanticism must blend. A great idea that is born out of the mind and then goes through the soul — there is no doubt that the outcome is marvelous. If this idea is true, fair, beautiful, there’s no doubt that it is also a good idea. I think this applies to everything.
  • Any philosopher helps you to raise your head and the world will look better. Respect the human being, and that will be better.
  • The true way to nurture your soul is philosophy. The true malaise of the human being — no matter whether Italian, American, Chinese — is the malaise of your soul, the uneasiness of your soul. This is stronger now than when my father was young or my grandfather.
  • There are three things you cannot buy. Fitness: You have to keep fit, whether you’re rich or not. Diet: You cannot pay someone to be on a diet for you. I think that diet is the biggest sacrifice in my life. Then, looking after your soul. No one can possibly treat your soul but you yourself. This is something you can do through culture and philosophy.
  • Hadrian the emperor said, “I never met anyone who after being paid a compliment did not feel better.”
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