Marginal Books

Meet the Author

Akram Najjar completed a B. Sc. in physics and mathematics at the American University of Beirut (1966), Lebanon. While completing his requirements, he took all of his electives in literature and philosophy, subjects that never left him.
He then completed another B. Sc. in electrical and electronic engineering from the Hatfield Polytechnic in England (1969). (Now it is the University of Hertfordshire). As for the Masters, he completed course requirements for a Masters Degree in Systems Engineering at the American University of Beirut (1972).

1967-1968 and between University terms: he spent 6 months as a trainee with Standard Telephones and Cables (ITT) in England and later in 1968, another 6 months with Standard Elektrik Lorenz in Germany in the Telemetry Design Lab. In 1970, he started a 5 year job with Middle East Airlines as a Senior Systems Analyst in the computer center. During the first 3 years he was in charge of implementing large computer projects. During the last 2 years he was responsible for defining and planning MEA’s future computerization projects.

From 1975 - 1977 worked on various projects inside and outside Lebanon. In 1978, established Database Sarl, Beirut, a computer consultancy and software company. Carried out a variety of projects: consultancy, software development, management training. Most of the work was in banking and finance.

In 1982, Akram established Infotech, Dubai (United Arab Emirates), to cover a variety of IT projects in the UAE and Gulf countries. Most of the projects were in trade, industry, education, healthcare, banking, construction and media/advertising. Several projects were completed in the public sector. He was also active in delivering various Quantitative Management seminars.

In 1995 to date: after his move back to Beirut, Lebanon. in 1995, he left the software development field and concentrated on IT contract work: IT consulting, computer project integration, project management, software application design and management training. He also shifted into the field of business technology concentrating on strategic planning (for both private and public sector organizations), project management framework development, business process reengineering and process mapping.

In 1997, he established InfoConsult Sarl, in Beirut, Lebanon.In parallel with his consulting work, Akram focused on management training developing and conducting workshops for the above subjects. This and other books are based on the experience acquired in these workshops. 

Earlier than that . . . 
When Akram was 15, he had the luck of being moved to a special class of accelerated English. It was not a language as much as an introspective class. The teacher concentrated on analyzing fiction, one novel a week. He also pushed the few in the class towards writing. They had the choice of developing any subject in their weekly essays. In time, Akram reached a zero point, a point where he felt all meaning was drained from any expression he wished to write. Worried, he tried to convince his teacher to return him to the regular stream. The reaction was: “Look here, I got you into this course so that you can reach this stage, and you will be reaching it many more times in the future”.This dual exposure to literature and introspection stayed with him and in spite of becoming an IT professional, he retained his love for philosophy and literature often being more involved in them than in his technology. Akram tried his hand at different literary genres: poetry, plays, novels. None felt natural to him as much as the short story.

Even earlier than that . . . 
When Akram was twelve, a teacher introduced him to Scientific American. His name was David W. Miller. Mr. Miller’s whereabouts are not known today. But he is to be thanked and thanked again. The articles were above Akram’s head but his love for astronomy made the magazine fascinating. That eventually led him to study Physics and Mathematics.

Soon, Akram got hooked on the Mathematical Games column by Martin Gardner. He sent Martin Gardner a puzzle once. Gardner replied to this 14 year old on a large index card thanking him and pointing out very politely that the puzzle had been published before. Akram was stunned that Gardner would have time to do that. Later on, Akram read that Gardner was extremely loyal to his correspondents, always answering all of them. Akram treasured the card for a long time, but sadly lost it. Gardner was the reason Akram was set firmly in Puzzledom. Later on, it was second nature to him to work in software as a career. Software is an abstract practice that is full of puzzles whether you are designing, programming or debugging.