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Author Erbil Gunasti: Anything that will be built around “tolerance” will bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people

Anything that will be built around “tolerance” will bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people. One has to tolerate the mass of humanity to lead humankind towards an end to be judged after the fact if it was good or not. Tolerance is the name of the game because it […]

Anything that will be built around “tolerance” will bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people. One has to tolerate the mass of humanity to lead humankind towards an end to be judged after the fact if it was good or not. Tolerance is the name of the game because it will sustain the momentum longer than any other force. So, whether the idea is a product or service or political or military objective or humanitarian or charitable deed, the level of tolerance will make it last longer, be more effective or productive or results oriented.


I had the pleasure to interview Erbil Gunasti. Erbil has worked with eight prime ministers of Turkey, was Erdogan’s press officer for five years and is slated to work for the Trump administration as a presidential appointee. He is accepted as an insider to both presidents and first ladies, among their inner circles. Bill is the life partner of Daphne Barak, known for her rating-breaking US network TV prime time news shows. Saving Amy, her book with Amy Winehouse, formed the basis of the documentary that won an Oscar. Gunasti’s exposure to Hollywood legends, heads of state, royals, and the like is not limited to the Clintons, Bushes, Obamas, dozens of other heads of state in power, or Hollywood bigwigs. Gunasti is deeply involved in wide-ranging global stories, from Princess Diana’s death to Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.


Thank you so much for joining us Erbil! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

Iran for mayor in Palm Springs. During the campaign I met lots of people, as well as elected officials. Soon I noticed that not many people have any clue about the Middle East. So I thought, perhaps in California no one cares about the other side of the Atlantic. Then when I arrived in Washington DC after Donald Trump became the 45th president, I noticed the same ignorance among many people on Capitol Hill. This bothered me a lot. I thought I should write a book and explain what I know well. It worked. I ended up with a book that will be informative to many who need to know what I know.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

I visited Amy Winehouse at her hospital room in London three years before her passing. At the time, no one was able to reach her because, at first, she was there because of drug abuse. Anyway, when I met her, she was OK. We had an hour conversation. She also talked to my partner, Daphne Barak, on the phone. After this encounter, the next day Amy suddenly decided to leave the hospital to go to Saint Lucia. No one expected her to make such a radical and quick decision because most everybody was thinking she was too sick to leave the hospital.

Amy’s conversation with Daphne was instrumental in her decision. Amy wanted to see Daphne but Daphne told her that she would like to meet with her when she is out of the hospital and well. Apparently, Amy wanted to see Daphne so much that the next day she made her move. Daphne eventually met Amy in Saint Lucia four months later when she visited her there. After that visit, Daphne penned “Saving Amy.”After the book was published, Amy was quoted in People magazine: “Only Daphne Barak can explain my complicated life.”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There is no funny mistake that I would make. I am a Capricorn.

Nowadays, the only mistake I would ever make would be to talk to someone that I should not talk to. And it will not be funny because I will be talking to the Democrats.

Unfortunately, a civil conversation is no longer possible with the other side of the aisle anymore. What is worse, if this civil disorder gets any worse, the US can face similar experiences like Europe faced in the 1970s when domestic terrorism took its toll from civil society. That is also the reason why I emigrated to the United States — to run away from terror.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

At the time, I am focusing on the promotion of my first book, the “GameChanger.” Promotion involves radio and TV appearances. They are very interesting experiences even though I am someone known to have been the producer of the sit-down exclusives Daphne Barak, my partner, has conducted the past 20 years with all of the world’s most famous Hollywood, music, and sports stars, heads of state and royals.

Other than that, there are two other book projects that are underway but since there are celebrities involved I cannot divulge any information at this time.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

First, I think about the audience. Who will I write a book for is the most important question.

The next two important aspects are: prose and a great outline. Prose allows me to be sarcastic yet informative. The latter does not come after long thinking, ponderance and inquiring mind. Without an outline, the book simply does not make sense. It becomes convoluted.

After that comes the title of the book. It has to connect with the audience.

Keeping these four aspects in mind, to my mind, is key to be able to complete a book in a reasonable time frame.

For example, I wrote the GameChanger with the American audience in mind. I selected the name “GameChanger” because of the main characters in the book like the president of Turkey and President Trump, along with the “modern Republic of Turkey.”

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

One of the most interesting stories in the book actually comes from another journalist in an analogy. As I was writing the history of the Turks in one of the chapters, I had to make the point of how vicious the Turkic race has been in the past and still has the same vigor today, if it is poked unnecessarily, meaning they have been warriors and they will be warriors forever.

So, I summarized the life of Genghis Khan, the most vicious Mongol warrior of all times that humankind has ever witnessed. Then there were two others equally vicious, victorious and venomous. They are Tamerlane and Atilla the Khan.

This particular foreign journalist who lived in Turkey for quite sometime and wrote regularly in a column in the Wall Street Journal that he represented was putting who the Turkic people are into perspective by saying: “Although Genghis Khan, unlike Tamerlane and Atilla the Khan, is not considered in the annals of the Turkic history as Turkic but Mongol, it is interesting that the mothers in Turkey today would be yelling after their siblings with their names like Chengiz, Timur, Atilla.

Simply put, I did not have to explain who the Turkic warriors of the past are or they would be today. With this anectode I was able to explain easily 2000 years of the warrior Turkic race but also reinforce the significance of wars in 1915, 1922, 1953, 1975, including the current skirmishes or clean up work in northern Syria and Iraq by the Turkish forces.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

Writing a book is different than talking about the book. They are two separate disciplines that one must master in their own style. Both are important to get the message across.

For me, writing my first book is like starting school for the first time when you look forward to the next class, school, college or life. It makes you go forward while you can. It tells you that you will eventually stop because of that, then go and run as fast as you can until you no longer can.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

I take inspiration mainly from the philosophers, some from the political scientists. Lately, I have no faith in political scientists. They have sold their soul to one side or the other.

History, geography, religion, spiritual approaches are also important to consider. Then of course, comes logic. Without that in the equation, there is no truth to build anything on.

As for the literature that I rely on, it comes from various backgrounds like Turkic history, Persian literature, Greek mythology, coupled with established French and American philosophers.

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

No idea if it has any impact yet. Hopefully it will impact one person at a time and many people eventually. The world is a big place, and no one has time to discover it fully. From that perspective, it is a long journey if and when and how it will impact the world, small or large.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

Get an education first. Learn your culture well and then other cultures which comes through learning languages. Without that, one gets information second hand and that is never good.

Also, don’t rely on the internet too much. That means: don’t take from others to pass it to others without checking, double checking and even then. Instead, produce original content yourself the hard way and then share it.

Does that mean to ignore technology and progress? No. It simply means that an author should write what an author knows best which comes after learning and experience. Nothing comes from nothing.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

I don’t start anything unless I know how it will end up. Even if it does not end as I would wish, I will finish it anyway. I don’t leave it in the middle. Good examples are in the kitchen or in the garden. I cook. I cook well. But sometimes it does not end up how I envisioned but none the less it turns out great in taste, presentation, etc. I also plant wine grapes, flowers, trees and I tend to them. Some grow great. Others may require a long time to nurture. The idea is to make them work on my own. Simply put, I don’t start anything to ask someone else in the middle of the road. I complete it one way or another by myself. I don’t believe in relying on someone else.

There is an exception to this. Before I ran for mayor in Palm Springs someone should have told me how vicious people can become when running for office because I did not expect to be physically assaulted. Democrats not only used force against me but also pulled all legal and influential strings that an incumbent would have the capacity to misuse. Hence, when they started to attack President Trump I felt “his pain” immediately. Apparently, power corrupts minds, darkens hearts and forces people to commit suicide by destroying their own personality, character and sense of belonging to the human race.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Anything that will be built around “tolerance” will bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people. One has to tolerate the mass of humanity to lead humankind towards an end to be judged after the fact if it was good or not. Tolerance is the name of the game because it will sustain the momentum longer than any other force. So, whether the idea is a product or service or political or military objective or humanitarian or charitable deed, the level of tolerance will make it last longer, be more effective or productive or results oriented.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://twitter.com/mayorgunasti?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/erbil.gunasti.3

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!

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