On this episode, I talk with world renowned eye surgeon, founder and executive director of the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu: Dr. Sanduk Ruit; and with co-owner of Oertli Instrumente AG, a Swiss-based medical device company: Thomas Bosshard. Both Dr. Ruit and Thomas have been carrying out impactful work in the field of cataract surgery. In our conversation, they share how they established a long-lasting collaboration leading to philanthropic activities. Dr. Ruit and Thomas speak very passionately about their work, how they see cataract surgery evolving, and they also give some advice to students interested to start a career in ophthalmology or the medical device industry.
At the end of the show, I ask all my guests the same set of questions to get a sneak preview into their favourite music or books. Here are the links to Dr. Ruit's answers. The singer he often listens to is Narayan Gopal. The book that particularly resonated with him at a specific time in his life is Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin. His all-time favourite book that he absolutely recommends is Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela. And here are the links to Thomas's answers. The book he is currently reading is The Four by Scott Galloway. The music that particularly resonated with him at a specific time in his life is from Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, and the song ‘‘Round Midnight’ by Thelonius Monk. His all-time favourite album that he absolutely recommends is Concert by the Sea by Erroll Garner.
In case you wish to have more information on a few points mentioned in our conversation, here are some useful links. The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal where Dr. Ruit currently works. The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation that awarded a prestigious prize to Dr. Ruit for his work. His biography is told in the book The Barefoot Surgeon by Ali Gripper. The Vision Himalaya Foundation that Thomas (Oertli Instrumente AG co-owner) mentioned. Thomas's TEDx talk: “Preventing Blindness - Bringing Light to the World” that I refered to in the introduction.
Hi everyone. Welcome to a new episode of Narratives of Purpose. I am your host Claire Murigande. On this podcast I bring you inspiring individual stories of ordinary people making extraordinary social impact. My guests today are Dr. Sanduk Ruit, and Thomas Bosshard. Dr Ruit is a world renowned eye surgeon based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He is the founder and director of the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. Dr. Ruit has been at the forefront of developing safe, effective and affordable procedures for cataract surgery, enabling blind people in the poorest countries to see again. He's also the recipient of several awards and recognitions, including the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award for peace and international understanding. My second guest, Thomas Bosshard, is co-owner of Oertli Instrumente. Oertli Instrumente is a family run medical device company based in Switzerland, which specialises in eye surgery. Our discussion today is centred around the disparities in access to cataract surgery around the world, and how both Dr. Ruit and Thomas successfully combined philanthropy with business in their collaboration. Please take a moment to rate and review the show by subscribing on your preferred podcast platform. But for now, have a listen to what Dr. Ruit and Thomas are passionate about, how they met in what they have accomplished through their collaboration.
Hello, Dr. Ruit. Hello, Thomas. A warm welcome to both of you on the podcast. Thank you. Welcome
Dr Ruit 01:50
Thank you Claire
It's a great pleasure to have you both on the show. And thanks so much for joining me today and taking the time to have this discussion. Now let me start with a few words of introduction. So Thomas and I met exactly one year ago, as we both embarked on our Executive MBA journey here in Zurich. And then a few months back in November 2020. Thomas had a TEDx talk, which was really amazing. It was titled, preventing blindness, bringing light to the world. And I have to say this, Thomas, you absolutely hooked me with the very first words that you spoke, you asked the audience to close their eyes, and imagine themselves going about their daily lives as a blind person. That was really powerful. And then throughout your talk, you went on to mention how you met Dr. Ruit And how you were really inspired by him because he dedicated his whole life, to fight blindness and provide care to the poor, and especially to bring the western standard of care to remote areas of the world. At that time, I thought that I needed to tell your story somehow, and really showcase your collaboration and all the great things that you have both achieved. So here we are. And right now, just to extend the introduction, I would like to give you both the word and maybe we can start with Dr. Ruit first. So can you tell me a bit more about yourself, and especially how you got involved with eye surgery.
Dr Ruit 03:30
Claire I'm Dr. Sanduk Ruit, based in Kathmandu. I'm part of an institute where we normally see about 1000 patients a day and have about 30,000 surgeries a year. And part of that is a lot of training for doctors coming from all over the world. And so this is really the institute that I work in. And when I was a general doctor, I had an opportunity to go on a field trip with one of my seniors in the far western part of Nepal. And in such an instance that I saw five children in the same family having cataract, congenital cataract, and having had surgery, and I just sort of was observing as a general medical practitioner. And as I saw those children the next day. It just amazed me that in such a short time you can make a difference in so many people's lives. So I started getting interested very heavily on eye surgery and, and going into that speciality that's how I got interested.
That's a really beautiful story. Thank you. And how about you, Thomas, what is your background and how did you get involved with eye surgery?
I was born and raised in east Switzerland. Pretty basic. So I went to regular school here in Switzerland locally and I did an apprenticeship, a commercial apprenticeship and then went to university to study business administration economics, as many people do here in this region. I spent quite a long time in the United States afterwards in New York where I for the first time really started to develop a feeling for our own for for the world for a diversity for culture, for different ideas, for the vibe of life, and so on, which was pretty much different to the eastern village here in Switzerland we are I came from. When I was back home at some point, when I started my professional life, my father already worked with us within our family company, Oertli which specialised in eye care, especially on cataract surgery and general surgery on the eye. And he started in the company back in the late 80s. And at that point, I was still a teenager or coming close to the age of a teenager back home. And that was also the first time I had contact with eye surgery, because at home he had those magazines, those journals. And you could see those colourful pictures of eyes, with people stabbing instruments into the eyeballs and doing some stuff in there, which reminds you more of a horror movie than of surgery. But that actually was my first contact ahead with eye surgery. And then over time it was actually never planned that I would start in my dad's company, but it somehow evolved because I showed a great interest in business and authorities. He's a very good businessman and interesting businessman and employer, and I thought after university, it would be cool to work a few years for him to start my professional career. Then later on my brother joined as well, but finally, was not meant to be a family company and started to become a family company. And in 2010, we took over the business from my dad, who then retired. Since then I've been leading the company, our family company with my brother with a wonderful group of employees here in Switzerland and serving around 1.5 million patients all over the world. That's how I ended up having eye surgery.
That's really fascinating. So you went from being a teenager who saw these pictures of eyeballs with instruments stuck inside them to leading the family owned company. That's amazing. Okay, so let's jump into the discussion. And start with defining cataracts, just to make sure that everybody understands what cataracts are, perhaps Dr. Ruit, can you tell us how cataracts are defined?
Dr Ruit 07:46
As your hair grows grey, with ageing, especially after, I think in the Western world, it's about 70 years, but in this part of the world, in middle and low income countries, it's quite common to find it above 60. Also, the eyes start to get a little blurry. And the clear lens, which is sitting inside the eye, which helps to focus things normally is crystal clear. And with the process of ageing, this gradually becomes opaque. And in your part of the world, as it becomes a little bit opaque, you have a difficulty in driving and difficulty in reading, it's time for you to go for surgery. But in this part of the world, the cataract tends to be fairly advanced by the time we see the patients coming to us. You know, it's like it's difficult to recognise people, it's difficult to walk around. And very often it's totally blind. And right now, presently, if you look at the global situation, you know, there are about 20 million people who are absolutely blind with cataract. And another, I would say close to 70 million people who need to have surgery. So I would say that about 100 million people in the world actually need to have cataract surgery. Of that 20 million I am absolutely blind. And the beauty is that the surgery is so predictable and so good that it's one of the most cost effective medical interventions, medicine ever knew this is what I say because I love what I do, but it is true. I think it's one of the most impressive cost effective medical interventions ever.
I was actually looking at a video report recently mentioning the work that you were doing in Kathmandu. And they talked about a specific technique that you had developed. So the surgery lasts only five minutes and does not require any stitches. And people would recover to almost full sight the next day. Can you tell me about that?
Dr Ruit 10:30
Yeah, Claire, you know, there have always been two types of medical intervention in the high income and low income countries, unfortunately, we often like to call them the children of the Lesser God in this part of the world. But, I believe that vision is such a thing, that it has to be of the same quality for everybody. And, as it was, in the beginning, it was not possible to do the type of surgery that was done in Zurich, or Geneva, or New York, in this part of the world, because it was very expensive. It was very complex. So what I did over the period of almost 10 years, simplified the surgical technique and made sure that it's less costly. And, again, it had to be tested, and done in a randomised trial with some of the ones which are done in the best places in America, and I found that the results were compatible. So that's what it is about the low cost, high quality, simple surgical techniques that we really helped to develop in Nepal, and took it outside to many other countries.
So you mentioned that you took it to many other countries, can you tell me in which part of the world?
Dr Ruit 12:02
I would say into many countries, just to list some of the countries that we have been is India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh is Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, North Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, all these places, some of our team members have been there, or some of the doctors from this part of the world have come to Nepal for training. And it's just that this is simple, low cost and gives equally good results. This has been wonderful, really, it is working. So good. And sometimes people often call this a reverse invention, something which was developed in a very poor country like Nepal, and now it's being used in other countries.
That goes to show that innovation comes from everywhere, right?
Dr Ruit 13:00
Everywhere, you know, human brains are everywhere the same.
Exactly. So Thomas, I'd like to know what your company has been doing in this area and specifically for cataract surgery?
Well, I might have to open this up a little bit, not only to the developing world because cataracts are an issue all over the world. In our region, it's just not seen as a problem because it's a problem solved, as Dr Ruit said, as soon as your eyesight is decreasing, a little bit gets a little bit hazy, you go to the doctor you get a topical anaesthesia. And one hour later, two hours later, you go back home. And the next day, you can go swimming again, and you have clear eyes and even better vision than before. So it's a complete problem. And it's one of the few surgical interventions where you really feel better afterwards than before, because you get back your quality of life. And this has been forgotten probably in our region, because it has become a proper standard of care completely covered by insurance. It's even a very strong discussion whether it's too costly or not, and so on. So it really has become kind of a commodity in our region, unfortunately, which sometimes makes people forget how far developed this procedure a) is and b) what it does to our lives. And then of course, in the developing world, you have a completely different situation where it is a huge privilege for many to get access to this surgery to get their eyesight back to be able just to move around their life. So the needs in those markets are basically although this procedure is the same, the needs are much different. In the Western world. It's much more towards lifestyle medicine. So you have Femto-Laser coming in which is supposed to make even more smooth surgery. It has very special lenses accommodating lenses, and they are implanted so that you can get rid of your glasses and so on. So it's very far from the details. In the developing world in my opinion, it is way more about getting the surgery to the people and help to get this mass of people who have no access to the procedure, get them treatment and help them to see again. So basically, in the developing world, you are much more on an investment market where you basically have capital goods, now you have small machines, which we're trying to bring into the market, which are more vital, and very also have to train a lot of doctors with big eye centres, and so on and outreach patients that people can get surgery, whether in the Western world, it's much more towards sterile products, which you sell on a daily basis, because everything has to be sterile and is used just once per procedure. Also the equipment which you have from Western markets in terms of features and complexity, they go probably beyond that, what you put into a machine which is sold in the developing world, but the interesting thing is, you do not make any compromises on performance of the equipment. So don't mix up features and performance. The performance of the equipment which we are producing in which we are trying to bring out of the market, according to our slogan, makes it more simple, more efficient. And a better outcome for the patients means that you do not make compromises on the performance of the equipment. Maybe you have less features in terms of settings and stuff like that, or usability, but the performance of the equipment at the end of the day, and that the patients can be treated. However difficult the eye is that needs to be operated on, the doctor can perform a surgery in a way that we really can make a difference after.
That's a very important point. And I couldn't agree more, because it also goes back to what you were saying earlier, Dr. Ruit is that vision has to be the same for everybody. And we need to have the same standards everywhere. Now let's come to your collaboration. And first of all, I'd like to know how did you both meet? Can you tell me about that? Thomas, please go ahead.
Yeah, I can start because it's a funny thing. It's a really funny thing. Thomas, from Vision Himalaya introduced ourselves. So Thomas Büchli, who really needs to be mentioned here as well, who built up Vision Himalaya or former Vision Tibet in the early days, what it was called, he got funds and when he got funds he was bought equipment from us to then donate it to those countries or especially to Ganga Hospital, where we are doctor who was working and was leading all those projects. And he approached me and he told me that Dr. Ruit is so much in love with our equipment, and he would love to come to Switzerland and see our company. And of course, I would also like to give further advice and to point out the importance of the work they do so that we can support them. So yeah, at some point, Dr. Ruit showed up in eastern Switzerland together with Mr. Büchli in the morning standing in front of our company and that's the first contact we had and I would say it immediately clicked between us because he was so full of passion. And he was so convincing of everything he thought and said, he was completely authentic in his thoughts. And one thing that amazed me, besides giving very good input, how we could further develop our products was he had a complete sense of how the world works. And that charity work can only work successfully, if it can be part of a business ecosystem. And that was extremely interesting. So he would never come to you and ask you to please donate, we have no money. And we have only poor people. No, he always had a tremendous pride and also in a very intelligent way, found a way to discover how you can work with companies in those regions on highly sophisticated products in a total low cost region in a way that participating in the ecosystem can bring jobs in a high income country like Switzerland. And that was very interesting. That was something which went on until today. So first of all, it was how we started to understand the market, the market needs from the developing world and also how beautiful it is to work with these people and how much sense this work gives to our company and to our people. And on the other hand how we were really able to develop good work and good jobs here in Switzerland to fulfil that need in a total win-win situation. That's a storybehind it. And of course, meanwhile, it was scalable in so many ways.
So Dr Ruit it, now, I'm curious to know your version of the story.
Dr Ruit 20:21
Claire, likewise, I would really like to remember very, very fondly, great friends of mine, Thomas Yangchen Büchli. And also, I would like to remember a suite of technologists who have been working for a long time with me called Roman Graemiger. And these are the people I had already been working with and using the Oakley machine. And I was fascinated by it because you get so many machines in the market. Oakley, I'll talk to you a little bit about it a bit later. But, you know, because of the way I fell in love with this little yellow box, I call it, since my friends were Thomas and Roman, I had a desire to go and look into the factory, actually. And what really fascinated me was multiple stationery for putting the machines together, there was so much precision, at every step, even the smallest of the screwdrivers, and the smallest of the, you know, the chips, it was taken, and manufactured with such quality precision. But the other thing that I liked was in this company, all the people were working with great passion, there was some kind of positive vibe inside the company, I'm telling you now, because this is something that I found very special, that positive vibe, which is a very healthy thing to see in a family, or in a working station. And I was very impressed. You know, this machine that Thomas's company Oakley makes is so good. It is compact, and it is robust, I can carry it on the back of a donkey, I can take it on two plane in engine, I can take it on a four wheel drive, I can take it on a ship, on a raft, it has been to the highest places in the world. We did surgery at 15,000 to 16,000 feet in Tibet. And we have taken it to North Korea, we have taken it to different islands. And in Indonesia, we have taken it to Ethiopia. And it has such low maintenance, it's really, really fantastic. We did suggest some modifications which were very timely done. And I hope the uses of the instruments are going to continue to strongly be global, because it is going to help us further increase the number of surgeries we can do, increase the quality we can do, not only for me, but for 1000s of my colleagues around the world. And that's the value that these machines take. I was also fascinated by the professionalism in the family. And then I thought this is a nice place where we can combine charity with business and like Thomas already said, our philanthropic work. I'm pretty sure we'll be friends for lifelong, we'll continue our work, make it stronger and stronger.
Well, that absolutely sounds like a very fruitful collaboration made to last I have to say. Just one point. Dr. Ruit, you talked about this yellow box. Can you explain exactly what that is?
Dr Ruit 24:12
The small yellow box is what we call a phacoemulsification machine. And it's one of the most important parts of cataract surgery. And if you don't have a good emulsification, you cannot do a modern cataract surgery, you know. So that yellow box is really something
Right now I'd like to have a discussion on the current global pandemic that we're all facing with COVID-19. And I'd like to know, what challenges have you been dealing with up until now? And what is the situation like for you at the moment? Perhaps let's start with you Dr Ruit. How was it in Nepal?
Dr Ruit 24:53
Claire, we had a lockdown for about six months and a very, very small number of surgeries except for casualty surgeries, no cataract surgery. And for the last two months, you know, patients have been coming back. But for the last 15 days now, I think our volume is getting much better. There has been an increment in the backlog of cataract, even that is for six months, you know. So I would consider that these people, some of these people have, you know, unnecessarily been blind for half a year. And we're seeing the surge of more advanced cataracts coming for examination and for surgery. And likewise, in other parts of Nepal, and some of my colleagues and other parts of the world, almost similar situation. But I think, luckily, things are falling back into normalcy slowly. Over the last 15 days or a month, we're getting closer to the normal level of patients coming to hospital for treatment now. Still, because of COVID situation, the distance, and everything else, our efficiency is less. And we have to follow very strict protocols for examinations, it takes longer hours, and less patients can come to see us.
And how about you, Thomas? What's the situation like for your company?
Well, the eye surgery market last year has been heated dramatically, I would say. Because there was a long lockdown in the western world going on for close to three months where all the operating theatres were closed, because eye care was not life threatening surgery, which I understand. And we did not know what's going to happen with COVID, and how it's going to turn out. So I don't blame anybody for this. And that of course you could see in your books, because if there are no surgeries done, then you don't make any turnover. And the same is in the developing world where the investments of many countries just went back. And no new machines or less new machines have been purchased. That we could feel, of course, and then what as Dr. Ruit said, What you also see here in our region is that now that surgery is back to normal, the procedures will lower because there are so many more security procedures, which need to be done due to COVID. And then per day, you can't do surgery on so many patients and others, of course, I understand that some people are also hesitating to go into the ER at this point. That's the current situation now. So I would say we are approximately 75%, maybe 80% what the market normally would give. But you have to see that cataract surgery and eye care in general is in the long run a growing market with around market growth, I would say between three to four and a half percent, depending on the region worldwide. And this is still because people worldwide are getting older and people are getting better access to medical health care worldwide. And also the equipment and training and just the access is getting better, which is allowing worldwide to give better care to the people. So in the long run, I'm very much convinced that the market will come back. I don't know if it's going to be like this for one year, two years, six months or whatever. We will see, but in the long run. I'm sure it will be picking up.
That's really good that you mentioned the long run and the future. Because this actually brings me to my next question. I'd like to ask you, how do you see cataract surgery evolving? I mean, you just mentioned right now that people are getting older and are living much longer. So the need is increasing. Are there some areas where you see improvement and innovation coming soon? Dr. Ruit? What is your take on that?
Dr Ruit 29:16
I think cataract surgery is going to be much more user friendly and less invasive. And we are already doing cataract surgery without anaesthesia, without injectable anaesthesia. I think there is going to be some improvements in the different types of intraocular lenses that are used, the machine that Thomas actually manufactures may evolve a little bit, you know better in terms of how it cuts the cataract and how fast and how less damaging it cuts. I would say these are some of the things that can happen in the future. I must add I was amazed and I love to see the Bossyard family, especially Tomas and the only company having a very strong commitment for prevention of blindness in the low and middle income countries, unlike many other commercial companies, and this was very special, I really respect with that concept, of combining charity with business.
Yeah. So, Thomas, what is your perspective from the manufacturing side?
Well, there's always room for improvement. And I see a few drivers. I believe that especially in the high end surgery in the Western world, we will see dramatic improvement in terms of visualisations. So right now, you're still working most of the time through a microscope, but now the 3D screens are evolving, and you have your whole comping in front of you, it's called Heads-Up Surgery for I believe, that is definitely something which the visualisation of the actual procedures is going to. And I believe we will see a dramatic shift in all diagnostics, thanks to artificial intelligence. So for instance, we already know that these days, they have engines, which have been recently developed together with Google that when you do a retina scan, they immediately know whether it's a woman or whether it's a man, whether the person has been a smoker, whether it's the left eye and right eye and stuff like that. And we do not know actually how the AI figured that out. So in terms of diagnostics, I see dramatic shifts in the middle to the long run, I believe that the products will become more and more user friendly, that the young surgeons now coming into daily work, they are a different generation than I am and they are even a different generation thing Dr. Ruit is and they were growing up with mobiles etc. and they have different behaviour, they have a different lifestyle. So the products, even in medical care, must evolve in that way. So usability is a very important customer journey and so on. I believe there is a big, big room for improvement and optimization of certain surgical steps definitely is in discussion. So whenever you can speed up to put through surgery without compromising the quality of the surgery, this is something that is very welcome. And I also believe that there are probably some services in the future, which companies can offer that the doctor actually gets back more time for the patients. So in terms of digital patient files and stuff like that, you have to write into western wrote so many things down after the procedure and taking so many notes that there is room for improvement, that you actually can give back time to staff and the doctor so that they have more time on the patient, there I see things as well. And then it's also another side, which is a huge showstopper in terms of innovation, in eye care. And in med tech in general. And this is the whole regulation, which is becoming more and more crazy, like to see marking with the medical device regulation, like the FDA in China or the FDA in the US. It's becoming very, very tough to develop medical class products, because you have to fulfil so many aspects to get your products approved. Smaller innovations often say no, we're not going to do this. It's not worth the time. But that's a little bit, the drawback of the whole situation. But I'm very confident that it's an exciting time.
Now I'm still looking forward to it. What would be your advice to younger people who are eager to pursue a career either in the medical device industry like you, Thomas, or in the field of Ophthalmology? Dr. Ruit, you said in the beginning of this conversation that you have a training centre, so you are already in contact with younger doctors. What is your advice to them?
Dr Ruit 34:16
I am so positive and so passionate about the work that I do. I'll tell you, we get medical students coming over from different parts of the world for an elective. These are general medical students, and let me tell you that of these medical students, maybe about 100 would have come and visited and worked with us and after 100, 70 went on to become ophthalmologists. So, I mean, it's a very high rate and I would say that this is a branch of medicine where you can encounter the positive aspects of medicine, which has not generally been true in many other branches. And it is such a quick-resulting and sometimes if the cataract is very dense, the result is so fundamental. It's almost like a fairy tale sometimes. I'll tell you I always describe to the students an incident that I went through when I operated on a young lady of 27 or 28 years old, who had given birth to a baby about three years ago, and that lady had been blind for almost 10 years, and left in the very corner of a difficult, hidden geographical place. And after she had surgery, and you could imagine, the lady who was totally blind, could see her young three year old son that she had nurtured in a womb for nine months she had never seen him. And I describe this to youngsters, and we like this story. Because it's so powerful, really. And every time, I vividly remember it, I get moved. Even now I get moved. What a profession.
That's an absolutely moving story. Thank you so much for sharing that. Thomas, how about you? Do you have any words of advice?
Is the medical device industry such an interesting field? Well, first of all, at the base, you basically make products, which help people in the world, and you can make a living out of it, that's a wonderful thing. And especially today where we're talking so much about purpose, there is so much purpose behind it. And that's cool. And people love that. And then when you're in the medtech industry, especially when you are making a little bit more complex machines, we have so many different aspects of work, I mean, you have electrical parts, you have software engineering, you have mechanical parts, you have testing, you have regulations, then you have all kinds of different new technologies, okay, you have topics like AI, which is coming in, you have 3D printing, which is starting to evolve in this industry, then you have stereo production, you have packaging, you have instruments to connect, you have titanium you have whatever kind of materials you're using. So it's extremely diverse. And that's fun. And on the other hand, even on the product side, I mean, you have local product management, you have customer journeys, you have design thinking methods, which you're using, and finally you can sell globally. So you find so many aspects in a huge value chain, where it can be a part of, and this is something I believe people praise very much like they have everything under one roof. And most of the people who start with us, so we have many students doing work for us like master thesis, or they do an internship or whatever. And we always try to give them interesting work, where they really can figure out how things work and where we give them the trust to be a part of that. And most of them are just fascinated by being able to contribute something, try something out and be part of that ecosystem where so many different things are happening. So my advice, if you want to go to the medical industry, find a company where you can do an interesting internship to have a look at it, or apply for a master's thesis or whatever. And that's probably the best.
That's really great advice from both of you. Thanks a lot. And before I let you go, we are now at the last part of our show. And I would like to take the time to get a sneak preview into what you are both reading and what music you're listening to. So are you ready for my quick three questions?
So let me start with you Dr. Ruit. First question. What book are you reading right now? Or What music are you listening to constantly these days?
Dr Ruit 39:23
I like to read a lot of autobiographies. And the book that I'm reading at present is called Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin. This is about a boy who was sort of found during the Cultural Revolution and from a very small village went to a dancing in school, who later on became one of the best dancers of the maler dancers for the world in Houston Ballet sometimes I tend to Imagine similarly, because I'm also from a very, very poor part of the world, and my village is in a poorer place. So it's the struggle that, you know, Li goes through, it's very interesting. And most of the music that I listened to is Nepali music may not be very interesting to you. I love Nepali music, particularly Narayana Gopal. All love songs.
That's great. It's the first time that I have Nepali music referenced on the podcast. So I will make sure to search for the singer online. And now the same question for you, Thomas. What book are you reading right now? Or What music are you listening to?
Well, I have to say that I'm not reading books these days, I listened to them. So the book I'm currently reading is The Four by Scott Galloway. And it's about the hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. So it's quite an interesting book to hear about. Actually.
Second question. Now we'll start with you, Thomas. Is there an artist or a song? Perhaps even a book that has particularly resonated with you at a specific time in your life?
Well, I actually have a few. But if I have to pick when it's about a musician or an artist, it definitely would be Julian Cannonball Adderley, which in my view, is the most underestimated alto and later soprano saxophone player in jazz music we have ever seen. I love his sound all the way through his appearances, his performances, his compositions, his warm, truly soulful sound is something I can always listen to. And if I had to pick a song, it probably would be Round Midnight, composed by Thelonious Monk, which I believe is the most beautiful ballad ever written.
And then the same question to you, Dr. Ruit. Is there a specific book that has been special for you throughout your life?
Dr Ruit 42:24
One book that I can know, I've read twice and it really has vibrated inside me. And if I go back, I can always talk about it. It's Nelson Mandela's autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom. And it's such a beautiful book, I don't see any other book like it.
The third and final question, what is your all time favourite book that you absolutely recommend? I believe Dr Ruit, this is the one you just mentioned, right?
Dr Ruit 42:54
Yes, yes, I would recommend The Long Walk to Freedom, the autobiography of Nelson Mandela.
And what about you, Thomas? What is your all time favourite album?
If I have to choose a specific album, which I can't listen to enough or I could listen to over and over again, it would be a Concert By The Sea by Erroll Garner recording in 1956, something like that, a wonderful jazz album. Such happy and soulful music full of energy. So you can see I'm a big jazz fan.
Yes, I can absolutely see that. So Dr. Ruit, Thomas, thank you so much for this wonderful conversation. Thank you for sharing your experience with me and talking about your work. It's been really great having you on the show. Thank you. That was episode seven, a conversation with Dr. Sanduk Ruit and Thomas Bosshard. Both Dr. Ruit and Thomas are passionate, committed and dedicated people I deeply admire. You will find a wealth of resources online presenting Dr. Ruit's accomplishments, as well as media coverage, including documentaries, reports, articles, and so on. In case you wish to learn more in a book, his biography titled The Barefoot Surgeon is available in online bookstores. I also recommend you watch Thomas's TEDx talk titled Preventing Blindness Bringing Light to the World. All these links and references in addition to those from our conversation are listed on the podcast page. Simply type in your browser narratives-of-purpose.podcastpage.io and click on this episode. Thank you so much for tuning in today and listening to this new episode. I really appreciate you taking the time. Make sure you follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter to get timely updates until the next episode take care of yourselves stay well and stay inspired.