Smiling Through Turbulence
In his book Smiling Through Turbulence, Patee Sarasin, shares the highs and lows he experienced
managing Nok Air, one of Asia's leading low-cost carriers. Patee co-founded Nok in 2004 and was
CEO until he stepped down in September 2017.
When Patee recounts his experiences in life and in running the airline, he also highlights the
lessons learnt. These are lessons people can apply to their own lives and businesses.
The book begins with Patee discussing the December 2004 tsunami that devasted parts of
southern Thailand. Nok Air had launched only a few months prior to this catastrophe. The
tsunami had a major impact on the airline's operations and pushed the business to the brink.
Patee talks about how the airline dealt with this crisis and helped the community. Nok Air flew in
doctors and medical staff for free, to the disaster zone, and evacuated people including the
injured. He explains that in a crisis, one will ultimately be judged - not by the crisis - but by how
one deals with the situation.
The airline also came close to the brink of financial collapse in 2008 when global oil prices were
high. Ironically, it was the global financial crisis that saved the airline, because it caused fuel
prices to plummet.
Patee was brought up straddling western and Thai culture. In the book, he gives insights into
how to work with Thai people. He also recounts his early experiences working in Thailand on
chicken farms where he learnt the 'real Thai' culture.
This book will be of interest to people who want to learn lessons in business and in life. Patee
speaks openly about the experiences and lessons he learned from running one of Asia's leading