Hubert Burda Media

4 Questions with the Narongdej Brothers

Prestige sits down with the three brothers leading the KPN empire.

Prestige interviewed Kris, Nop and Korn Narongdej as part of our cover profile in March, 2016 – Kris was also the recent recipient of our Tastemaker Award for Leadership. Here are some of our favourite questions from that interview. 

How do you balance your lives and what are your thoughts about work, life, money and success?

KORN: I think it is kind of like a circle. Because, when you do your work with your heart success will follow, and when success happens money will follow. It is a cycle. All of those things need to work together, and you will have a balanced life. If you do bad work, then you might get only one of them. 

KRIS: I believe that we can have it all. I think most people have been taught in school that you must forsake health to get wealth, but I don’t think so. I have a bit of a self-trained mindset that we can have it all.

We can have success, wealth, health and good relationships ... its all about dissolving the restrictions in terms of belief. If you ask what my view is, I want to progress spiritually. I don’t believe that advancing spiritually means giving up the materialistic parts of your life. I think both can go hand-in-hand.

NOP: It’s very difficult to define success, even money. I think each person has his own goals. It is difficult to define them. I think, for me, I tell my brother all the time, if you have a billion and you are grump, wouldn't you rather have a million and be happy?

Having a billion dollars doesn’t help you eat more food, and it doesn’t make you any happier. The intake is the same. I would rather enjoy my time with my friends and family than spend my entire life trying to get as much money as possible.


How do each of you take care of your health?

NOP: I try to work out three times per week. I try to maintain that as best I can. I learned this from my father, most people do everything as hard as they can. At the end of the day, they end up using the money they made to buy back their health!  

I believe you have to balance everything from the beginning, which is better in the long term. My dad is 80, he still spends almost every day on the treadmill for an hour and a half, and he does two rounds of golf every week. You need to keep your health balanced. 

KRIS: I exercise almost every day. I do tennis. I do yoga as well. I try to make it to the gym at least three times per week. I swim almost every day. And, of course, food is very important. What you consume is very important to a healthy life. I eat everything except for beef. I’m not fussy about taste, the food just has to be clean. I can eat pretty much anything. 

KORN: I also exercise a lot. I like to exercise, because in the entertainment businesses we have to tell a lot of artists to get in shape or stay in shape if they want to be really successful. We tell them that they need to look after themselves, and I always make sure to take care of myself in that way too.


What activities do you three do together?

KRIS: We take vacations together a lot – both locally and overseas. For example, we went to Japan recently for a skiing trip. When we go, the whole family goes: my kids and Nop’s kids, and everyone else. We will all go as a family. That is how we spend time together.

KORN: Also, the three of us work in the same office, so at least two or three times a week we have lunch together there.

NOP: [Points to Kris and laughs] Every morning he will text me. The only thing the message says is: “When?” or “Where?” …

KRIS: [laughs] And vice versa also! The way we talk through text is very interesting. We just do it very, very shortly. We just say: “Where?” or “How?”

KORN: Kris only texts those two words, and those are his standard questions for everything.


Are there any luxury brands that you admire?

NOP: I think, like most guys, I love cars and watches – all the toys. Once you get older, your toys just get bigger and more expensive. I think I am the only one who, like my father, loves cars and wine. For cars, I love Aston Martin. I love the design. The driving experience might not compare with the German- or Italian-made cars, but the designs make them some of the most beautiful cars ever built. 

KRIS: I’m not a big fan of any brands at all. I always buy what I like, but I think it is reasonable that I’m not a brand guy.

There is a distinction between having a joyful life and a pleasurable life. Pleasure to me is very short-lived; you buy this and then that, and then pleasure is gone. But, to have a joyful life means that you have some kind of hobby that is continuous and long lasting.

KORN: I spend a lot of my money on clothes, which might not be so good actually [laughs]. In terms of that, I like Dolce & Gabbana. The thing is, I don’t normally shop in Thailand; I do it abroad. That way you always have something when you come back. 

Photographer: Apichart Chaichulla
Stylist: Jantima Smithavej
Makeup Artist: Romchalee Sorin
Hair Stylist: Paiboon Chencharatwat
Art Director: Kanda Charanawat

The Venue: The Narongdej Estate

You can read more about the brothers on KPN's website.