1.The Ambani saga : Ambani & Son
From the author of The Polyester Prince, the unauthorized biography of Dhirubhai Ambani, this book begins by drawing parallels with the character of Gurukant Desai of the Bollywood movie Guru released in 2007. Ambani & Sons is not just a rags-to-riches journey of the business tycoon or about the family feud between his sons Mukesh and Anil that followed after his death in 2002. It is about the complicated links between government and corporate houses. This the author does by tracing the history of Reliance Industries from Dhirubhai’s early days in Aden to his years as a dominant yarn trader to his entry into petrochemicals. Dhirubhai’s innate skills at recollecting names and faces or his ability to maintain relations or his capability to find loopholes in the law and use it to his advantage without doing anything that was unlawful has been drawn out well for the readers.
2. The HCL turnaround story : Employees First,Customers Second
Vineet Nayar joined HCL Technologies straight out of college in 1985 when the company was in its infancy with sales of less than $10 million. Over the next quarter century, the company — along with HCL Infosys tems, another group unit — grew into a $5-billion conglomerate. But there was a period of stagnation, between 2000 and 2005. Mr Nayar took control of the company about five years ago, when it was struggling to keep pace with its bigger rivals. This book talks about the HCL CEO’s strategy of putting ‘employees first, customers second’, a concept which turned conventional wisdom — of putting customers first — on its head. The company’s transformation won it international acclaim — Bloomberg Business week named it one of the top five emerging companies to watch, Fortune magazine said the company had ‘the world’s most modern management’. And ultimate recognition came when the Harvard Business School took up the HCL transformation as a case study.
3.Modern rendering of Arthashastra : Corporate Chanaky
Radhakrishnan Pillai, the author of this ‘guide for corporate success’, is a management consultant who designs various leadership programmes. Mr Pillai also has an MA in Sanskrit and a doctorate in Arthashastra, the ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy. He studied the text at the Chinmaya International Foundation in Kerala, before returning to Mumbai to launch a successful business career. Corporate Chanakya includes 6,000 aphorisms, or sutras, translating ancient Indian management wisdom in a modern format. The book, divided into three sections — leadership, management and training — focuses on quotidian issues that a manager has to deal with. The author dissects various themes, quotes Chanakya, the author of the treatise, and gives a modern Indian interpretation. Corporate Chanakya provides tips on topics such as organising and conducting effective meetings, managing time, decision-making, finance, strategy and the responsibilities and power of a leader.
4. Fascinating autobiography : simply fly
“This is not a ‘how to’ book,” asserts GR Gopinath right in the beginning of his autobiography. “It’s everything but that. This is just a simple story of a poor village boy, who after doing myriad things in life, built India’s largest airline.” For a lad who grew up in a distant village in Karnataka’s Hassan district, and who studied in a Kannada-medium village school till class VII, Mr Gopinath has indeed travelled a long way. One of his major achievements is enabling millions of ordinary Indians to enjoy the thrills of taking a flight, without having to strain their budgets, by pioneering low-cost aviation. The captain — he served the Indian Army, even witnessing action in Bangladesh during the 1971 war, before quitting to chart his own career — is a raconteur who has scores of interesting anecdotes, which he narrates in this fascinating autobiography. As another aviation maverick, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, says: “Captain Gopi’s fascinating story of rags to riches, almost to rags again, makes wonderful reading for any young
Indian setting out into business.”
5. The saga of the Nano : Small Wonder The making of the Nano
With an epilogue by none other than Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata, Small Wonder: The making of the Nano chronicles the behind-the-scenes activity in the making of the car that redefined the automobile world. The book recounts how Tata Motors’ employees put their heart and soul into making Mr Tata’s dream of a mode of safe and affordable mobility for middle-class Indians, a `1 lakh car, a reality. Balancing the budget of `1 lakh with the cost of the expensive parts that went into the car was a task that required innovative methods and technology from the team. The triumphs and setbacks at various stages of the development of the car is portrayed unvarnished through inputs from the employees involved in the process. Minutely detailed, this is a book that will occupy a place in the shelves of time because it chronicles a milestone in the history of the motoring world. As Mr Tata says: “This book also reaffirms the ethics and principles that sustain the Tata group.”
6.The Tata brand story :Tata The Evolution of a Corporate Brand
This is a book about the Tata corporate brand — what it is, how it has evolved, how it functions and what the perception of others might be. Morgen Witzel, an honorary senior fellow at the University of Exeter Business School and a senior consultant with the Winthrop Group of business historians, has authored 15 books on business and management. He is also a regular contributor to the Financial Times. Mr Witzel believes that given the growing size and international reach of the group — in 2009, 65 per cent of its revenues were from outside India — it is only natural for people both within India and outside to want to know more about the group, its brand and what that brand stands for. The author digs into the heart of the Tata group, describes its origins, how its reputation and image evolved and how the group worked to transform that image into a powerful and valuable brand. “One thing that the Tata group has done very well, over the past decade at least, is maintain the alignment between its values, its actions and stakeholder perceptions,” the author notes. “That, according to corporate branding experts, is the key to success.
7. Leadership conversations : The Leader Who Had No Title
Blake Davis, the fictional hero in Robin Sharma’s The Leader Who Had No Title, gets his tips on leadership from his mentor, Tommy Flinn. Blake enlists in the army and sees action in Iraq, where many of his friends are killed. But this is not a book on the war in Iraq, so that phase of Blake’s life is dealt with in just a few paragraphs. The interesting part of the story begins when the narrator, now working at a bookstore in So Ho, comes across “a most curious stranger… and the lessons he taught me in our all too brief time together shattered the limitations I’d been clinging to — exposing me to a whole new way of working and a completely new way of being.” Tommy engages Blake in four leadership conversations, which among other things, teach him how to work with and influence people like a superstar, regardless of one’s position.
8.Drawing the right lessons : Fault Lines
Prof Raghuram G Rajan, who has taught banking and finance at the University of Chicago for over two decades, was one of the few economists who had warned of the global financial crisis at least two years before it unfolded in 2007. “Forecasting at that time did not require tremendous prescience,” the professor of finance — who was also the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund from 2003 to 2007
— writes in Fault Lines, which analyses the global crisis. “All I did was connect the dots using theoretical frameworks that my colleagues and I had developed.” “I exaggerate only a bit when I say I felt like an early Christian who had wandered into a convention of half-starved lions.” Fault Lines outlines the difficult choices the world needs to make, however, it does not portray a gloomy scenario for the future and sees powerful reasons for hope today.
9.An unusual tutorial :When the Penny Drops: Learning What is not Taught
This is a must-read for business leaders, wannabe business leaders and anyone interested in running an organization, business or otherwise, successfully. R Gopalakrishnan has been a professional manager for 43 years — 31 with Hindustan Lever and 12 with the Tata’s — and has worked both in India and abroad. In this book, Mr Gopalakrishnan explores the three worlds of the manager — the inner world, the world of relationships and the world of getting things done. Packed with anecdotes and examples from global businesses, the author weaves a fascinating tale and conveys it in a non-didactic fashion. At the end of most chapters, the author provides crisp key messages, summing up the lessons. The book also provides insights from the lives of great transformers through the ages.
10. Sell well : You Can Sell
Shiva Khera, author of the best-seller You Can Win, has come out with a useful volume that gives interesting tips to would-be salespersons and even veterans on how to become good and professional sales people. The author discusses time-tested and proven principles — he makes a distinction between principles and tactics; tactics are manipulative, he notes, whereas principles are based on integrity, respect and
responsibility. In an era when many sales professionals — including tale-marketers — churn out razzmatazz about their products, but have no time to listen to the potential buyer, Shiva Khera emphasises on the importance of concepts such as ‘the power of silence’ and ‘the power of listening’. The author also focuses on the ‘Psychology of selling’, ‘Rules for letter writing’, and ‘Why sales people fail’, besides devoting a chapter to ‘Ethics’.