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BW Businessworld

Charoo Aggarwal, Managing Director, Grass Roots India

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What did you recently finish reading? What have you learnt from it?
'The Collected Autobiographies' of Maya Angelou. She was one of the most interesting people in the twentieth century and that was even before 1969 when she became famous with her book. She was a dancer, singer, prostitute, pimp, friend of both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, an African revolutionary in Ghana, first female news editor in Cairo, and teenage mom at the age of 16.

The one book all leaders must read... and why?
‘Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t’ by James C. Collins is a must read for all leaders!

The book provides a valuable roadmap to excellence for any business. As the Grass Roots business continues to grow, we keep asking ourselves what else we could do to help make the paradigm shift from good to great. The book provides practical examples of companies who have raised the bar for long-term performance and further details what such companies have in common.

One book everyone in your sector should pick up... and why?
‘All In: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results’ by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton is one book that anyone who operates in our sector or is looking to invest in a performance improvement program must read. As an organization, you need to ensure that each person is moving towards a common goal and believe that what they do matters. How do you get your people to commit wholeheartedly to your culture and what can you do to push them to deliver outstanding results? Go ahead and read the book, I won’t give away any spoilers!

What kind of books would you normally buy while travelling?

While travelling I generally enjoy some light reading, so I would pick up books by Malcolm Gladwell, Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, etc. I also enjoy cooking, so if I’m travelling abroad, I may pick up a local cookbook or read about the culinary heritage of a place.

The books you grew up with? What did you like most about it?
Growing up I pretty much read anything that came my way, I loved reading Enid Blyton, English Classics or a good Agatha Christie. Thomas Hardy is still one of my favourite writers.

Your book shelf consists of....
We have a very eclectic mix of books at home; you’ll find anything from the Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama to Art of War by Machiavelli.

Where do you shop for books?
I either shop for books online or visit the Crossword bookstore in Mumbai. I love to pick up books from airport bookstores each time I travel.

Have your reading habits changed in the past four or five years? If so, how....
No, I don’t stick to any particular genre. I continue to enjoy reading books on fiction, management and strategy, interesting people, inspirational biographies, health and better living, culture and travel, cooking.I love reading my old time favorites’ once in a while.

One book you cherish that you received as a gift... and who gave it to you.

'Diary of a Young Girl'. The book was gifted to me by my fifth grade Library Teacher

Which is the e-reader you read on?

I still prefer the hardcopies of books to reading on an e-reader. The touch and feel aspect of reading a book appeals to me.

(Compiled by Sanjitha Rao Chaini)

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 03-11-2014)