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BW Businessworld

Inspiring Lives

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The best way to predict the future, said Peter Drucker, is to create it. And those that try to do so are called, well in some parts of this planet, entrepreneurs. In its recent history, India has seen them in many hues and numbers. The country’s first generation entrepreneurs not just tried to create their own future, but they went to on to change the future of the country as well.

Yes, you got it right; we are talking about the likes of N.R. Narayana Murthy of Infosys and Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel. And they inspired a multitude of young men and women, who started impressive enterprises in the years to come. All these brave beginners have seen, among other things, the license-quota raj more closely than the post liberalisation generation would ever imagine. In The Captainship, a bunch of such young men and women -- the middle class flag bearers and poster kids of growth -- have written about their experience of growing up, tackling odds and their lives’ defining moments.

An interesting read, the book’s strength lies in the fact that the stories are narrated by the entrepreneurs themselves, and those small, merrily-usual, yet game-changing incidents they recollect. The book has its moments, like when a small kid (who would grow up to become Subrato Bagchi and set up Mindtree) is getting upset after learning his father is “married to” his mother. These funny and interesting moments make the book a refreshing read.

That said, the book lacks flow; the touch of effortless writing or, may be, good rewriting. This is the hazard that happens when you give people the same set of questions and ask them to answer them; and you end up with a monotonous narrative. The stories are good, but the writing is not, in most of the cases. For instance, in many cases, the narrative starts with a drab “I was born in 1972”.

Click here to read 'The Journey Of An Entrepreneur '

Of course, the captains of the industry may not be great writers; in fact, anyone who is an IIM or an IIT or both should not end up as a writer if the economy were to grow. What is important is that the entrepreneurs have achieved something and they have a story to tell about their success, roadblocks and the odds piled up against them. On that cue, despite the other glitches, these stories do justice to their theme; they inspire. And the stories are very different from the newspaper profiles. Stories are interesting because they tell you about the person, not about his net worth or his qualification, but about the little sorrows, joys, losses and gains. Reason enough to recommend these entrepreneurs’ stories for all interested in emerging India.

Although book editor Anya Gupta must have had a tough task at hand in compiling these stories, the book makes no mention of why and how these nine individuals were chosen to be featured. Anitha Balachandran is the illustrator of the book and in this compartment, the book fares quite well

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