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BW Businessworld

Rahul Pandit, President & Executive Director, The Lemon Tree Hotels Company

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What are you reading at the moment? What did you recently finish reading? What have you learnt from it?
I am currently reading a compilation of Hindi poems ‘Deh Ki Bhasha (The Language of the Body)’ by an Orissa cadre civil servant, Suresh Kumar Vashishth. Many compositions are akin to Haiku and written from the cerebral first hand perspective of a son of the soil sharing reflections on love, lust, relationships, pain, nature and God. It is refreshing to read such sensory imagery celebrating love as the higher Maslow. I recently finished reading ‘Phantoms of the Brain’ is co-authored by Sandra Blakeslee with Dr. V. S. Ramachandran. This brilliant narrative illustrates through simple examples the architecture of the brain and how it impacts our decisions and the assessment of self and the environment.

The one book business leaders must read... and why?
‘Execution' by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Many businesses under-perform despite great strategies due to this missing ingredient for success, execution – the ‘how to’ of delivering results, the discipline of performance.

One book everyone in e-commerce should pick up... and why?
'The Google Story' by David A. Vise for lessons in building the world’s dominant e-commerce enterprise.

What kind of books would you normally buy while travelling?
'Know How' by Ram Charan, 'The Argumentative Indian' by Dr Amartya Sen, 'A Message from Arunachala' by Paul Brunton, 'Myth = Mithya' by Devdutt Pattanaik, '59 Seconds' by Richard Wiseman, 'The Art of Thinking Clearly' by Rolf Dobelli, 'Four Season' by Isadore Sharp...

Have you written any books?
I have written 4 case studies borrowing from the challenges, opportunities and learnings in the hotel business garnered over my last 11 years journey with Lemon Tree - from a start-up to India’s third largest hotel asset owner. In future, I may write stories for kids that I today narrate to my daughters
Aadya and Ananda. There are presently four story-lines:
a) Golu and Dholu, who love to eat and sleep and help solve problems with their friends – Gajraj (elephant), Chetak (horse), Shweat (pigeon), Champak (monkey), Tapkulala (an eccentric midget) and two lamas, Gyatsalen and Rinpoche
b) Zinko-Pinko who undertake adventurous journeys in their time machine with their 3-year-old sister, Sangini
c) Lucky, the girl who can bring to life whatever she sketches
d) Tara, the brave daughter of dacoit Shaitan Singh, turned the king’s general, who lives independently on the edge of the jungle and helps people and animals alike

The books you grew up with? What did you like most about them?
Enid Blyton, Tinkle, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Nancy Drew, Reader’s Digest, Chandamama, Champak, Nandan, Amar Chitra Katha, Phantom, Flash Gordon, Bahadur, Asterix, Tintin... They allowed me to dream awe and adventure.

Your book shelf consists of....
Different genres: Autobiographies, leadership, spirituality,  business, science, history..

Where do you shop for books?
Amazon, FlipKart, bookstores, airports...

Have your reading habits changed in the past four or five years? If so, how....
My consumption has dropped from 2 books a week to 3 a month.

One book that you received as a gift and you cherish... who gave it to you?
My dad’s unpublished manuscript on the Yama and Nachiketa dialogue in the Kathopanishad that he penned to share his wisdom with me, but didn’t tell anybody in the family of its existence till I happened to find it and then he lovingly allowed me to keep it.

The e-reader you read on...
Kindle Paperwhite.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 14-07-2014)

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