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BW Businessworld

Samir Dhir, Virtusa

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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 reading Napolean Hill’s classic, Think And Grow Rich. It is a motivational personal development and self-help book written in 1937! Almost 75 years since it was written, the book still holds relevance in today’s context. It has 15 powerful chapters and the core philosophy behind the book is, “Anything your mind can conceive and believe you can achieve”. It is a powerful read on achieving and sustaining enduring success. Further, another book I recently finished reading is Tina Seelig’s What I wish I Knew When I Was 20.
 
The one book all leaders must read... and why? 
I would recommend The Blue Ocean Strategy series. As organisations grow, people sometimes lose sight of fundamental goals and principles. In the book, demand is created rather than fought over. It helps you harness the organisation’s collective intellectual horsepower and fill that lacuna by exploring market spaces untainted by competition. The book elaborates on the ample opportunity for growth and profitability by leveraging the conceptual building blocks of value innovation, tipping point leadership, and fair process.
 
One book everyone in your sector should pick up... and why?
That would have to be Tina Seelig’s, What I wish I Knew When I Was 20. The book talks about the ability to take risks, the lessons that come from failures and how failures are very often the springboard to bigger success.
 
What kind of books would you normally buy while travelling? 
Some of my recent buys include: Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Open Source Leader: The Future Of Organisations by Sangeeth Varghese, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, What I wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig, Edward de Bono’s Think!
 
Have you written any books? If not, do you plan to write in future? 
Yes, I would love to write a book on a topic that is close to my heart – collaborative leadership and excellence. I believe these are not words meant to be used by chief executives alone but words applicable in our day-to-day lives. 
 
The books you grew up with? What did you like most about it? 
My favourite memories are that of reading books by Somerset Maugham, William Golding and others. I was quite enamoured by detective stories and Hardy boys, Enid Blyton, Famous Five were on my staple reading diet.
 
Your book shelf consists of.... 
My book shelf groans under the weight of predominantly…my books. I like to believe that I have an enviable collection of books across various titles/genres from philosophy, lateral thinking, psychology, management articles to books on leadership and excellence and a good many on art and literature.
 
Where do you shop for books? 
I prefer a good old fashioned bookstore which is well organised and has a good collection. I like to stay longer, dig deeper and see if I can find something interesting. I am not much into buying books online.
 
Have your reading habits changed in the past four or five years? If so, how....?
Not really. Though, I wish I had more time to spend on reading but I do manage to catch up on my reading during long flights and over the weekends. I know a lot of people prefer e-books to hardcopies but I have always found a sense of companionship with my books and therefore a hardcopy is what I prefer.
 
One book you cherish that you received as a gift... and who gave it to you.
I was a gifted a signed copy of Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy’s Execution: The Discipline Of Getting Things Done. I must say that it provides vital insights into the critical elements of any organisation: people, operations and strategies. The book talks about execution as a discipline and a system that needs to be built in a company’s strategy, goals and culture. I would definitely recommend this as a must-read.