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BW Businessworld

Biswadeep Gupta, Riteverses Solutions

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What are you reading at the moment? What did you recently finish reading? What have you learnt from it?
I recently finished reading Winning The War For Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women Are the Solution by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid. The book provides well researched data on professional women working in developing countries and is a compelling, serious study of the hardships professional women face in these countries and how they are overcoming them.

Hewlett and Rashid provide real-life examples of women managers from BRIC countries and how they have successfully created a work-life balance by managing work, family and household chores. The authors note that developing nations have failed to create enough opportunities to ensure that women are not left out of the workforce. It is time that companies in India develop an environment where women can contribute equally as men since both sexes share the same dreams and have similar aspirations.

I am currently reading Imran Khan's Pakistan: A Personal History. The book demonstrates how a dashing world-class cricketer grew into a serious, development-oriented politician. I believe a man of Khan's ideals is the right solution for an end to Pakistan's woes.

The one book all leaders  must read and why?
C.K. Prahalad's Bottom Of The Pyramid is a book I readily recommend. Developing economies are the growth drivers for the global economy and the economic catalysts of the future. Prahalad rightly points out that the ability to develop products based on local and cultural nuances and customising them at the right price-point for customers living at the bottom of the pyramid is vital for the success of a global company.

One book everyone in your sector should pick up and why?
Ram Charan's Leadership In The Era Of Economic Uncertainty is a must-read. It provides invaluable insights for entrepreneurs and business leaders on handling difficult situations during economic crises and demonstrates how external factors or even small mistakes can wipe out companies or make them uncompetitive.

What kind of books do you normally buy while travelling?
I usually go for books based on leadership and management for insights on organisation creation. I recently picked up Larry Page and Sergey Brin: The Google Guys by Gail B. Stewart and Prafull Anubhai's The IIMA Story.

Do you plan to write a book?
I have several items on my wish-list, foremost in which is writing a book. Though my work schedule prevents me from pursuing this interest,it is my dream to write a book that will help future professionals handle start up challenges better.

What books did you grow up with?
My favourite memories from childhood are the time spent with Indrajaal and Amar Chitra Katha comics. Most of these focused on Indian mythology and the leaders of the freedom movement.

Your book shelf consists of...
I boast of a collection of some of the best titles from across genres, including management tomes such as Gary Hamel's The Future of Management, company success stories such as The Hitachi Story and Kishore Biyani's It Happened In India, biographies: Richard Branson's Loving my Virginity and Obama: From Promise to Power, as well as inspirational stories such as Mother Teresa's Come Be My Light and Subroto Bagchi's Go Kiss the World

Where do you shop for books?
I frequently visit Strand Book Stall in Mumbai because it has an excellent ambience and an environment that resembles a college library. They also offer value discounts. Crossword is another favourite.

Have your reading habits changed in the past four or five years?
Unfortunately, I get less time to read like I did earlier. Nowadays I read between work, flights and meetings. Despite the packed schedule, I make it a point to read as much as I can.

One book you cherish that you received as a gift?
A friend gifted me Nobodies To Somebodies by Peter Han when I started off as an entrepreneur. I must say that it has been of immense help. It showcases people who have become successful and top performers through sheer grit, determination and belief in their dreams. When I stared four years back, this boosted me a lot in my journey.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 14-05-2012)