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BW Businessworld

Bookmark: Hemant Kanoria, Srei Infrastructure Finance

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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 Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince by Anuja Chandramouli. It is a mesmerising tale of a warrior prince, Arjuna, brought to life in a very vivid and endearing way. The book beautifully captures two very strong aspects, first, the trust, love, attachment and affection amongst the five brothers while the second one, is the discipline and willingness to learn, which resulted in Arjuna acquiring skills and expertise from both humans and Gods.
 
The one book all leaders must read... and why?
Chanakya’s Arthashastra. It is a very interesting read, and provides deep insight into goal orientation, strategy making, conceptualisation, planning and development and facilitates in thinking through, every decision. The book wonderfully demonstrates how Chanakya’s indomitable will power was instrumental in helping him surmount the obstacles he faced.
 
One book everyone in your sector should pick up... and why?
Swami Vivekananda on Himself. If one wants to be successful, the person needs to introspect and understand oneself. He should know his strengths and weaknesses, so that the person becomes more effective. Swami-ji’s life teaches us how one can remain focussed on his business and professional goals even while living like an ascetic. This book actually enables a person to get closely acquainted with his true self. In the finance sector, people dealing with money have a tendency to become quite attached to all material things. The book will help one get detached and deal with money as a custodian.
 
What kind of books would you normally buy while travelling?
I normally like reading books on leaders, kings, conquerors and great personalities. I have bought books on Alexander, Akbar, Chanakya, Lord Rama, Krishna, Arjuna and Bheeshma.
 
Have you written any books? If not, do you plan to write in future?
I have not written any book as yet, but it definitely figures in my ‘to-do list’ for the future. I would like to share my experience which may be useful to some, so that they do not make the same mistakes that I did.
 
The books you grew up with? What did you like most about it?
My favourite books while growing up were Amar Chitra Katha, the novels of  Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, P G Wodehouse, the Hardy Boys series, Archie and Commando comics. These books tend to raise your spirits and fire your imagination.
 
Your book shelf consists of....
My book shelves are full of all kinds of books — from management to spiritual to fiction and biographies. As I love reading, I keep picking up anything interesting, which then becomes a valuable treasure on my book-shelf.
 
Where do you shop for books?
I shop for books either in Oxford bookstore or at airports or cities where there are good book stores.
 
Have your reading habits changed in the past four or five years? If so, how....
In the last four or five years, from management and fiction my reading habits have changed to philosophical, spiritua worksl and books on great leaders.
 
One book you cherish that you received as a gift... and who gave it to you.
As my family and friends know about my fondness for books, so I am regularly gifted books. On my 50th birthday, last year, my family presented me with a book wherein they had put down their thoughts about me. This is one gift which is very special to me and something I will always cherish.
 
Which is the e-reader you read on?
I usually like to read books which are in print as I can put my comments and mark the portions that I would like to re-read.

(A version of this interview was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 01-07-2013)