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BW Businessworld

Rajiv Bhalla

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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 read A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink where he explains how abundance (over-supply), Asia (outsourcing) and automation contribute to the need for business to concentrate on cognitive or creative assets such as design, storytelling, teamwork, empathy, play and meaning. 
At the moment I am engrossed in Blue Ocean Strategy by W Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne. As I flip pages of this bestseller, the concept of value innovation unfolds itself to present a whole new dimension of approaching current market development strategies. It calls for a paradigm shift in strategic vision takes into consideration that market boundaries and industry structure are not given and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players. This "reconstructionist view" is especially relevant in an economy such as ours trying to remain resilient and competitive in today's market conditions. 
The one book all leaders must read...
Over the years, I have gained much from books on leadership, strategy and people management. Some of these notable books that I would recommend reading would be:  Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson which an excellent example of a metaphoric situation of individuals  and organisations dealing with change. Other books include Know-How by Ram Charan, The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker, Competitive Strategy by Michael E. Porter. 
One book everyone in your sector should pick up...
The latest trend in marketing is via social and online media. I believe these are two critical areas that help in not only reaching a vast audience, but also striking a connect with the current times. It is a fantastic vehicle for networking and marketing. The New Rules of Marketing And PR by David Meerman Scott.
What kind of books would you normally buy while travelling? 
As my itinerary is littered with many outstation visits, I try and make the most of the transit time by reading business publications such as Businessworld, Harvard Business Review and The Economist. These periodicals help to remain abreast with the latest in the corporate scenario and global markets. 
Have you written any books? If not, do you plan to write in future? 
Writing a book is the culmination of two critical elements - accumulated experience and availability of time. I may plan to put my thoughts on paper at a later stage in my career.
The books you grew up with? What did you like most about it? 
Like any adolescent, I too grew up reading Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie. Apart from novels, comic books like  Asterix and Tintin made enjoyable reading too.
Your book shelf consists of.... 
My book shelf is most occupied by strategy and marketing books. Amongst the noteworthy ones, I would like to mention,  Brilliant Marketing: What the Best Marketers Know, Do and Say by Richard Hall and Marketing Management and Strategy by Peter Doyle.
Where do you shop for books?
I like going to book shops such as Crosswords which provide me with a congenial ambience and a plethora of choice. I hardly shop online as a visit to a bookstore is also a rejuvenating experience.
Have your reading habits changed in the past four or five years? If so, how....
My reading habit has evolved over the years to imbibe more content in lesser time - speed reading if you may want to term it so. Books relevant to my domain are instant eye ball grabbers and I often experiment by picking new and upcoming authors over the names from bestsellers list.
One book you cherish that you received as a gift... and who gave it to you.
My boss gifted me Made in Japan by Akito Morita, co-founder & former chairman of Sony Corporation many years ago. It remains one of my most cherished books. 
A version of this was published in the Businessworld Issue dated 11 January 2009
(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 11-01-2010)

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