As India begins a new era of entrepreneurial boom, knowledge shared by India’s leading business leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs, can come in very handy for younger profesionals following their footsteps. In this edition, we profile the stories of six such CEO-authors, with the goal of inspiring many more leaders to write.
Over the last five years of conducting interviews with entrepreneurs, investors and CEOs in India, we’ve always worked around a focused goal: to share knowledge and learnings from the experiences of the leaders we speak to.
At the end of these conversations, we’ve had informal chats with our interviewees. We talk about various things; What inspired them to startup? Who are their role models? And the best advice they’ve received and so on. To our surprise, we noticed that several people drew inspiration from people they had never met or spoken to. In fact, books played a crucial role in shaping up ones thought process right from their student days.
Ramki Sreenivasan, an entrepreneur who founded analytics firm Marketics, said in one of our interviews: “While in college, I hardly attended classes. But I did read a lot of books by practitioners. Small is Beautiful by British economist E.F. Schumacher, NUTS! a book on Southwest Airlines, Ricardo Semler’s Maverick and Pursuit of Wow! by Tom Peters were all inspirations. These books taught me that one could become a non-boring business leader, igniting right brain qualities rather than left.”
If you grew up reading books like ‘Where have all the leaders gone?’ by Lee Lacocca, ‘What they don’t teach at Harvard Business School’ by Mark McCormack and ‘Only the Paranoid Survive’ by Andrew Grove, you would understand what Sreenivasan meant. These timeless books from renowned business leaders served as a mentor to many.
Closer to home, Subroto Bagchi’s books have had a great influence on young aspiring entrepreneurs. If fact, Bagchi’s book, The High Performance Entrepreneur, triggered the initial idea to setup The Smart CEO. R. Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, Tata Sons, also turned his observations and talks into books, where he shares stories from his personal and professional life with an aim of helping managers and decision-makers get a fresh perspective of the challenges they face.
However, we realized that by sheer numbers in comparison with the West, there were very few leaders who had shared their insights through a book. Yet, as a country, we are certainly not short of leaders. Nor are we short of wealth of knowledge gained from building several successful businesses.
It’s about time we bridge this disparity in terms of number of books our leaders publish. Start small. Start Blogging. As Apurva Purohit, the author of Lady, you are not a man! says, “When you start blogging regularly, it introduces you to the habit of writing, improves your language and helps you think and write clearly.”
In this cover story, we present to you six business leader-authors who speak to us about their writing journeys and why the only thing that is required to become an author is your intention to write and not the time, or the lack of it.
We hope that this edition’s story will inspire the author in you to come to the fore.