Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Believe to Succeed like Azim Premji by Rajiv Agarwal (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

I have been regularly in touch with the book series initiative by Rupa Publications which is called as “Management Lessons From The Masters” where the author discusses about one of the most celebrated and authentic personality who is popular for his management and leadership skills. This time, I got my hands on the latest book, “Management Lessons From The Masters: Believe to Succeed Like Azim Premji”. Now who among us in India or even in world is not aware of this phenomenon known as Azim Premji! He has been one of my greatest inspirations and hence reading about him was a different experience altogether as much about him is not available in the online and offline world. Author discusses the same concern in the beginning of the book but still the way author has been able to write around 114 pages on him, his management and leadership skills is commendable.

The book is divided into 10 different chapters where each of them speaks about his characteristics and what made him what he is today. Each chapter begins with some testimonial spoken by some renowned personality or closest one of Azim Premji and then speaks about the topic in discussion and then ends with the Learning section where author discusses what he learnt from the actions of Mr. Azim Premji discussed in that particular chapter.

There are many great things to learn from this book as Premji’s attitude towards work has been very definitive and disruptive. From his family business being into vegetable oil and how it is totally transformed into an IT company where Wipro is identified as one of the major IT companies of India tells us about the challenges and risks Mr. Premji took. His frugality is widely discussed as to how he liked living as a minimalistic and took updates even of tissue papers in his organization. How he took actions against his employees in case people tried to manipulate expenditures and submitted vouchers with incorrect amount even if he/she was allowed to spend the amount mentioned in it. He believed in having a rule generalized for everyone as if 100 bucks are avoided in a junior-most position then a person at Top level shall make goof-ups of 10,00,000 bucks without any guilt.

Similarly, his philanthropic activities are shared with us which tells us how big-heart Mr. Azim Premji carries with him. He pledged to donate more than 50% of the revenues for charity purposes and right from the start of his career, he believed in sharing with the section of the society who were really needy of it. Along with this, I also loved how Azim Premji was the man of character where he didn’t allow his son to stay in the company’s guest-house when he went abroad to study as he believed that he wasn’t the employee of Wipro and hence didn’t have rights to use the Company’s guest-house.

There are many such incidents in the book which shall make you introspect on your behaviour and the organization you are working for and how you can bring the change being at whatever position you are. I really liked this short book which speaks volume and is definitely inspiring and motivating. I give this book 4.5* out of 5. Please do read if you are working in a Corporate structure or even in a Start-up. Recommended!



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Chronicler by Jvalant Nalin Sampat (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

3rd Book of 2020!

There are very few Indian authors who write thrillers in a way that makes you feel excited throughout your reading experience and therefore, someone like me, who loves reading Indian authors, find it very difficult to choose good thriller-genre books written by an Indian. But sometimes taking risk capitalizes which is what happened with me on my decision of buying “The Chronicler” from Amazon. The book is written by the second-time author- Jvalant Nalin Sampat in around 150 pages.

To start with, I will say a very wonderfully designed cover page which goes so perfectly with the theme of the story that after completing the book, I feel that I could have guessed the 40% of the story just through its cover graphics itself. Now talking about the author, I must say Jvalant is a very capable writer who knows what he is writing on and how much depth should he go in - in order to ensure the interest of a reader stays high rather than making him confused with the small detailing on the subjects. Jvalant keeps it very simple with this book regarding the concepts and geo-political scenario that he keeps discussing in the form of fiction. It becomes very easy to read the novel even when its subject allows complete liberty to the author to make it complicated and too intellectual to not be understood.

The way the current state of International relationships and politics is used as a base to create a fiction around it and how a Chronicler becomes a catalyst in ensuring that everything goes well for the innocent people makes the book interesting. The multiple characters in the book does make it difficult to read in pieces hence I completed It in two sittings itself which ensured that I am with the pace of the novel without getting riddled in the name of the characters. But still, the way author has handled multiple locations and sets/scenes running simultaneously to each other which keeps us thrilled is commendable. The last few pages are really a very good closure to this great fast-paced book.

Now talking about the drawbacks, I feel author should have used less characters in the book or given their references initially in a page itself for the readers to remember them. Secondly, though the book is fast paced but in the middle of the story, the things get slowed down which makes you wonder why things are not moving ahead. Author could have explored few scenes more which I believe in order to keep the story crisp, author kept it to the point rather than dragging it. I wished this book was 100 more pages with more stuffs happening among countries for power.

Overall, this is a good read and I give this book 4* out of 5.



Sunday, February 9, 2020

Age of the Imperfect Leader by Pawan Verma (4.25*/5) !!!

2nd Book of 2020!

There are many books that are published on the nature of leadership and what can be done at an individual level to become a successful leader. Most of these books talk about the pointers or diagrammatic representation of the specified points where it is expected for all of us to follow the same rule. This becomes quite boring to read- one and the same thing repeatedly as no one is able to offer anything different than what is already discussed in our management books. Thankfully, I got my hands on a book which talks little differently than other books on leadership named “Age of the Imperfect Leader” written by the author, Pawan Verma. The book also carries the tagline which says “Leading from strength”.

The book is written in a very simple language which can be read by anyone in industry or even in college as along with leadership, the messages it conveys can be implemented in any work that you do and not only if you are a leader. In around 240 pages, the book is nicely sectioned into different categories and chapters within the same. I liked how author speaks practicality in each and every sentence. I am in an IT industry in a mid-managerial designation where I get a chance to observe the new guys stepping into the industry expecting things to be customized as per them rather than having a generalized rule for everyone. And this is exactly with what author starts talking about leadership in the book which grabbed my attention.

Author talks about how we should keep utilizing our strength to ensure that our leadership benefits everyone with it rather than us struggling with empowering our weaknesses- a state in which a leader is himself in a confused state post which any positive result can’t be expected out from him. This is a little non-conventional idea as everyone talks about working on your weaknesses but it is something which shall really be beneficial as I have myself tested it since sometime. Author also talks about how imperfect leaders have been able to conquer their vision even with their imperfections only by using their strengths and skills they were good in. Majorly, author discusses what successful leaders have actually done rather than what ideally a leader is supposed to be for achieving success.

I liked how author talks about the benefits on collaborating and co-creating along with the concept of agile jugglers. How having a diversity in your workplace can bring perspective to the goal towards which your organization is working is also very nicely explained. The word “inclusion” is generally used in the books based on spirituality but it’s great to find how author talks about including the people of our community who are not as much blessed as us and grab their specializations too as they have the same skill sets or even better than the people we assume to be the best. I liked how lastly, in the last 2-3 chapters author gives great hope on leadership with new people.

I enjoyed reading the real-life examples that author has given. There are even excerpts and directly statements taken from the speeches or statements from the leaders whom we know due to their popularity but author helps us in understanding their style of leadership deeply. There could be controversies on few perceptions author gave on popular leaders but still, author went ahead and talked about it which I loved experiencing.

Overall, the book is a great-read specially if you are in higher studies or in a job profile. I give this book 4.25* out of 5.



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