Business Maharajas

Business Maharajas

3.75 (346 ratings by Goodreads)
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The eight business maharajas profiled in this book are among Asia's most powerful industrial tycoons. Between them, they employ some 650,000 people and affect the lives of many millions more. Piramal shows how these enormous empires came into existence, how they survive in today's competitive environment, and their leaders' vision for the more

Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 130 x 192 x 30mm | 421.85g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • bibliography, index
  • 0140264426
  • 9780140264425

Review Text

Like the territorial rajas of the past, the business maharajas of today's India rule vast empires. Business Maharajas profiles eight modern-day businessmen who have had a significant impact on people's lives and who will continue to be influential into the next millennium. Whether one switches on a light, sips a cup of tea or listens to music, in India one will find that ultimately one is consuming products manufactured by companies belonging to one or more of the maharajas. Together the eight maharajas (Ambani, Bajaj, Birla, Goenka, Khaitan, Bharat Shah, Vijay Shah and Tata) control sales of approximately 550 billion rupees through over 500 companies employing over 650,000 people. However, there is no standard route to success, and the businesses of the maharajas are as distinct and varied as their backgrounds. Some are educated, with MBAs and higher degrees, others are high-school dropouts; some are inheritors of family wealth, others self-made; some make it in their thirties, others later; some dominate a particular business, others control more than one industry. For example, two empire-building-hungry maharajas achieved their successes through entirely different career paths. Dhirubhai Ambani struggled in his meteoric rise from a humble petrol-station attendant to chairman of his own multinational conglomerate, Reliance Industries, needing to rewrite management theories, fight the Indian media and make friends with prime ministers along the way. In contrast, though probably with no less difficulty, Aditya Birla, from a background of family wealth, achieved success through adhering to the principles of strong business discipline and building 2.3 factories annually, on time and within budget, for 30 consecutive years. Drawing upon interviews and exhaustive research, Piramal does well to reveal the secrets of success of the business maharajas. Although the book focuses on Indian businessmen, it has much relevance to other businessmen. All eight maharajas followed fundamental and simple management rules: hire good people, treat them well and delegate responsibility. They shared three characteristics: focus, energy and obsession. This is a highly readable and appealing book. However, readers should note that it has been written as a set of business biographies, rather than an upfront book on Indian management strategy. Business Maharajas is a rare example of a book on Asian businessmen. (Kirkus UK)show more

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346 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 22% (75)
4 39% (135)
3 33% (114)
2 5% (19)
1 1% (3)
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