Book Reviews

Book Review: God’s Own Entrepreneurs — The success secrets of 21 entrepreneurs from Kerala

James Joseph | Updated on: Jun 19, 2022

The variety of businesses featured in the book makes it as interesting as a Onam sadhya

Reading journalist R Roshan’s God’s Own Entrepreneurs was a trip down memory lane for me — from my final year in an engineering college to my unconventional decision to be an entrepreneur in Kerala, that too after working with companies in the Silicon Valleys of the US and India.

I started the book reading the story of the only lady entrepreneur to be featured in the volume, Pamela Anna Mathew, an economics graduate who completed her entire education from her home district in Kerala and built a ₹100 crore plus electronics components manufacturing business, employing an army of engineers in a village where I grew up. I was actually unsuccessful in finding a job in her company when I graduated from engineering college!

And, I finished the book by reading the story of the most successful entrepreneur in the spices business in Kerala, M. E. Meeran, whose son refused my request to include my jackfruit idea in their product portfolio. Instead, he offered me their food manufacturing and distribution expertise for 25 years thereby giving me the confidence to start my own venture in Kerala, that too in an industry I had no experience in.

Close mentors

Initially, I was reluctant to do this review as I personally knew many of the entrepreneurs featured in the book. Some are even close mentors. But the author surprised me with his unique ability to bring out the moment of crisis in each of their lives and how their decision to conquer the crisis head-on catapulted their start-ups to highly successful enterprises on a global scale.

The story of Yusuf Ali turning the Gulf War crisis into an opportunity and becoming the entrepreneur to have faith in UAE or the story of how Ravi Pillai bounced back from a union action with a handful of employees in Kerala to a start-up in Saudi Arabia, now employing more than a lakh of people or the tale of how Kris Gopalakrishnan turned around a crisis among the founders of Infosys to go for an early IPO which turned the company into a darling of the stock market forever is all confidence-boosting episodes for all entrepreneurs — be it start-ups or established ones.

Reinvesting success

Another interesting theme running across the book is how entrepreneurs who made their fortunes abroad reinvested their success back in India. Shobha Apartments, Aster Hospitals, and Lulu Hypermarkets are all examples of God's own entrepreneurs replicating their successful recipes from abroad back home in India.

The variety of businesses featured in the book makes it as interesting as the vegetarian sadhya served on a banana leaf during Onam, where the rhythm of flavours from each dish takes you on a trip on its own even for hardcore non-vegetarians.

A great mix of stories from traditional gold, spices, backwater tourism, and construction to modern retail, IT, Hospitals, and the world’s most successful ed-tech from a young man with a gift for teaching through entertainment. Finally, the payasam for the sadhya comes from the voltage stabiliser king Kochouseph Chittilappilli and Kris Gopalakrishnan with their strong emphasis on driving success through sincerity.

If there is any criticism, it will be for the author being more than generous in his praise for the philanthropy work of the entrepreneurs, which at times feels like a page out of their Padma Award recommendations!

But Roshan has done a very delicate balance in bringing deep insight into the ordinary beginning of their family to extraordinary accomplishments in their business and personal life, which is very reassuring for all young readers worried about the potential risks of entrepreneurship on their family life.

James Joseph, is a professional turned entrepreneur and author of God’s Own Office.

Check out the book on Amazon

About the Book
God’s Own Entrepreneurs: The success secrets of 21 Entrepreneurs from Kerala by R Roshan
Publisher: Notion Press
Pages: 191
Price: ₹239
Published on June 19, 2022
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