[email protected]

Change agents in a 9-to-5 world

Chitra Narayanan | Updated on July 17, 2019 Published on July 17, 2019

Rashmi Bansal is known for chronicling the lives of entrepreneurs. Right from her first book Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish, which told the story of IIM-A graduates who struck out on their own, to Connect the Dots and Take Me Home, most of her books have told the stories of people with a bent for entrepreneurship.

Most of her books are feel-good stories of brave and successful ventures or people and meant to inspire. In Shine Bright, she deviates from her usual formula, training the lens, instead, on people who have made an impact within the ambit of their jobs. But the common element here, as with her previous books, is that these stories too are inspiring. “You are not stuck in a job — you too can be an agent of change,” is the central message of the book.

Given that India Inc is peppered with successful CEOs who have definitely left a mark, it must have been a tough task to settle on the eight people whose journeys she chronicles. Especially as it is a rather eclectic bunch, ranging from Unilever’s Nitin Paranjpe to Xiaomi’s Manu Jain and from Tata Chemicals’ R Mukundan to NITI Aayog’s Amitabh Kant. But from the acknowledgements it’s clear that word of mouth recommendations from Bansal’s IIM-A batchmates helped in the selection.

The choices are fairly interesting, and many of the stories draw out untold facets. For instance, the story of Dr Pawan Goenka, with which the book begins, and how he grew Mahindra Auto. It’s a story of going with gut feel and putting customers first. It’s also a highly emotional story as his wife struggled with cancer. Also fascinating is the story of Nitin Paranjpe, the high achiever at Unilever, who became CEO of HUL at a young age. Some of his insights, especially when he talks about society’s trust in business leaders falling, is hard-hitting.

The nicest part of the book is the message each of the featured person has for young managers. If Manu Jain says focus on the product, Goenka talks of having a purpose and also how a CEO’s job is to take an ordinary team and achieve extraordinary success. That can happen only if the CEO does not act as if he knows it all, he says.

Published on July 17, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor