Book Review: There’s No Such Thing as a Self Made Man

The Book ‘There’s No Such Thing a a Self Made Man’ is written by the late Pralhad P Chhabria, former Chairman of the Finolex Group.

I am a huge fan of Indian Business Biographies as they can teach us more about how to succeed in our own country.

Pralhad Chhabria hailed from a Sindhi family from Shikarpur. His family was very wealthy but things took a turn for the worse when his father died when he was only 12.

As a result, he began work at a tender age of 12 as a shopkeeper’s assistant helping with menial tasks , cleaning utensils etc

The author describes with rare candour the trials and tribulations he had to go through and it makes for a gripping read.

When Partition happened, like other Sindhi families, they had to flee their ancestral homeland with nothing on their backs.

The Chhabrias rebuilt their lives in Pune and the story of how he built the multi-Billion $ Finolex group is truly awe inspiring,

The author explains how he got into the cable business going from shop to shop in Pune. He describes how hard he had to work to get the Defence orders and finally his efforts in setting up his own manufacturing unit.

The author also speaks  about  his family.The author’s daughter died at a very young age of leukemia and the sadness seeps through the pages

There are many things to learn from the author’s incredible life story.

One anecdote which left an imprint on my mind was when the author meets a former servant of his. Now the servant has become his own master and the author has become someone else’s servant ! The author mulls the following thoughts:

“I realised, as never before, that unplanned events would occur without any warning, and life would keep changing.I understood that I should never be complacent about any situation I was in.And similarly, I understood that though my position at present seemed so hopeless, I must not despair because it would continue to change. No one could tell what tomorrow could bring !”

In another instance, he mentions the importance of networking.

“As a businessman, I also saw the need to have a circle of well-placed acquaintances. Every person who has something to sell knows the importance of being a member of a wealthy, influential circle and of having access to people who can buy or who can connect you with those who will buy”

Another very interesting aspect of the Book is where the author describes his relation with his Guru – Swami Ram Baba.

Swami Ram Baba preached :

“If you are poor- work !

If you are rich- continue working !

If you are burdened, with seemingly unfair responsibilities – work !

If you are happy – well, just continue to work !

Idleness gives room for doubt and fear.

If disappointment comes, please just work !

If your health is threatened – work !

When your faith and hope falters- work !

When your dreams are shattered and your hope seems dead- work !

Work, as if your life was in peril.

The truth is, your life really is in peril. So work !

No matter what ails you – work !

Continue to work – faithfully, dedicatedly and devotedly.

Work with Love, Faith and Patience.

Work is the greatest remedy

For every mental and physical affliction !”

This Book was a late revelation to me and I wish I read it earlier when it was first printed (In 2012)

Pralhadji passed away in 2016 and undoubtedly would have been saddened to see his family fight over his legacy

I would strongly recommend this Book to those interested in Indian Business.

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