This post is in continuation of my book review series (see here)
G.D Birla,the founder of the Birla Group,once said “Indians can’t write biographies,they can only write hagiographies.”
I had this fear in mind when I picked up Havells,the untold story of Qimat Rai Gupta as it is written by Anil Rai Gupta,the current Chairman of Havells and son of Qimat Rai Gupta (Founder of Havells).
However I found the book to be a very interesting read.It traces the journey of Qimat Rai Gupta who started his life selling kerosene on a cycle near Ludhiana to one of the richest men of India.
For a student of Indian businesses,there are lots of learning points in the book.For instance:
- How the dealer network in India works
- How Qimat Rai had to partition his business thrice-once with his uncle,then with his own brother and then finally and shockingly with his own son
- How family businesses are run and the ‘Aurangzeb Syndrome’
- Why fathers and sons distrust each other if running the same business
- How Mumbai distrusts every person and every company from Delhi
- How cash flow management can be optimized
- Lots and lots of pithy advice/insights & anecdotes
There is one anecdote that I liked
Qimat Rai was planning to acquire MNC company Sylvania. He approached Arvind Dham of Amtek Auto for advice. Arvind told him:
“So long as you have not signed on the dotted line,your investment banker will be by your side,you will stay in good hotels and travel in good cars.Once the deal is done and you need to go to the factory,you will be all alone”
Go Buy this book.