Book Review: The Consolidators

The Book ‘The Consolidators’ is written by Prince Mathews Thomas, a journalist.

What piqued my curiosity about this book were the blurbs written by two of India’s most successful and respected businessmen

Analjit Singh : ‘This book is a valuable read for any entrepreneur’

Harsh Mariwala: ‘These are compelling stories,each a lesson for other aspiring entrepreneurs’

The Book indeed does cover the story of 7 entrepreneurs.The common thread amongst the entrepreneurs is that they are second generation promoters in the family business.

As the Book says, “these entrepreneurs might be born with a silver spoon, but they had to make sure they didn’t lose it.”

The stories cover the following entrepreneurs:

  1. Ajay Bijli (PVR)
  2. Abhishek Khaitan (Radico Khaitan)
  3. Mithun Chittilappily (V-Guard Industries)
  4. T.S. Kalyanaraman (Kalyan Jewellers)
  5. Rituraj Sinha ( SIS India)
  6. Vikas Oberoi (Oberoi Realty)
  7. Priya Paul (Park Hotels)

The Book chronicles the careers and challenges of these entrepreneurs in a very easy to read manner.

Each story is different as the industries involved are different and the challenges/opportunities each second gen faced was different.

A common thread in these stories is the struggle to raise capital…nearly all took PE funding and/or the IPO route to expand their businesses

Another common challenge was to professionalise the company from a family/Lala/Babu culture to  one run by professionals.

Also interesting was to see how well read and travelled these folks are.Many had studied abroad or even did the Owner/President course from Harvard.

One is also stuck by the easy connections and market acceptance these entrepreneurs have owing to the tremendous goodwill of their fathers.

The Book is full of anecdotes which make it an interesting and entertaining read.On the other hand, the author handles his subjects with a light touch and shies away from asking tough questions.

From an investors perspective,I think the key takeaway here is that a family run business can easily be destroyed if the second gen is an insecure and incompetent nutcase.Therefore it is important to understand their vision, values, competence etc

Do buy this book if interested in Indian family businesses and also if you have invested or intend to invest in any of the seven companies profiled.

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