Talking Heads – Rahul Khanna, Managing Director, Canaan Partners

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Lessons from history

What is Rahul Khanna, Managing Director of Canaan Partners, reading these days? Business books, as well as best practices in leadership, management, compensation and strategy? He used to; now, his interest is in history.

Rahul recalls reading a book, ‘On China,’ and trying to look at what the macro factors are that have made the country successful, even as we think about building the India model for the future. “In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book length to a country he has known intimately for decades and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape,” informs Amazon.com about the book. ‘On China’ illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such pivotal events as the initial encounters between China and tight-line modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, and Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing, it adds.“You know we have to provide employment for a hundred million people in the next ten years. That’s a massive challenge. It’s also a massive opportunity. China has been able to straddle that in some fashion. The US has done it, in its own fashion. So, I think a lot of my time is spent thinking about macro forces and trying to understand lessons from the past and lessons from other parts of the world,” explains Rahul.

If that is not forceful enough to nudge you towards history books, here is a quote of George Santayana: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

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