Top 10 must-reads for the business leaders of today and tomorrow

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The past year came as a reality check for many business owners and leaders that demanded a total revamp and rejuvenation of ideas and strategies. While businesses were forced to come up with future-ready plans immediately, it definitely affected the morale of the ones spearheading the organisations.

In such times, taking notes from others who have been through similar situations is a good idea. Learning from their lessons, reading their stories and embracing their ideas can truly give leaders a boost. And to that end, we have 10 must-read business books from HarperBusiness (a HarperCollins’ imprint), that will give business leaders the push they seek. (HarperBusiness is home to classics that form the cornerstone of every businessperson’s library and to cutting-edge new ideas that redefine management, economics, and business narrative.)

1. The Art Of A Happy Exit by K Srikrishna

An exit strategy is usually the last thing on an entrepreneur’s mind. But being ready with a plan is essential, to not be caught unawares when a buyer makes an offer and to not end up with seller’s remorse.

In the The Art Of A Happy Exit: How Successful Entrepreneurs Sell Their Businesses, K Srikrishna tells the stories of 20 entrepreneurs from India and the United States who sold their businesses. Between each story, he gives tips and advice to help readers get prepared for selling. Alongside the outside game like positioning, prospecting, finding professional partners, negotiating, structuring and executing, the book also covers the critical inside game like the mental and emotional preparation required even while retaining customers, employees, and the business. Buy it here.

2. Xiaomi by Jayadevan P K

How did a Chinese startup become a global player? In Xiaomi: How a Startup Disrupted the Market and Created a Cult Following, Jayadevan P K tracks the Xiaomi story. The Chinese tech company took less than a decade to achieve a cult following across the globe, while its strongest competitors took decades to achieve the same fame. The brand’s philosophy of ‘Innovation for All’ was the driving factor behind Xiaomi’s role in making its high-end products reach all sections of society at relatively affordable prices. Hidden in the pages of the book, you’ll find an in-depth analysis of the company’s success and what it truly took to reach this far. Buy it here.

3. The Biography Of A Failed Venture by Prashant Desai

In 2017, when Prashant Desai launched his fully Indian sports brand D:FY, he was confident it would soar. He along with his partner opened 17 stores in seven cities. Instead the business lost Rs 30 crore in 30 months, forcing the founder to shut shop.

Over time, Prashant deep-dived into the factors that caused the failure, and realised that it held the key to future success stories. Using D:FY’s story, The Biography Of A Failed Venture: Decoding Success Secrets from the Blackbox of a Dead Start-Up aims to help readers understand the common mistakes entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them. Buy it here.

4. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

We live in the world of social media, and brands need to utilise it to their benefit. In Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too, Gary Vaynerchuk dissects every major social media platform, simplifying it, so that brands know exactly how they can optimise it for their benefit. The book also offers innovative tips to enhance strategies. Buy it here.

5. The Making Of Hero by Sunil Kant Munjal

In the aftermath of the partition, four brothers started building an empire, bit by bit, in a newly independent India. The business began simply as a means to provide for their family, but within 30 years, Hero Cycles became the largest bicycle maker in the world.

Covering the humble beginnings and the spectacular story of the home-grown brand, Sunil Kant Munjal’s The Making of Hero: Four Brothers, Two Wheels and a Revolution that Shaped India is the winner of the 2020 Tata Literature Live! Business Book Award. It follows the journey of the four Munjal brothers, the founders of Hero, who started a two-wheel revolution, without any resources or real education, and how that revolution went on to play a significant role in the Indian economy. Munjal also elaborates on the ‘family spirit’ of the organisation, where mutually beneficial relationships are held at the core of the business. Buy it here.

6. Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan

One of Google’s earlier engineers and now as a personal growth pioneer, Chade-Meng Tan teaches people how to enhance mindfulness and emotional intelligence in life and work. For years, he has been teaching employees how to apply mindfulness techniques in their lives, and now readers can experience the same. The book is a course in health, happiness and creativity that allows readers to truly achieve their true potential. Buy it here.

7. Tata by Mircea Raianu

By the time of India’s independence in 1947, the Tatas were one of the biggest names in the business world. In its 150-year-old history, they spun textiles, forged steel, generated hydroelectric power, and took to the skies. But the journey was fraught with challenges. In his book, Mircea Raianu tracks the story of the family-run business that went on to make a place for itself globally with its acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover. Tata: The Global Corporation That Built Indian Capitalism focuses on the roadblocks and eventual fame the company achieved, through various eras in India. Buy it here.

8. Built, Not Born by Tom Golisano

Starting a business can seem like a high risk investment, but Tom Golisano didn’t just crack it, but also thrived. The self-made billionaire and founder of Paychex believes starting a business isn't as risky as you might think. He provides a no-nonsense, often humorous advice on how to succeed in all phases of business ownership in the book. Tom, through the book, wants budding entrepreneurs to realise that business need not be intimidating. Buy it here.

9. All In by Rober Bruce Shaw

How do some people manage to achieve so much for their business? All In: How Obsessive Leaders Achieve the Extraordinary documents the success stories of the biggest names in the industry, from Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Elon Musk of Tesla, to Steve Jobs of Apple and everything they did to succeed. To make his point, Robert Bruce Shaw covers both sides of obsession - the positive side that propels business to super stardom and even the negative side as observed in his case study of Travis Kalanick’s tenure at Uber. Buy it here

10. Liftoff by Eric Berger

Elon Musk’s SpaceX went from being a shaky startup to the world’s leading edge rocket company. But what did it take? Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX deep-dives into the wild early days of Elon’s startup and what it took for it to literally take off.

Eric Berger focuses on the company’s first four launches and the bumpy road to glory, supported by dozens of interviews with former and current engineers, designers, mechanics, and executives, including Elon Musk. Buy it here.

All the above titles are available at HarperCollins.


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