Must-Read Books: D. Dharmendra on Business

D. Dharmendra is based in Mumbai and a business consultant by profession, but he’s just as well known as a champion quizzer, blogger and a long-distance runner. He’s written articles about all of these topics, and is in the process of writing his first book. He’s currently on sabbatical in the US, training to run the Boston Marathon. We asked him to choose his favourite business-related books. We could just as well have asked for books on running – and gotten an excellent list! Here’s what he sent us:

D. Dharmendra

“When Tender Leaves asked me to pick a few must-read books on business, the first thought that came to my mind was not about the books themselves but the stories that they tell. Some of the stories below are great reads as biographies of the companies or the people involved, independent of the fact that they are business books.

My Years with General Motors by Alfred P Sloan is perhaps the oldest business book of its sort and is a seminal work in management describing everything from the merger of several car companies to form the behemoth that was General Motors. Compulsory reading for those interested in business history and those curious to know why large companies are divided into divisions and how and why they are run like they are.

Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance by Lou Gerstner is the tale of the man who rescued IBM, after having been on the ascendant at McKinsey and American Express. For those of you struggling with bureacracy, etc read his take.

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?

Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch is a reasonably candid telling of the man who acquired the unflattering moniker Neutron Jack. But the market capitalization of GE didn’t increase multifold through soft interventions. To think Jack Welch almost left GE in frustration early in his career.

Snowball by Alice Schroeder: An intimate biography of a true legend of our times, Warren Buffett, at times, unflattering, but great reading despite its size.

The Other Guy Blinked by Roger Enrico: For anyone who grew up in the 21st century, an excellent insider’s take on perhaps the greatest corporate rivalry of our times, over a product which is largely water 😉

Made in Japan by Akio Morita: An extremely inspiring and humble tale of the birth and growth of one of the icons of the technology sector, written by the man behind it.

Made in America by Sam Walton: A bare-bones version of that much respected, much-feared institution of global retail man built by a man who belongs in the pantheon of business icons along Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Warren Buffett and others.

Made in America

Honorary mentions:
Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson: A refreshing and irreverent take on building multiple businesses in music and aviation, all of which are trendsetters, driven by the iconoclastic and colourful Richard Branson.

Not For Bread Alone by Konosuke Matsushita – humble tale of that father of the iconic Japanese company – Panasonic

Shift: Inside Nissan’s Historic Revival by Carlos Ghosn – similar to IBM’s tale

iCon (about Steve Jobs) – need any reason?!

The Google Story – ditto!

Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove. Recommended reading for people interested in the evolution of Intel. Reads like a discourse on creative destruction.

Odyssey by John Sculley: Not everyone had a great time at Apple, especially someone who abandoned the path to assured success to embark on a new adventure in an unexplored industry. But a fascinating take on the heady and not-so-heady days at Apple of John Sculley, who was poached from Pepsi by Jobs himself.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Nice holler to Odyssey. In fact, I always think of iCon as the third of a trilogy about the most fascinating company of our times.

    West of Eden being the first part; Odyssey the second, and iCon the third.


  2. Posted by Tamanna on February 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks for his list.Want to read all of them.


  3. if u suggest snowball, then ‘confidence game’, is also a good take. ‘The pursuit of happyness’ is also good one, constant determination of one person (chris gardner had in his life).

    not sure if u allow others ideas, just leaving my opinion, excuse me if u dont.


  4. Posted by sudarshanpurohit on March 2, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Hi Aishwarya: More ideas are *always* welcome. None of us knows all about the great books out there, and we’re happy to get suggestions. Thank you!


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