Posts Tagged ‘Book Review’

There are persons in Bollywood who become a legend in their lifetime itself. Helen is one such actor. Here is an insightful review of a book by Jerry Pinto.


I won’t go so far as to say that Helen was the first Hindi film actress I remember seeing (that would be Shakila, since CID was the first Hindi film I remember watching). But I distinctly remember being about 10 years old, watching Chitrahaar, and being very excited because an old favourite of mine, a song I had till then only heard and never seen, was going to come on (in Chitrahaar, there would always be a sort of intertitle between songs, a single frame in which the name of the next song, the film it was from, and the names of the music director, the lyricist, and the singer(s) would be listed).

This song was Mera naam Chin Chin Choo, and my feet were already tapping when it began. All that frenetic movement, those men in sailor suits dancing about. The energy, so electric that it…

View original post 1,412 more words

Read Full Post »

It is said that Mr. R. M. Lala, an editor, writer and publisher of repute, once commented to Mr. J. R. D. Tata that the latter believed in excellence. The great man is said to have retorted thus: “Not excellence. Perfection. You aim for perfection; you will attain excellence. If you aim for excellence, you will go lower.”

But even achieving excellence is not a cake walk. Many leaders are not clear how to go about doing it. The mirage of excellence is elusive, and most often, it is not a surrogate for achieving outstanding business performance alone by measuring and surpassing business results. There is more to it than what meets the eye.

Satyendra Kumar’s book endeavors to answer this question.

The author shares distilled insights from his four decades of accumulated learning from various organisations to portray the fundamentals — that are often elusive —in building organisational excellence. 

This book is a valuable treasure trove of insights. It has the potential to enable as well as enrich the thinking process of business leaders when it comes to achieving excellence in a sustainable manner.

Elusive Secrets in Seven Chapters

The book etches out seven steps to facilitate the process of achieving excellence, each step being covered in a separate chapter.

The Foundation is obviously laid by a leader’s spark of genius beyond intelligence, evoking intuitive facets to nurture essentials that fuel a never-ending appetite for learning.

This leads to the concept of Learning Forever, which, in turn, instills a norm of Measurement and Predictability.  

A climate of learning and measurement provides an impetus for Productive Working that leads to a build-up of confidence across teams and groups entrusted with the task of achieving business goals. 

This brings out the criticality of The People Factor which is an important ingredient in creating a Culture of Improvement and Transformation.  

Last, but not the least, is the Invisible Backdrop of a deep purpose guided by values and ethics that the author presents as it loops back to the very essence in the acts towards building the Foundation.

Each chapter progressively enhances the value of the conversation with an elevated level of awareness, thereby igniting the intuitive mind to grasp what is relevant and necessary.

Every company eager to protect its soul and spirit for worthy outcomes could benefit from reading this book.

Author’s Profile

Satyendra Kumar has enhanced the quality systems for world-class global organisations with his contributions for over 40 years. He has served on several industry bodies and has received numerous awards in shaping the conversation for progress with his deep understanding of the systems view of an organisation that is a precondition for nurturing a culture of excellence.

Kumar today continues his passion by helping organisations strengthen their systems maturity by providing his rich experience as an Independent Advisor and Consultant to several large and medium-scale institutions and enterprises since 2013. Kumar was the Global Head and Senior Vice President – Productivity & Quality, Technology Tools & Software Reuse at Infosys Limited (2000 – 2013). He has worked as Vice President at IMR Global, the USA, between 1998 and 2000. As Deputy Chief Executive for Tata Quality Management Services – Tata Group between 1996 and 1998, he provided an intellectual impetus in laying the foundation for instituting the Tata business excellence initiative. Kumar’s rich experience spans his consulting expertise to over 50 national and multi-national clients in areas of Business Excellence, Operational Efficiency, Customer Satisfaction Management, Business Continuity Management, Project and Programme Management, and Quality Management.

He has served on many Boards and Panels such as Board member (QuEST USA), On the Panel of Judges – Wisconsin State Award (USA), Administrative Reforms Committee of Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and Chief Technical Advisor to the Confederation of Indian Industry – Institute of Quality. Has been a recipient of the IEEE-Software Engineering Institute (Carnegie Mellon University) International award (2011) and honoured with the “Lifetime Achievement Award for Quality and Business Excellence” by an IT industry association.

Some Accolades

Satyendra Kumar’s relentless and unfettered focus on excellence played an important role in the high percentage of repeat business Infosys obtained from customers. This book is a distilled wisdom of his impactful journey at Infosys during 2000 – 2013 and many other companies during his professional career. I recommend this book to leaders, managers, and development professionals in any company to read it, learn from it, and deploy the lessons.

Co-founder Infosys Ltd

Satyendra and I worked together at Infosys till 2009 … I believe his relentless pursuit of excellence played a seminal role in the evolution of Infosys. As you read through this book, you will get a glimpse of what I believe are the fundamentals that need to be put into place to aspire for excellence. The best part is that you will hear them from Satyendra first-hand! I hope that the next generation of leaders invests time and patience to learn from this work and find ways to incorporate it into their leadership, culture, and the basic fabric of their organisations.


Chairman and co-founder Infosys Ltd, Chairman and co-founder EkStep Foundation

Achieving excellence in business is an arduous journey. One has to design for quality and innovation, and plan for longevity, a truer measure of business success. Satyendra Kumar, with his experience in steering quality movement in the IT industry, provides a practical guide for future leaders in building organisational excellence.

Former CEO and Co-Founder Infosys Ltd, Chairman Axilor Ventures

Satyendra Kumar’s book bestows upon the reader his wisdom, expertise, and countless years of professional and personal experience. We are fortunate that Kumar has taken the time to document his life’s work. One will learn from his many incredible successes and will also learn how to avoid or overcome difficulties he encountered over time. I enthusiastically recommend and endorse this book.


Retired senior executive, leadership coach.

I have seen Satyendra Kumar in action for three decades. His unwavering focus on building a culture of learning and improvement with long term focus is amazing. This book elegantly reflects his experiences and should be leveraged by start-ups or established companies to instill these great practices for long term success.


President and the Mentor, US Technologies Global Ltd

Despite the enormous body of literature from the academic and consulting worlds, Organizational Excellence is still elusive to most people. This book precisely addresses this issue through interesting anecdotes, case studies, and experiential stories. It reflects — how organisational learning, people caring, and ethical governance can lead to long-term organisational excellence and sustenance. Satyendra Kumar has nicely brought out many hidden facets that business owners and leaders born or made, and passionate entrepreneurs should read and take advantage of.

Former Director General, STQC, Ministry of IT, Govt of India

A powerful and elegantly written book with deeper insights.

EVP Coforge Ltd

Satyendra Kumar has written an interesting book backed by years of experience. His narrative is experiential, giving guidance and insights into systems, implementation, and achieving organisational excellence. I recommend this book to everyone in the corporate world who wish to focus on organisational excellence.


Former CEO and Co-Founder Infosys Ltd

Satyendra Kumar as a practitioner and leader brings three decades of his rich experience relevant to businesses and business leaders of various types. Quality is not just a buzz word but is about its leaders, their values or ethos and purpose imbibed through a long journey is well brought out.  It was a pleasure for me to have been part of leading this journey with him in Infosys as well as relive that journey on reading it.

Chairman AHT Foundation and Co-founder Infosys Ltd.

Satyendra Kumar has distilled into this book, decades of his experience in creating a culture of excellence in some of the worlds most successful corporations. His incisive and yet simple principles are relevant equally for large corporations and young start-ups. I have seen him passionately inculcate excellence in every aspect of business at Infosys and I am confident that the book will be a key guide for leaders navigating an increasingly competitive world. Each chapter of the book provides a vivid road map for creating excellence through pragmatic steps. A must read for leaders who aspire to create world-class organizations!

Chairman, Catamaran Ventures, Independent Director, HDFC Bank

For Additional Information


Links to Acquire a Copy of the Book

USA: https://a.co/d/3EDMaCy

INDIA: https://amzn.eu/d/crfISyg

Related Posts:

Read Full Post »

About the Book

What would happen if you got stuck at a place with dreaded Bollywood villains like Gulshan Grover and Ranjeet, and they actually rescue you from being harassed?

What would your reaction be if Madhuri Dixit said I Am Sorry to you?

Which Ambani could have possibly reported the Author to the moral, if not the actual police?

How did Hrithik Roshan fool a city editor?

To find out answers to these questions and more, pick up a copy of the Bestselling Memoir – Hotel Adventures with the Stars, penned by the International Hospitality Writer, L. Aruna Dhir, who calls Dehradun her forever Home.

The book is a delightful compendium of delicious stories based on L. Aruna Dhir’s encounters with celebrities from different walks of life, spanning the world of cinema, arts, music, sports, politics and literature. It is truly one of a kind book that chronicles several of Aruna’s engrossing encounters with a gamut of celebrities.

Funny, thrilling and heart-warming in equal measure, Aruna vividly recounts cherished memories of when Ustad Shujaat Husain Khan gave her a personal concert, Kapil Dev bowled her over and what it is to actually shake Sunny Deol’s Dhai Kilo Ka Haath (a hand weighing two and a half kilograms!) amongst many other equally endearing incidents involving Jackie Shroff, Dimple Kapadia, Ruskin Bond, Sharmila Tagore, Maneka Gandhi, Kiran Bedi, Khushwant Singh and several others, in this collector’s edition.

The Foreword for this enchanting Memoir has been written by the famous Master Storyteller, Ruskin Bond, who calls this unique recollection “Immensely readable.”

About the Author

As a four year old, growing up in the verdant Doon Valley, Aruna would prance about the garden while the great sitar maestro Vilayat Khan held his music soirees. Who knew that would set the shape of things to follow. At 19, Aruna had Bollywood’s sexiest hero of the time, Sanjay Dutt, say I Love You to her. By the time she began working with international Five Star hotels Aruna had stars from Bollywood and Hollywood orbiting her galaxy.

L. Aruna Dhir is today a recognized International Hospitality Writer with her insights presented in the #1 ranked global hospitality publication. She is on the Board of the Association of Commonwealth Leaders’ Conferences (ACLC) – a Commonwealth Body and a Member of the World Tourism Network (WTN).  A national-poll winning Communications Specialist, she has launched hospitality brands. As a Hotel PR Strategist, Aruna has worked with some of the world’s finest hotels such as the Hyatt, the Oberoi Group and The Imperial.

She has represented India to a select group of opinion-makers in the United States, as a Cultural Ambassador under the GSE Program of Rotary International. She has also participated in the IXth Commonwealth Study Conference held in Australia and chaired by Princess Anne.

During the course of her checkered and exciting career, Aruna has brushed her shoulders with a scintillating set of well-known personalities, including royalty. A clutch of them feature in highly entertaining anecdotal stories in Hotel Adventures with the Stars.

The quintessential Girl from Clement Town, Aruna grew up in Dehradun and spent her formative, school-going and collegiate years in the Valley Town. Quite naturally so, the Memoir is sprinkled with reminiscences of life in Doon in the 70s, 80s and the 90s.

As a young girl, Aruna would attend many a Kavi Sammelan held at the Town Hall or the Doon Club to participate in poetry recitals in the company of notable poets of the region. Unsurprisingly then, she graduated to become a poet par excellence, and has to her credit two published poetry anthologies. Aruna has the distinction of being India’s first-ever Creative Writer with Archies Greetings, with several series of cards sold under her by-line – an unprecedented feat that has not been repeated since. The milestone puts her in the league of Helen Steiner Rice, Susan Polis Schutz and Amanda Bradley.

Journey of the Book so far

Hotel Adventures with the Stars is the author’s third Book, but her Debut Non-fiction.

In less than 24 hours of its pre-order link being put up, the book debuted at the #2 spot on the Hot New Releases and at #25 spot on the Bestseller List of Biographies, Autobiographies and True Accounts, in a list that had President APJ Abdul Kalam’s Autobiography at #1!! 

Since its launch, the book has continuously popped up on the Bestseller list, to sit as a neighbour with the Man of the Hour, Elon Musk’s Biography and to be ahead of other popular biographies such as Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ Unfinished and Dr. NR Narayana Murthy’s Biography.

It is of little wonder then that the book has received exceptionally noteworthy endorsements from a string of superstars.

Some Endorsements from Celebrities

“Lucid, Witty & Engrossing…Aruna’s sharp writing makes this book a captivating read!” is how the Superstar Jackie Shroff describes the Memoir.

“L. Aruna Dhir is an extremely engaging writer. She involves you in her stories and entrances you with her beautiful writing. What a fine time travel the Memoir allows into nostalgia!” affirms the Super Cop woman, Dr. Kiran Bedi.

“Aruna is a Master-weaver. She has woven a colourful tapestry with gossamer threads to create a design of sensitive beauty,” says Sonal Mansingh, Padma Vibhushan Odissi classical dancer and Cultural Icon of India.

Sanjeev Kapoor, Internationally acclaimed Indian Masterchef, Restaurateur and the Khana Khazana TV Star has this to say about Hotel Adventures with the Stars, “A fun, honest, memorable portrayal of personalities interwoven with anecdotal slices of nostalgia! Readers will find themselves in the stories and come away with a pleasing sense of warmth and realism.”


Here’s the link for you to peruse and use: https://amzn.to/3wG1m9l

Read Full Post »

Are you an architect, an interior designing expert, or an MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) services professional? If so, here is a book which could assist you in building a sustainable business with a strong brand equity and help you earn long-term customer loyalty.

Practicing Ethics

This book does not merely preach the importance of ethics in your profession. It goes a step ahead and tells us which healthy practices can be adopted and shows us precisely how to imbibe the same.

The book provides new perspectives for Architects, Interior Designers, and MEP Designers to enhance their skills, enrich the roles they play and minimize the chances of their businesses end up facing an ethically awkward or complex situation.   

The word “ethics” refers to the moral principles or values that enable us to do the right things. In a broader sense, ethics include integrity, objectivity, professional competence, confidentiality, and professional behaviour. In the context of “business ethics”, the author makes an honest attempt in this handbook to examine business activities in “project design and engineering functions” in any construction organisation at the micro-level and identify potential activities that can adversely affect business performance.

The book lists activities that have the potential of leading a business down an unethical path, thereby adversely impacting design quality, project quality, project costs, or sales revenue; or compromising customer satisfaction levels or statutory compliance levels. It then goes on to offer suggestions which, if followed scrupulously, would avoid the businesses facing any such challenges.

The basic approach is that of enabling professionals to digitalize their design activities and integrate the same with ERP environments or software solutions already deployed in the business.

Structure of the Book

The book is divided into eighteen chapters and runs into 688 pages, of which 377 pages comprise the main text, the rest being 53 annexures which carry illustrations designed to enhance the reader’s understanding of the subject at hand.  

It covers as many as 91 business processes and lists 916 business activities which, if performed correctly, can enable significant improvements in the quality of design and construction, project cost optimisation, and customer-focused delivery. In addition, there are 44 annexures, included on the website of the author, each capturing narration of business activities as a reference guide for readers. The details can be viewed at the website of the author: https://www.ethicalprocesses.com.

The book classifies activities into three categories based on their likely adverse effect on business performance: (a) Those which relate to either the quality of design or the quality of construction, could lead to an escalation in project costs or lower customer satisfaction levels, (b) Statutory /regulatory compliances, and (c) The ones which relate to either the efficiency or the effectiveness of the designing process.

What Designers Can Achieve

The book can assist designers to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Enhancing the quality of designs
  • Supporting improved quality of construction
  • Reducing Project costs
  • Increasing sales revenue
  • Improving end-customer satisfaction index
  • Complying with statutory conformances
  • Enhancing design efficiency and design effectiveness

It is a ready reckoner for architects, interior designers, MEP designers, project teams, risk managers, auditors, students pursuing design as a career, and COO/ CEOs of design-oriented outfits to take cognizance of design function-related activities that can or have the potential of adversely impacting business.

About the author

The author, Arvind Dang, is a mechanical engineer from the Delhi College of Engineering and an MBA from the University Business School, Chandigarh, Punjab, India. He has also obtained ISO 9001 certification for Quality systems from Cranfield University, U.K.; CISA-Certification from ISACA, U.S.A and BS7799 certification for Information Security from BSL, U.K.

Arvind has served as a President of The Institute of Internal Auditors, Delhi Chapter. He has been a governing board member of ISACA, Delhi. With a rich professional experience of 41 years in the Engineering and Real Estate Industry, he retired as the President – Of procurement and Corporate Services of a prominent real estate company in India.

The book is available at https://www.amazon.in/Ethics-real-estate-hospitality-industry/dp/9393635706.

Read Full Post »

Memoirs serve a useful purpose. These not only capture the life and times of a seasoned professional but also offer a deep insight into various facets of life. One gets to learn precious lessons in management of people, resources and institutions. One comes across precious nuggets of wisdom, based on the experiences of the author. These leave behind a legacy of sorts; more so, when written with a sense of humility and not in a self-congratulatory mode.

This book is one such offering. It is an interesting autobiographical account of a life well lived. It sketches out in detail the kind of hard work, persistence and emotional intelligence that a senior administrative professional needs to leverage so as to be able to ensure delivery of timely and effective services to the common man. It gives the reader an inside view of how the vast government machinery in such a diverse country as India functions, and author’s handling of the kind of challenges faced and successfully overcome. 

The narrative is intimate, introspective and invigorating. The author is frank about how an abiding commitment to his career affected his relationships with his family and how his wife dutifully moved in to support him through thick and thin. He mentions some moving encounters with death and disease. Often, he is open about the manner in which he realized in retrospect as to how a given situation could have been handled better. At many places, he does not shy away from revealing self-doubt and disappointment. The narrative is riveting and personal and motivates one to aspire for higher goals in all spheres of life.

The underlying message in this narrative is that of a relentless focus on one’s goals in life and the criticality of following high values and ethics, despite temptations and obstructions. The importance of not always being a yes-man and occasionally standing up to a higher power also gets highlighted. There are occasional dashes of subtle humour as well.

These memoirs are not a commentary on any of the policies of the government of the day. Those who are expecting to read an analysis of the history of the economic strides made by India from the 1960s till now are also likely to be disappointed. Nor do these provide any insights into the various ideologies present across the entire political spectrum. Littered with instructive quotes from scriptures, poets, philosophers and literary figures, these provide a ringside view of the life and times of an able administrator, whether on the personal or on the professional front.

During the past several decades, Indian youth have collectively lost interest in making a career in the central or provincial services. Career choices of youth have invariably favoured the private sector, that too in the realm of Information, Communication and Technology systems, besides engineering and medicine.

Hopefully, this book will not only inspire the youth of today to consider the option of entering public service more seriously but also motivate them to prepare well to gain an entry into this exalted profession. This way, if they succeed, they will eventually have the inner glow of satisfaction for contributing towards the transformation of this unique country of ours.

The present version of the book is available in the Hindi language. It had a global launch recently and is now available at https://www.amazon.in/dp/B091MRXM5R?ref=myi_title_dp.

(The author of this book, Mr. Ashok Bhatia, is a retired officer of the Indian Administrative Services. He had chosen the state of Gujarat to serve the nation. In his career spanning 49 years, he also held several important high ranking positions with the Government of India.

He lives with his wife in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.)

Read Full Post »



Bishal Dev Bandhopadhya was a brilliant individual but a terrible boss. He held a senior position in an organisation of repute in Bangalore. One afternoon, Bishal is found collapsed on his table and dies soon after he is taken to the hospital. His coffee has been laced with poison. Is this murder or suicide?

Read more about this mystery in the recently released book ‘Who Killed the Boss?’

It is a whodunit which comes highly recommended, especially for hard-nosed CEOs, HR honchos and line managers who treat the people around them like mere specks of dust beneath their chariot wheels!

The narrative is lucid, tight and has a smooth flow. It keeps the reader hooked from very early itself. Suspense keeps building and one keeps twiddling one’s thumbs trying to figure out the real suspect. The amazing part is the expertise the author has deployed – one can’t figure out how – of bringing in extensive knowledge about detective methods, criminology, chemistry of poisons and drugs, human aspirations and motivations, the brighter and the darker side of pharmaceutical industry and, above all, the flip side of bosses who become road rollers. The concluding part is simply brilliant, touching upon a part of the underbelly of corporate life – a boss’ tyranny – and goes even further to
offer a preventive road map for the future.

The touch of compassion towards the accused is a fine stroke indeed. As the human race hurtles towards cold advances in technology, the criticality of following human values is appropriately brought home.

A complaint, if I may. There should be a law that authors refrain from coming up with such un-put-down-able books. Like captivating members of the tribe of the delicately nurtured, such books demand undivided attention and often end up disturbing the normal life of a lay reader.

(Pradeep Swaminathan has had a fairly successful corporate career in India and abroad. Prior to his retirement he was on the board of listed companies. Some of his articles have been published both in the Hindu and Readers Digest. His first book was based on a PG Wodehouse character and published privately got him an excellent review from the Hindu. The book ‘Who Killed the Boss?’ is his first one to be formally published. It can be accessed here.)


(Related Posts:




Read Full Post »