Top 10 of any genre’ is a very difficult list to come up with. There are books that are legendary for being up there on every Top 10 list for years on end and then there are sales numbers that stores and online book retailers need to worry about (wink wink).
So this year, we decided to take an data driven look at the top 10 Non-Fiction and Fiction books that corporate India liked. The ranking is only for titles published in 2013. Unburdened with such problems as warehouses full of unsold books, we arrived at the ranking based on popularity, rating, and some secret sauce involving return times, likes, book requests and others. So here we go with the first installment of the Top 10 – the Non Fiction titles – listed in reverse order.
#10: Dhandha: How Gujaratis Do Business [Shobha Bondre]
Forget the fancy business talk, and let’s get all earthy. Dhandha is what it’s all about. A collection of stories about Gujarati businessman around the world who made tons of money doing what seems like unglamorous stuff. Jaydev Patel who sold insurance policies worth $2.5 billion (that’s a b!), Bhimjibhai Patel who founded the Diamond Nagar in Surat, Mohanbhai Patel who makes collapsible aluminum tubes and oh, was also the former sheriff of Mumbai. The book does a great job of covering the common traits of ambition, the knack for business and the ability for hard work that makes the community successful businessmen. Forget everything else, ‘dhandha ni waat karo!’. The readers just love this book and it opens up our top 10 list.
#9: India’s Biggest Cover-Up [Anuj Dhar]
This book could almost be in the fiction list. The blurb of the book says that “India’s biggest cover-up”, investigates the Bose mystery and its stranger than fiction subplots like never before. Relying on official records, archival material and information obtained under the freedom of information acts from across the world, the book uncovers a systematic obstruction of justice by the Indian establishment. Author Anuj Dhar piles up, freshly unearthed facts and insights invalidating the air crash theory, supporting the line that, Bose escaped towards Soviet Russia with help of the Japanese. The book dwells at length on the curious case of Bhagwanji, a cigar chomping holy man—who called himself “Dead Man”, was never seen in public but was believed to be Bose by many of his staunch followers. It explodes the myth that, the negative DNA and handwriting tests carried out in government labs disapproved that Bhagwanji was not Bose. The book even tells you of Dead Man’s imagination defying claims—like he secretly participated in the Vietnam war—and assertion that his coming out would spell troubles for India.
We do love a good ol’ conspiracy theory and the book was much in demand soon after launch.
#8: Die Poor or Live Rich: Your Life, Your Choice Secrets to Master Your Money [Snehdeep Fulzele]
How can book about money not be in the top 10 of corporate India’s reads? The book blurb says, the book helps readers to ‘become the master of money’ and learn to invite abundant money in your life, keep it and grow it. Read the book to find what is stopping you from achieving financial freedom. Along the way get answers to those questions, which puzzle all those who work so hard to earn money – Why will banks never make you rich? Why is inflation poisonous to money? Why should you stay in your own house and not a rented accommodation? Do you need to work harder to earn more money?
#7 Think like Zuck-The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO [Ekaterina Walter]
Everybody loves Mark (off late anyway, that is). Users love his product. Employees love him. Investors love him and now the world is waking up to his ‘improbable’ brilliance.
The author has figured out the five principles behind Facebook’s meteoric rice – the five P’s (now that is an ‘improbable’ co-incidence, but hey it’s catchy and easier to remember) : Passion, Purpose, People, Product and Partnerships.
Looking at the popularity of the book, we won’t be surprised if a bunch of future billionaires are already at work on the next big thing.
#6: A Bank for the Buck-The Story of HDFC Bank [Tamal Bandyopadhyay]
Banks tend to be boring and books about the banks are rarely of interest to people outside the industry. But this book is different (no really). Yes, it has all the usual stuff about the rise of HDFC while several other private banks started around the same time perished. What sets the book apartis a very interesting comparison the author has drawn between, the merger of HDFC bank and Times Bank and a crime drama ‘Rashomon’. Just like the bank, the book too is among the top on our list.
#5: Work it Out Without a Workout [Vesna P. Jacob]
With a title like that, this book simply couldn’t be kept off the list! After money health is the next big thing on everybody’s mind. The book busts some of the usual myths about working out and has tips on everything from improving your posture to shedding extra flab without strenuous workouts. The author says, you can achieve it all and that too without going to a gym. With easy to follow exercises, even while driving, traveling, or working, now you can look good while having fun at the same time. (Bliss! I am going to read this right after all the parties on New Year’s Eve when I will need to lose a few dozen pounds)
#4: Narendra Modi-The Man, the Times [Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay]
Keeping in with the times, there is a lot of interest in Narendra Modi – the man who many believe will be the next Prime Minister of India. Much has been written about the man, and this book is one more such attempt.
The book traces the rise of Modi from his younger days of sloganeering and tea selling to his current interests in kurtas, designer pens and watches.
#3: The Test of My Life from Cricket to Cancer and Back [Yuvraj Singh]
We love cricket and We love comebacks. Put the two together and you have a book that’s much in demand. The book provides its readers with insights into the most traumatic period in the life of cricketer Yuvraj Singh, as he struggled to come to terms with the fact that he was afflicted with cancer.
Filled with varied emotions, doubts, and fears, the book is a captivating story of how a human being can fight to survive, even in the toughest of circumstances. Go Yuvi Go! We love ya!
#2: Lean in-Women, Work and the will to Lead [Sheryl Sandberg]
The must read book of 2013! ‘Lean In’ is the outcome of a TED conference held in 2010 which revolved around the discussion that, there are very few women in leadership positions. Sandberg tells women that, they would never receive the same recognition as men, unless they are willing to make certain changes in order to prevent stagnation. She further throws light on the, current state of women in the corporate arena of America. She tells women to sit at the table, have faith in themselves, and shoot for the top. Sandberg also opens up to the readers by penning down her insecurities in college, and the time she cried in the presence of her boss. She also recounts the time when she had to negotiate her pay with Facebook. Lean In: Women, Work And The Will To Lead is a must-read for women who desire to overcome, their pre-conceived ideas and anxieties to achieve the success they always wanted.
Readers loved this book and the only surprise we had is that it was at #2 in the rankings. And that is because …
#1 is Business Sutra : A Very Indian Approach to Management [Devdutt Patnaik]
The book introduces readers to the ‘Indian’ way of management – far away from the goal-oriented, shareholder focused approach espoused by the western style management. The author uses stories, rituals and symbols from Indian mythology to provide a more subjective approach to doing business. Instead of chasing wealth it tells us how to attract wealth. The book has 145 sutras, explained in great detail which establishes the linkage between business and belief.
An original and radical book (as the blurb says), Business Sutra is top of the list on our Top 10 of 2013 in the Non-fiction category!
Keep tuned for the part 2 of this post which will list the Top 10 of Fiction for this year! Till then, happy reading!
References for this post: Book blurbs of the books listed.