“Maverick Minds” by Anubha Singhania looks at 10 successful Indian businessmen who have carved out a niche for themselves

With the country in the throes of elections and regularly rocked by corruption scandals and controversy, concerned citizens wonder about India’s future and along with it their own. In this scenario, books that talk of carving one’s own niche — like Anubha Singhania’s second book, “Maverick Minds” — are likely to draw attention. The book, published last December, is about 10 Indian businessmen who had an original and non-conformist approach towards business.

Anubha, a Christ College commerce graduate, who did fashion design in the U.S., is an entrepreneur and investor with interests in a variety of businesses. An avid fan of Warren Buffet, she was very keen on investing and with that objective in mind wanted to meet people who had made a mark for themselves in the Indian economy. “The second book came about since I was interested in investing and decided to know people who had been successful. I wanted to learn from the experiences of different entrepreneurs and their journey towards success.”

A mix of biography and management tips, the book trails the story of businessmen — Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Ashish Dhawan, Deep Kalra, Sanjay Kapoor, Sudhir Seth, Narender Bansal, Ankur Bhatia, Abhishek Dalmia, Pravin Jain and Vishvajeet Jhavar — and describes their uncompromising dreams, never-give-up attitudes, willingness to seize opportunities and zeal to do something not only for themselves but for the country as well. Initially she met Pravin and Abhishek, her family friends. Later, after reading and researching, she zeroed in on several other candidates. On the criteria of her choice, she says, “the company the individual headed had to have a turnover of about Rs.3000 crores and they did something different”. The final eight in the book were willing to be interviewed. About the absence of businesswomen among the personalities she comments, “I had two candidates but unfortunately they could not meet me.”

The write-up on each individual consists of an introduction, education and background, the story of their enterprise describing the factors that worked for them and how they managed to hold on to the position they achieved in the market.

The author describes it as “a proper sequence to sustain the interest of the readers”.

The other sections in each chapter are “In Hindsight” and “Leader Speak”. The former discusses what the individuals will do given a second chance, and the latter are quotes and explanations by them about different facets of their business.

The section “Vortexing Ideas” is the entrepreneur’s perception of new economic opportunities and market developments which could be exploited. “The Way Forward” is how they view their business in the future. The last four will definitely be useful to those on the threshold of starting a business enterprise.

Asked about the role of luck in their success, Anubha says, “Luck plays an important part apart from hard work. These men were at the right place at the right time and armed with the right tools to carve a place for themselves.”

“No doubt each one of them is hard working. When faced with obstacles, challenges and hardships, they persisted, continued when ordinary people would have given up,” she adds.

On the importance of education, she says a majority of them were academically qualified but points out that Narender Bansal did not go beyond school, proving that “those who do not have the degrees under the belt also stand a chance to make an enterprise successful.”

All the 10 personalities stress the importance of human resources in their success. “A good team will ensure success of the business without which one cannot make it.”

The book is for all — “a snapshot of India in transition and of a generation of business people who are rewriting the old rules,” as mentioned in the foreword by Vir Sanghvi.