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The books that shaped my life

Every issue, we ask a prominent business person about the books that made him/her the person he/she is today. This month: Pranab Datta, MD, Knight Frank India.

Anumeha Chaturvedi | Print Edition: April 4, 2010

Every issue, we ask a prominent business person about the books that made him/her the person he/she is today. This month: Pranab Datta, MD, Knight Frank India.

The Bhagavad Gita
I was introduced to the Gita 20 years ago due to a chance encounter with a spiritual guru. Since then I have read several interpretations by different authors and also heard various lectures by eminent experts. It impacted me profoundly, both professionally and personally. I often advise my colleagues and family to give their best shot in all endeavours, since the outcome, in any case, is not in their hands.

Who Moved My Cheese?, Dr Spencer Johnson
The book is simple and easy to read, and it describes how sudden changes can have a major effect on our lives. Despite its vital lessons, I found myself caught on the wrong foot several times. The recent meltdown has been a great eye-opener and my endeavour now is to keep asking my team, "What would they do if the cheese was moved?"

Competing for the Future, Gary Hamel & C.K. Prahalad
One of the best management books I've come across, this was gifted to me by C.K. Prahalad himself. The authors remind us that the future is not an extrapolation of the past and merely defending today's leadership is not a substitute for creating tomorrow's leaders. I found his discussion on strategic architecture and strategic intent particularly enlightening.

The New Managerial Grid, Robert R. Blake & Jane S. Mouton
This book shattered many myths I had about myself. The concept of balancing tasks and people was an eye-opener. It knocked down the notion I had about the efficacy of my erstwhile behaviour. The book emphasises harnessing people power; describes various leadership styles and provides cues to recognise them and deal with them appropriately for greater business benefits.

- As told to Anumeha Chaturvedi

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