N R Narayana Murthy is undoubtedly one of India’s most respected business leaders. More than a businessman, he is also a philosopher, with a clear vision on the development of the nation. He reflects on things which most others of his genre avoid (except in CSR section of annual reports). Once a leftist who almost joined politics, his bitter experiences with socialism led him to his much-repeated “Wealth has to be first created before it can be distributed” philosophy. His logical argument is that without the opportunity to develop human potential, socialism leads only to a distribution of apathy and poverty.
He also dwells on why he thinks that the economic reforms of 1991 was the best thing that happened to Infosys, and even to India. His views on the importance of values and education, as India’s only way to becoming a truly progressive nation, is thought-provoking. And finally, the thing that all leaders tend to end with – the importance of leadership! Which is actually true, since India is a nation blessed with resources aplenty, but few men to manage them.
The book is undoubtedly a philosopher’s statement, or rather, a collection of statements. Therein lies the problem. The book is a collection of Narayana Murthy’s lectures, and not a true “book” by him. If it was edited and condensed, the book would have been half its size, and much more readable. But alas! Here the ideas tend to repeat at many places, and by the time one has covered 80% of the book, it is near impossible not to skim over. Penguin India has not even bothered to put it on the front page that this is a collection of speeches by NRN, and the unsuspecting reader would surely think otherwise.
A great visionary and thought-provoking title by a great man, spoilt by poor editing. Worth reading, but not worth buying, except for hardcore NRN fans.