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Kitaben Bahut Si Padhi Hongi Tumne…

World reading day (April 23) is 2 weeks behind us. All of us here at WinnerBrands are voracious readers, and there is nothing we love more than to geek out on marketing and business books.

For this week’s edition of FreeFlowing, we therefore decided to bring you a list of books we read and loved recently.

We just kept two filters for our selection – these non-fiction books are all written by Indian authors and each of them detail the trials and tribulations involved in creating something of value – from share worthy content to an enduring brand to a meaningful life.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our list:

1. Fast, Cheap, and Viral – Written by the formidable Aashish Chopra, the VP of content marketing at Ixigo, this book is a no-fluff look at what goes into making consumer relevant, share worthy videos. The doyen of viral videos, Aashish Chopra provides a distilled version of all his learnings in this easy to read, breezy and yet insight rich book.

In the book, Aashish asserts that every company today is a media company, in charge of producing content. And, he goes on to say, the only key metric that matters for content is shareworthiness. Packed tight with years of professional experience, personal anecdotes and practical advice, this book is a must read for all marketers who seek to create relevant content for consumers.

Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Aashish himself to talk about Fast, Cheap, and Viral. It’s a different pleasure altogether to dive deep into a book along with its author. If you want to listen to this very insightful conversation, click on this link: FreeFlowing – Fast, Cheap, and Viral.

2. Let’s build a company: A start-up story minus the bullshit- by Harpreet Grover and Vibhore Goyal. The book is an interesting look at what it takes to build a startup, as told by insiders who actually built one. The book talks about the value of pursuing an idea with passion and persistence, and the sacrifices, both personal and professional, that entrepreneurs have to make.

One level deeper, the book also talks about the fluctuations of startup life – the founders struggled on with almost no money in their bank accounts for 8 years after graduation until they became dollar millionaires by 2016. The intent of the book is also to act as a roadmap for those who are trying to build their own companies – so they can avoid making similar mistakes.

Do read it and recommend it widely. Because we need more founders sharing their journeys.

3. Big Billion startup: The untold Flipkart story by Mihir Dalal – a genuine investigative report on the inner workings, warts and all, of India’s first e-commerce behemoth, the poster boy of Indian startups. We have seen a lot of well researched books about Silicon Valley startups – Hatching Twitter, The Everything Store (about Amazon), No Filter (about Instagram) and Bad Blood (about Theranos). But this genre was rather thin in India, and Big Billion startup is a welcome addition to this list.

Most of us know the broad outlines of Flipkart’s success story – an Indian e-commerce startup founded by two techies who dreamt big and executed well, competed against Amazon, and finally sold off their company to Walmart at a humongous $16bn price tag. But Mihir also dives into the not so well-known parts of Flipkart’s history – its inner workings, the colourful characters who built it, and the politics and power struggles that helped shape Flipkart. All these details, recounted in a gripping manner, make this book a must read for fresh entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans alike.

4. Harsh realities: The Making of Marico- by Harsh Mariwala and Prof. Ram Charan. In this book, Harsh Mariwala recounts how he founded Marico way back in 1987, and how he helped grow it into the FMCG behemoth it is today. This is a story of how a family owned, commodity based small business transformed into a much respected global FMCG corporation through innovation, disciplined adherence to common sense based processes, and visionary leadership.

Parts of the book read like a masterclass on building consumer brands in India. The book is a reminder that a curious mindset combined with awareness of ‘on ground’ reality can give you perspective and insights that no MBA degree can equip you with. Don’t miss this one.

5. Tata Stories – Delightfully written by a Tata veteran, Harish Bhat’s Tata Stories is all about what it says on the tin – well researched stories that showcase the different facets of Tata group, a business house that occupies a place of pride in India’s entrepreneurial history.

Through various stories the book describes how the Tata group has evolved with time, always holding on steadfastly to its purpose, ethics, altruism, management and leadership values. The easy to read chapters make for a great bedtime read for those who wish to trace the group’s rich history and contribution to nation building through the decades.

6. How I quit Google to sell samosas: Adventures with the Bohri kitchen – A mix of autobiography and motivational business book, How I quit Google to sell samosas is Munaf Kapadia’s humorous and insightful take on his life story. In it, he talks about how he quit a well-paying job at Google to turn a side hustle into reality, starting up The Bohri Kitchen with his mother. Within 2 years, he made the Forbes 30 under 30 list and turned The Bohri Kitchen into a F&B startup with INR 4 Cr turnover.

Along the way, he catered for Bollywood’s biggest celebrities too. The book is a primer in the art of identifying opportunities and making the most of them with a bit of self-confidence, a lot of jugaad and even more hard work. Munaf opens up not only about the successes, but also about the failures he encountered along the journey, and his candidness is refreshing and instructive.

Pick up this book for some invaluable lessons on entrepreneurship, brand building, storytelling and of course, food.

7. Everything is out of syllabus: An Instruction Manual for Life & Work – Varun Duggirala, the author, is an entrepreneur, content creator and podcaster. He is the cofounder of the digital agency Glitch, and is also the brains behind successful podcasts like “Advertising is dead” and “Think Fast.” In Everything is out of syllabus, Varun has put together an easy and enjoyable read packed with excellent life lessons.

Written in a modular format, you can start reading this book from anywhere. The book is a blend of autobiography and workbook for life, with life lessons supported by anecdotes from Varun’s life. The book offers up interesting learnings about creativity, networking, forming healthy habits, and optimizing life for happiness. The entire book feels like a great conversation with a wise friend.

These are 7 books by Indian authors that we loved reading. Have any of these books inspired you? Do you have any other recommendations of business books you think we ought to read?

Let us know at freeflowing@winnerbrands.in. If we like your book recommendation, we will feature you on our platforms, along with your recommendation.

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