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What’s on Nandan Nilekani’s reading list

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The chairman and co-founder of Infosys, and the architect of India’s Aadhaar (UIDAI), Nandan Nilekani, is an inspiration for all Indians. Popularly referred to as the “Bill Gates of Bangalore”, Nilekani also co-founded NASSCOMM, the trade association of India’s software industry. Associated with several philanthropy organizations, Nilekani’s contribution to society come a full circle.

Nilekani has been bestowed with several honors and accolades globally and in India, recognizing his grand achievements. Nilekani featured twice, in 2006 and 2009 in Time magazine’s list of most influential people in the world. The Padma Vibhushan awardee also won the 22nd Nikkei Asia Prize for Economic and Business innovation in 2017.

Here’s a descriptive account of three books, one that Nilekani has read, second that he is reading currently and the third that he plans to begin reading soon.

What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence by Stephen A. Schwarzman

“A candid and inspiring account of his [Schwarzman’s] extraordinary rise, with some hilarious anecdotes.” – Nandan Nilekani

The author, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone is nothing less than a legend. Liaising the trade-talks between China and USA, Schwarzman is a billionaire and philanthropist whose advice is requested by country-heads.

A self-made man, Schwarzman graduated from Yale, worked at Lehman Brothers and co-founded Blackstone with $400,000 and turned it into a $500 billion venture. The book is a first-person account of the most compelling chapters of his life, written with the aim to enlighten readers about building, transforming and leading booming organizations. The lessons that one can draw from this book can help anyone, a student, an executive or an entrepreneur to maximize his or her potential.

Schwarzman’s story is an impactful guide that is equally informative, entertaining and empowering. Schwarzman shares with the readers a reflection of his personal experiences that draws a practical roadmap for success.

Capitalism in America: An Economic History of the United States by Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge

“A magisterial book with lots of insights.” – Nandan Nilekani

Alan Greenspan, a former Fed Chairman, a historian and acclaimed Economist writer, collaborated with Adrian Wooldridge, a celebrated Economist journalist and historian to narrate the story of America’s rise to economic power right from the beginning. Greenspan, a specialist of American economy describes its evolution with wonderful mastery, elucidating its phases of growth, change, surge, and stalling.

The book particularly examines the issue of productivity growth around the core riddle of innovation. It covers every event of great impact in American history spread across titanic figures, glorious breakthroughs and enlightenment ideals. The authors put creative destruction and the heart of American genius and probe its multiple facets. The book becomes more relevant today as the world is in the middle of a global power turmoil struggling to find a clear leader.

Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism by Dinyar Patel

“The biography of Dadabhai Naoroji, a pioneering Indian national leader.” – Nandan Nilekani

Dadabhai Naoroji was the founder of the Indian National Congress and the most noteworthy nationalist leader of India in the 19th century. The first ever Indian MP of the British Raj, Naoroji gave India the objective of Swaraj. Author Dinyar Patel explores the different aspect’s of Naoroji’s extraordinary life replete with incidents that laid the foundation for India’s struggle for freedom.

An inspiration to Nehru, Naoroji was called the “father of the nation” by Mahtma Gandhi himself. His ties with world’s anti-imperialist leaders, theory of “drain of wealth” and several other such aspects of utmost importance is comprehensively studied in the book. Dinyar Patel draws an authentic picture and successfully takes the readers back in time.

References:

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/we-know-what-you-are-reading-this-summer/nandan-nilekani

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/What-It-Takes/Stephen-A-Schwarzman/9781501158148

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/549448/capitalism-in-america-by-alan-greenspan-and-adrian-wooldridge/

https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674238206

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