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Category: Biographies, Diaries and True Accounts

Biographies, Diaries and True Accounts

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  • This is an intimate and moving autobiography of one of India’s most successful start-up entrepreneurs. If ever there was anyone whose life could be described as nothing but a roller-coaster, it is that of Sandeep Aggarwal. ‘Fall again, rise again’ are words that sum up the entire life of the founder of two billion-dollar companies and shopclues. Sandeep’s story is that of a middle-class boy who could not speak English for much of his school life but dreamt to make it big someday. A young professional who went to the US and couldn’t get a job but eventually became a sought-after wall Street analyst. He achieved more success than he could imagine but gave up everything to return to India to become an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur who built one of India’s very few unicorns but was ousted from his own company. A dreamer who saw his dreams crushed by Charges of insider trading in the US but rose like a Phoenix to create yet another company—droom. He was an accused whose agonizing wait for a final decision in his case continued for six long years. But that did not stop a string of global investors from putting money into droom, including Japan’s Toyota group company. He was finally vindicated when the US government dropped all criminal Charges against him in February2020, and the securities and Exchange Commission settled all Civil Charges against him around the same time. This is unlike any autobiography, especially among those written by people from the business world. Sandeep’s emotional strength and searing honesty will inspire and impact you in a way that is very, very rare.

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  • The inspiring success story of one of Asia’s biggest businessmen, the man behind Wai noodles.The man behind the immensely popular Wai noodles (Wai has sold more than a billion packets in India alone), Binod Chaudhary is one of Asia’s most prominent businessmen. President of the Chaudhary Group which deals in banking, insurance, finance and housing, he has invested in hotels and real estate and collaborates among others with India’s Taj Group. In 2013, he became the first Nepali entrepreneur to be listed as a dollar billionaire by Forbes. His passion for growing his business, in the face of stiff challenges, is legendary. This memoir, already a massive bestseller in Nepal, tells Binod Chaudhary’s inspiring success story in his own words.

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  • N.K. Singh has been a formidable civil servant, an empathetic politician, a keen chronicler of India’s socioeconomic history and the quintessential academic that academia never got. His life’s work, as chronicled in this book has indeed been intertwined with the progress India has made. In many such cases, Singh has been not just an active contributor but has also given shape to those many momentous decisions—whether through the use of diplomacy or the rigours of understanding the mechanism of the levers of power or, for that matter, by consensus building. Portraits of Power is not just an autobiography of a man, who for several decades has played an active role in India’s march towards becoming a formidable economy; it is indeed, on multiple levels, a book that profiles myriad institutions that work in harmony to make things happen. And in everything that N.K. Singh has done, so in this book too, there is both incisive clarity and insightful anecdotal heft. This book helps readers navigate the vast complexities of India but in a way that is stark and yet elegant. From personal happenings to national movements, Portraits of Power covers it all.

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  • Rama, Maryada Purushottam, the king of Ayodhya, banished his beloved queen, in whose chastity he had complete faith, simply because his subjects disapproved of his accepting a wife who had spent a year in the house of her abductor. The king submitted to the will of the people though it broke his heart. Was his stand justified?Could Manthara be held solely responsible for the banishment of Rama and the subsequent death of Dasharatha?Was Ahalya an adulteress or a victim of sexual assault?Did the actions of the serial molester Ravana stand legal scrutiny? Was Lakshmana, a prince of Ayodhya, legally justified in mutilating Surpanakha? Was his elder brother Rama an accomplice in that action? It was said in ancient India, a king who, after having sworn to safeguard his subjects, failed to protect should be executed like a mad dog. Such a provision indicated that sovereignty was based on an implied social contract, and if the king violated the traditional pact, he forfeited his kingship. So, a king had to be just as justice trickled down from the crown. What happens though if the events of yore are retold and characters made to stand trial in today’s time? Here is an attempt, unexplored so far, to retell the significant happenings narrated in the Ramayana through the legal prism of the Indian Penal Code. Each chapter comprises a prosecution version, citations of relevant provisions from the IPC, deposition of witnesses and the defence argument. Ramayana Revisited succeeds in bringing in all alternative perspectives, leaving the final judgement to the discretion of the reader.

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  • The remarkable story of how Joe Foster developed Reebok into one of the world’s most famous sports brands, having started from a small factory in Bolton. Since the late 19th century, the Foster family had been hand-making running shoes, supplying the likes of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams – later immortalised in the film Chariots of Fire – as well as providing boots to most Football League clubs. But a family feud between Foster’s father and uncle about the direction of their business led to Joe and his brother Jeff setting up a new company, inspired by the success of Adidas and Puma, and so Reebok was born. At first, money was so short that Joe and his wife had to live in their rundown factory, while the machinery that made the shoes was placed around the edge of the floor, because it was so weak it could have collapsed if they’d been positioned in the middle. But, from this inauspicious start, a major new player in the sports equipment field began to emerge, inspired by Joe’s marketing vision. By the 1980s, Reebok had become a global phenomenon, when they were the first to latch onto the potential of the aerobics craze inspired by Jane Fonda. Soon, Reeboks were being seen on Hollywood red carpets and even in the film Aliens, where Sigourney Weaver wore a pair of Reebok Alien Stompers.  Like the international bestseller Shoe Dog, by Nike’s Phil Knight, Shoemaker is a powerful tale of triumph against all the odds, revealing the challenges and sacrifices that go into creating a world-beating brand; it is also the story of how a small local business can transform itself, with the right products and the right vision, into something much, much bigger.

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  • ‘Your heart and world will be opened by reading The Brass Notebook, the intimate and political life of Devaki Jain, a young woman who dares to become independent even as her country of India does. Because she is also my oldest friend, I can tell you there is no one like her, yet only here in her writing have I learned the depth, breadth and universality of her adventures.’—GLORIA STEINEM‘A riveting account of the lifestory of a courageous woman who has all her life challenged what convention expects of her.’—DESMOND TUTU‘Devaki Jain was among those who initiated Indian women into recognizing their rights in society, and in asserting a visible presence, discarding their earlier imposed invisibility. When such a woman writes, inter-leaving her personal and public life…then what she has to say is not just a memoir, it is an event.’—ROMILA THAPAR In this no-holds-barred memoir, renowned feminist economist and academician Devaki Jain recounts her own story and also that of an entire generation and a nation coming into its own.She begins with her childhood in south India, a life of comfort and ease with a father who served as dewan in the Princely States of Mysore and Gwalior. But there were restrictions too, that come with growing up in an orthodox Tamil Brahmin family, as well as the rarely spoken about dangers of predatory male relatives. Ruskin College, Oxford, gave her her first taste of freedom in 1955, at the age of 22. Oxford brought her a degree in philosophy and economics—as well as hardship, as she washed dishes in a cafe to pay her fees. It was here, too, that she had her early encounters with the sensual life. With rare candour, she writes of her romantic liaisons in Oxford and Harvard, and falling in love with her ‘unsuitable boy’—her husband, Lakshmi Jain, whom she married against her beloved father’s wishes. Devaki’s professional life saw her becoming deeply involved with the cause of ‘poor’ women—workers in the informal economy, for whom she strove to get a better deal. In the international arena, she joined cause with the concerns of the colonized nations of the south, as they fought to make their voices heard against the rich and powerful nations of the former colonizers. Her work brought her into contact with world leaders and thinkers, amongst them, Vinoba Bhave, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Henry Kissinger, Amartya Sen, Doris Lessing and Iris Murdoch, her tutor at St Anne’s College, Oxford, who became a lifelong friend. In all these encounters and anecdotes, what shines through is Devaki Jain’s honesty in telling it like it was—with a message for women across generations, that one can experience the good, the bad and the ugly, and remain standing to tell the story.

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  • An Inspiration The Holocaust was one of the most horrendous and terrible eras in history. Innumerable books have been written describing the horrors of the Holocaust; but nothing beats the documentation of a family who had gone into hiding in the diary of a little girl, Anne Frank. Honest, lucid and empathetic; The Diary of A Young Girl deserves a read by everyone who has ever questioned mental strength of humans and also by those who cannot come to terms with the cruelties that could be inflicted by humans upon fellow humans. The first entry in the diary is on June 12, 1942 by Anne Frank, who had received it as a birthday present and the entries in the diary end abruptly on 1 August, 1944. The Underlying Themes Anne Frank and her family lived a peaceful life in Frankfurt, Germany but they had to escape to Amsterdam with fellow Jews and go into hiding, as the Nazis took over Europe. Anne writes in her diary the tribulations her family had to face living in hiding, because they knew if caught, they would have to suffer horribly. The sufferance of the Jews during the Holocaust is known to all; yet a thirteen year old feeling the impact of intolerance and racism makes readers realise how profound the impacts of the World War II was. What is most captivating is that amidst the terror and the fear, Anne manages to remain a cheerful girl full of life, who loved to talk and observe. Still a teenager and unaware of the horrors lurking behind their hiding space, Anne fails to realise the fear trapped within the hearts of elders initially and describes everyday events from the view of a teenager. As the story develops, Anne develops and realisation comes over her. The Nazis are getting more stringent and oppression rises; there are certain places in the book that leaves readers sad and distressed. One day, Anne’s entire family including her, gets captured and the diary ends abruptly with the promise of a new day that never comes in the life of Anne Frank. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only one in the family who had managed to escape the concentration camps they were taken to and went on to make Anne’s diary into a book. Conclusion The story of Anne Frank and the Frankfurt family is considered one of the most insightful accounts of the World War through the eyes of a young girl. The Diary of A Young Girl has been the subject of innumerable plays and movies. The original diary was published by Otto Frank in Dutch in 1947 and it was first translated to English in 1952, as The Diary of A Young Girl. Since then, it has been translated to more than sixty languages and people all over the world have read, loved and cried over the memoirs of Anne Frank. The book is available online for convenient shopping. You can bag this book from Amazon.in today by following a few easy steps. A Children’s Bookshelf Selection: Each month our editor’s pick the best books for children and young adults by age to be a part of the children’s bookshelf. These are editorial recommendations made by our team of experts. Our monthly reading list includes a mix of bestsellers and top new releases and evergreen books that will help enhance a child’s reading life.

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  • Winner of the 2020 Tata Literature Live! Business Book AwardFrom the bylanes of Kamalia and the rugged landscapes of Quetta in India of the 1940s which later became Pakistan, they escaped to the Partition-ravaged cities of Amritsar, Agra, Delhi and finally settled in Ludhiana with little more than the shirts on their backs. From here, four of the six Munjal brothers built their business, part by part. There was no grand vision of building a world-scale enterprise; their aim was simply to survive and provide for their families. Hero began with trading in and then manufacturing bicycle parts, evolved into bicycles, mopeds, automotive parts, motorcycles and scooters, and today the restructured group also encompasses service businesses and infrastructure.In 1986, thirty years after its inception, Hero Cycles became the largest bicycle maker in the world. In the next fifteen years, the motorcycle venture Hero Honda also became the largest in the world, and both pole positions are held firmly even today. This is an authentic ‘Make in India’ story about overcoming many odds: labyrinthine red tape, tepid economic growth and later, global competition. It follows the lives and times of the four Munjal brothers who lived together and scripted a dramatic revolution on two wheels without any formal education or resources. In parallel, it’s also the story of how an agrarian economy like India, with limited means of transportation, took wing on the back of this two-wheel revolution.Driven by family values and Indian ethos, yet wholly contemporary and pioneering in their thinking and best practices, Hero firms today are renowned for putting mutually beneficial relationships at the very core of their business philosophy. The book goes deep inside the ‘family spirit’ that brought employees, customers, channel partners, suppliers and local communities together to create success, welfare and well-being for millions over the past seven decades. A rare story that proves how a principle-driven organization can create exceptional value for society.

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  • In 1974, one of India’s greatest post-Independence entrepreneurs Raunaq Singh acquired the license to operate a tyre company in Kerala. However, there was no factory. It was a company registered in name only. Apollo Tyres. Thanks to Onkar Singh Kanwar, Raunaq’s eldest son, Apollo is today one of India’s most successful automotive companies with a turnover in excess of $2 billion and factories across India and in Europe.This is the story, never told before, of how Onkar Singh Kanwar built Apollo from scratch and took it to the world stage. To do it, he had to combat strikes and union intimidation, the restrictions of the License Raj, politically motivated nationalization and near bankruptcy.As if that was not enough, he also had to endure and survive a traumatic falling-out with the father he so admired. Never before has Onkar Kanwar spoken so openly or movingly about the father he still reveres and his regrets that life should have been so different from what he would have liked it to be.The Man Behind the Wheel recounts these dramatic events in compelling detail as Onkar Kanwar follows his steadfast vision to build not just a company, but also an industrial institution. For the first time Onkar Kanwar’s closest friends and colleagues have spoken about the triumphs and the setbacks that have shaped both his and the company’s life and times. His wife and family share their personal insights of the man who is at the hub and heart of their world and how his values as a Sikh, father, brother and husband have moulded him as an entrepreneur.The Man Behind the Wheel is the insightful and exciting story of a highly successful company and its creator as he takes us on a journey through his early days in the US of the 1960s, importing and exporting in the pre-boom Middle East, to building factories in Vadodara and Chennai and further expansion to the Netherlands and Hungary with stop-offs in China and a highly charged courtroom battle in the United States.But tellingly, it is also the story of fathers and sons and of family dynasties and responsibilities played out against the backdrop of India’s first seventy years since Independence.

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  • One day, Constance A. ‘Connie’ Berry, Pradeep Berry’s wife of 41 years, passed away due to unforeseen medical circumstances. His mourning continues, and he seeks to cope with the loss in this tribute to his beloved spouse. The Medical Conspiracy Behind My Wife’s Demise celebrates not just their love-a love that would have never happened if he hadn’t left India to go to the United States-but also accounts the unfortunate, contentious, and suspicious circumstances surrounding Connie’s death.With just seven dollars on hand, never in his wildest dreams did Pradeep Berry expect to meet a beautiful, intelligent wife in America. His family embraced Connie when they realized she was polite, smart, and self-made. She became the star of the family. Berry lovingly describes Connie’s qualities, character, ethics, as well as her professional career. He observes that even though he’s been in tremendous pain since she died, he would have never had such a long and happy marriage if he and Connie had not loved each other so much. Connie and Pradeep both considered themselves as two bodies and one soul, and he hopes they will again be two bodies and one soul in the next life.Reviews for the previous edition, ‘My Connie'”A debut author pays tribute to his deceased wife in this memoir. The prose style is sometimes stilted and other times histrionic. However, it occasionally achieves moments of quiet lyricism, as a result, it doesn’t have much to teach readers about how to get over a loss. Rather, it’s a raw document of the middle of grief and all the emotions that come with it. An emotional elegy that’s somewhat undisciplined in style.”- Kirkus ReviewsMore reviews on the back cover of the book.

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  • Nobel Peace Prize winner and bestselling author Malala Yousafzai introduces some of the faces behind the statistics and news stories we read or hear every day about the millions of people displaced worldwide.Malala’s experiences visiting refugee camps caused her to reconsider her own displacement – first as an Internally Displaced Person when she was a young child in Pakistan, and then as an international activist who could travel anywhere in the world, except to the home she loved. In We Are Displaced, which is part memoir, part communal storytelling, Malala not only explores her own story of adjusting to a new life while longing for home, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her various journeys – girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they’ve ever known. In a time of immigration crises, war and border conflicts, We Are Displaced is an important reminder from one of the world’s most prominent young activists that every single one of the 68.5 million currently displaced is a person – often a young person – with hopes and dreams, and that everyone deserves universal human rights and a safe home.

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