Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Hind Pocket Books

The Tata Way: A Tribute to Excellence

On this auspicious occasion of J.R.D Tata’s birth anniversary, we embark on a journey through the enigmatic world of the Tata Business Group. From the Visionary founder, Jamsetji Tata, to the modern-day achievements under the leadership of Ratan Tata, these books over profound insights into the Tata legacy, its contributions to the nation, and its ultimate impact on India’s business landscape.
Join us in celebrating their heritage through these rich tales of perseverance, innovation, and philanthropy that continue to inspire generations even today!


For the love of India
For the love of India: The Life & Times Of Jamsetji Tata||

In For the Love of India, R.M. Lala has drawn upon fresh material from the India Office Library in London and other archives, as also Jamsetji’s letters, to portray the man and his age. It is an absorbing account that makes clear how remarkable Jamsetji’s achievement truly was, and why, even now, one hundred years after his death, he seems like a man well ahead of the times.


The Creation of Wealth
The Creation of Wealth: The Tatas From The 19th To The 21st Century || R M Lala

The Creation of Wealth is R.M. Lala’s bestselling account of how the Tatas have been at the forefront in the making of the Indian nation-not just by their phenomenal achievements as industrialists and entrepreneurs but also by their significant contributions in areas like factory reforms, labour and social welfare, medical research, higher education, culture and arts, and rural development.


The Story of Tata
The Story of Tata || Peter Casey

In 1868, Jamsetji Tata, a visionary of his time, lit the flame that went on to become Tata and its group of companies. This business grew into an extraordinary one. One that some may even call ‘the greatest company in the world’. Over the decades, the business expanded and prospered under the leadership of the various keepers of the flame, such as Sir Dorabji Tata, J.R.D. Tata and Ratan Tata, to name a few. But one day, the headlines boldly declared that the chairman of the board of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry, had been fired.
What went wrong?

In this exclusive and authorized book, insiders of the Tata businesses open up to Peter Casey for the first time to tell the story. From its humble beginnings as a mercantile company to its growth as a successful yet philanthropic organization to its recent brush with Mistry, this is a book that every business- minded individual must read.


#TataStories: 40 Timeless Tales To Inspire You

A diamond twice as large as the famous Kohinoor pledged to survive a financial crisis; a meeting with a ‘relatively unknown young monk’ who later went on to be known as Swami Vivekananda; the fascinating story of the first-ever Indian team at the Olympics; the making of India’s first commercial airline and first indigenous car; how ‘OK TATA’ made its way to the backs of millions of trucks on Indian highways; a famous race that was both lost and won; and
many more.

#TataStories is a collection of littleknown tales of individuals, events and places from the Tata Group that have shaped the India we live in today.

The Tata Saga
The Tata Saga: Timeless Stories From India’s Largest Business Group

The Tata Saga is a collection of handpicked stories published on India’s most iconic business group. The anthology features snippets from the lives of various business leaders of the company: Ratan Tata, J.R.D. Tata, Jamsetji Tata, Xerxes Desai, Sumant Moolgaokar, F.C. Kohli, among others. There are tales of outstanding successes, crushing failures and extraordinary challenges that faced the Tata Group.


Tata Log
Tata log || Harish Bhat

From steel to beverages and from supercomputers to automobiles, TATA companies have broken new ground and set new standards of excellence over the past two decades. Tatalog presents eight riveting and hitherto untold stories about the strategic and operational challenges that TATA companies have faced, and the forward thinking and determination that have raised the brand to new heights.


Beyond The Last Blue Mountain
Beyond The Last Blue Mountain: A Life of J.R.D Tata || R.M. Lala

An exhaustive and unforgettable portrait of India’s greatest and most respected industrialist. Written with J.R.D. Tata’s co-operation, this superb biography tells the J.R.D. story from his birth to 1993, the year in which he died in Switzerland. The book is divided into four parts: Part I deals with the early years, from J.R.D’s birth in France in 1904 to his accession to the chairmanship of Tatas, India’s largest industrial conglomerate, at the age of thirty-four; Part II looks at his forty-six years in Indian aviation (the lasting passion of J.R.D’s life) which led to the initiation of the Indian aviation industry and its development into one of India’s success stories; Part III illuminates his half-century-long stint as the outstanding personality of Indian industry; and Part IV unearths hitherto unknown details about the private man and the public figure, including glimpses of his long friendships with such people as Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and his association with celebrities in India and abroad.


The Tata Group
The Tata Group || Dr. Shashank Shah

A deepdive into the Tata universe, The Tata Group brings forth hitherto lesser-known facts and insights. It also brings you face-to-face with the most intriguing business decisions and their makers. How did Tata Motors turn around Jaguar Land Rover when Ford failed to do so? Why wasn’t TCS listed during the IT boom? Why wasn’t Tata Steel’s Corus acquisition successful?


The TCS Story and Beyond
The TCS Story and Beyond || S. Ramadorai

The TCS story is one of modern India’s great success stories. In this fascinating book, S. Ramadorai, one of the country’s most respected business leaders, recounts the steps to that extraordinary success, and outlines a vision for the future where the quality initiatives he undertook can be applied to a larger national framework.


he boy who wanted to fly
he boy who wanted to fly: J.R.D Tata (Dreamer’s Series) || Lavanya Karthik

Before Jeh started India’s first airline and changed the way the nation travelled, he was a boy who dreamt of flying.


The Elements of a Successful Business Model

EVERY SUCCESSFUL COMPANY ALREADY operates according to an effective business model. By systematically identifying all of its constituent parts, executives can understand how the model fulfills a potent value proposition in a profitable way using certain key resources and key processes. With that understanding, they can then judge how well the same model could be used to fulfill a radically different CVP—and what they’d need to do to construct a new one, if need be, to capitalize on that opportunity.
When Ratan Tata of Tata Group looked out over this scene, he saw a critical job to be done: providing a safer alternative for scooter families. He understood that the cheapest car available in India cost easily five times what a scooter did and that many of these families could not afford one. Offering an affordable, safer, all-weather alternative for scooter families was a powerful value proposition, one with the potential to reach tens of millions of people who were not yet part of the car-buying market. Ratan Tata also recognized that Tata Motors’ business model could not be used to develop such a product at the needed price point.
At the other end of the market spectrum, Hilti, a Liechtensteinbased manufacturer of high-end power tools for the construction industry, reconsidered the real job to be done for many of its current customers. A contractor makes money by finishing projects; if the required tools aren’t available and functioning properly, the job doesn’t get done. Contractors don’t make money by owning tools; they make it by using them as efficiently as possible. Hilti could help contractors get the job done by selling tool use instead of the tools themselves—managing its customers’ tool inventory by providing the best tool at the right time and quickly furnishing tool repairs, replacements, and upgrades, all for a monthly fee. To deliver on that value proposition, the company needed to create a fleetmanagement program for tools and in the process, shift its focus from manufacturing and distribution to service. That meant Hilti had to construct a new profit formula and develop new resources and new processes.
The most important attribute of a customer value proposition is its precision: how perfectly it nails the customer job to be done—and nothing else. But such precision is often the most difficult thing to achieve. Companies trying to create the new often neglect to focus on one job; they dilute their efforts by attempting to do lots of things. In doing lots of things, they do nothing really well.
One way to generate a precise customer value proposition is to think about the four most common barriers keeping people from getting particular jobs done: insufficient wealth, access, skill, or time. Software maker Intuit devised QuickBooks to fulfill smallbusiness owners’ need to avoid running out of cash. By fulfilling that job with greatly simplified accounting software, Intuit broke the skills barrier that kept untrained small-business owners from using more-complicated accounting packages. MinuteClinic, the drugstore-based basic health care provider, broke the time barrier that kept people from visiting a doctor’s office with minor health issues by making nurse practitioners available without appointments.
Designing a profit formula
Ratan Tata knew the only way to get families off their scooters and into cars would be to break the wealth barrier by drastically decreasing the price of the car. “What if I can change the game and make a car for one lakh?” Tata wondered, envisioning a price point of around US$2,500, less than half the price of the cheapest car available. This, of course, had dramatic ramifications for the profit formula: It required both a significant drop in gross margins and a radical reduction in many elements of the cost structure. He knew; however, he could still make money if he could increase sales volume dramatically, and he knew that his target base of consumers was potentially huge.
For Hilti, moving to a contract management program required shifting assets from customers’ balance sheets to its own and generating revenue through a lease/subscription model. For a monthly fee, customers could have a full complement of tools at their fingertips, with repair and maintenance included. This would require a fundamental shift in all major components of the profit formula: the revenue stream (pricing, the staging of payments, and how to think about volume), the cost structure (including added sales development and contract management costs), and the supporting margins and transaction velocity.
Identifying key resources and processes
Having articulated the value proposition for both the customer and the business, companies must then consider the key resources and processes needed to deliver that value. For a professional services firm, for example, the key resources are generally its people, and the key processes are naturally people related (training and development, for instance). For a packaged goods company, strong brands and well-selected channel retailers might be the key resources, and associated brand-building and channel-management processes among the critical processes.
Oftentimes, it’s not the individual resources and processes that make the difference but their relationship to one another. Companies will almost always need to integrate their key resources and processes in a unique way to get a job done perfectly for a set of customers. When they do, they almost always create enduring competitive advantage. Focusing first on the value proposition and the profit formula makes clear how those resources and processes need to interrelate. For example, most general hospitals offer a value proposition that might be described as, “We’ll do anything for anybody.” Being all things to all people requires these hospitals to have a vast collection of resources (specialists, equipment, and so on) that can’t be knit together in any proprietary way. The result is not just a lack of differentiation but dissatisfaction.
By contrast, a hospital that focuses on a specific value proposition can integrate its resources and processes in a unique way that delights customers. National Jewish Health in Denver, for example, is organized around a focused value proposition we’d characterize as, “If you have a disease of the pulmonary system, bring it here. We’ll define its root cause and prescribe an effective therapy.” Narrowing its focus has allowed National Jewish to develop processes that integrate the ways in which its specialists and specialized equipment work together.
For Tata Motors to fulfill the requirements of its customer value proposition and profit formula for the Nano, it had to reconceive how a car is designed, manufactured, and distributed. Tata built a small team of fairly young engineers who would not, like the company’s more-experienced designers, be influenced and constrained in their thinking by the automaker’s existing profit formulas. This team dramatically minimized the number of parts in the vehicle, resulting in a significant cost saving. Tata also reconceived its supplier strategy, choosing to outsource a remarkable 85% of the Nano’s components and use nearly 60% fewer vendors than normal to reduce transaction costs and achieve better economies of scale.
At the other end of the manufacturing line, Tata is envisioning an entirely new way of assembling and distributing its cars. The ultimate plan is to ship the modular components of the vehicles to a combined network of company-owned and independent entrepreneur-owned assembly plants, which will build them to order. The Nano will be designed, built, distributed, and serviced in a radically new way—one that could not be accomplished without a new business model. And while the jury is still out, Ratan Tata may solve a traffic safety problem in the process.
This is an excerpt from HBR’s 10 Must Reads (On Strategy). Get your copy here.
Credit: Abhishek Singh

The Legal Eagle – An Excerpt

Harish Salve’s name ranks amongst the brightest legal luminaries of India. After an illustrious career of nearly two decades as a Supreme Court lawyer, he served as the Solicitor General of India from 1999 to 2000. A highly sought-after practising lawyer, his client list includes corporate bigwigs like Ratan Tata, Tina Ambani and Lalit Modi, as well as powerful politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Prakash Singh Badal, and also Bollywood actor Salman Khan. He represented Vodafone in the well-known tax case with the Indian government which was finally decided in Vodafone’s favour. He was the counsel of choice for Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited in big-ticket cases like the Krishna Godavari Basin gas dispute and for Ratan Tata in a privacy petition concerning the Niira Radia tapes, as well as for the Delhi Police in the case for its midnight raid over Baba Ramdev’s rally at Ramlila Maidan. Besides representing his high-profile clients, Harish Salve has offered his pro bono services several times as amicus curiae to assist the Supreme Court in cases mostly relating to the preservation of the environment.
It’s a special day when I hear from the country’s pre-eminent lawyer, confirming our meeting in early August in Delhi at his office at ‘White House’ on the premium Bhagwandas Road, a stone’s throw away from the Supreme Court and India Gate in the Lutyens Bungalow Zone. I am excited to meet Harish Salve, though thankfully not for legal reasons!
There are guards posted outside his sixth-floor office. As you go past the reception desk, of the three doors that open into the reception area, the one on the extreme right is Harish’s chamber. It’s elegantly done in dark mahogany wood and expectedly has a wall-to-wall library stacked with gilded books as the backdrop to his revolving black chair. His large glass-top work desk and the set-up around it take up almost one-third of the space.
From a reputed family, with his grandfather being a successful criminal lawyer and father, N.K.P. Salve, a well-known Congress politician of his time, I imagine that Harish would have had success served to him on a platter and I share my view with him up front.
‘Contrary to what you think,’ he says, ‘I had what you may call “a lower-middle-class” upbringing. I come from a life of simplicity and grew up in a house full of relatives. My mother’s elder brother took sanyas (became an ascetic) and left home. His children were virtually brought up by my parents. My mausi (maternal aunt) also lived with us. So my elder sister, five of my cousins, my mausi and I used to sleep in the big living room, with the only bedroom in the house occupied by my parents.’ Harish was brought up by the same mausi, who was a professor of philosophy in a women’s college. Every night, she would put him to bed and read something to him. It was a very down-to-earth upbringing. Sports for Harish in his childhood meant playing football with kids from the chawls behind their house. As he says, ‘So even though I went to a very good school in Nagpur, there was so much learning we had on the football field of different aspects of life while intermingling with children from different backgrounds.’
After school, he chose to do his undergraduation in commerce and joined his father’s chartered accountancy firm for articles. Harish’s father was a practising chartered accountant before he joined politics. He and his partner had a small firm with an annual turnover of about Rs 5 lakh. Remembering those times, Harish says, ‘During my first year of college, I used to travel by bicycle in the sweltering heat of Nagpur.’ Colleges started in the month of March when day temperature in Nagpur is usually above 40 °C and burning. ‘I would come back, have lunch and then leave for office.’ As the peak summer months approached, the temperature would go up to 45 °C and Harish would cycle to office earlier in the morning. ‘There were times when we would be required to go to some factories in the afternoons and do an audit. I remember we used to take a wet towel and put it around our heads to avoid heat stroke and then cycle some 8 kilometres to reach the place,’ he says. ‘The so-called “big entertainment” in college and years after that was to go to a local dairy and have coffee or to go to Hanuman Mandir and have samosas. I usually stayed up the nights and studied. We would go to the railway station and eat at the dhabas there.’ That’s how Harish grew up. He credits these experiences for teaching him some very important values, making sure he’s never lost touch with that part of his life.
‘You switched from commerce to law. How did that happen? Did you complete your chartered accountancy?’
‘The moment I completed my graduation I joined CA, but found it very boring. Though the course was good, I knew that I would not stay in the audit and accountancy field. I was more interested in law and taxation. I completed CA only because it became a matter of prestige. Everyone said, “Yeh toh Salve sahab ka beta hai, ye thodi karega CA” (He is Mr Salve’s son, so he will not do CA) and my reaction was, “Ab toh pass karke chhodunga” (Now I will qualify and prove myself).’ Harish qualified for CA, and within two months gave up his certificate of practice to enrol at the bar. His father was very upset, but Harish was very clear that he wanted to be a lawyer. He had been a (Nani) Palkhivala fan from the age of fourteen as his father’s firm used to consult Mr Palkhivala on taxation matters, and Harish got the opportunity to interact with him a few times on cases wherein his father involved him. Harish thoroughly enjoyed income tax and learnt a lot from Nani, and gradually made up his mind that if he had to pursue taxation, it would be as a lawyer. The time had come for him to chase his dream.
Keen to know more about his relationship with his father, I ask, ‘You completed law from Government Law College, Nagpur, in 1980, and by then you had also managed to complete a couple of years’ internship with a law firm operating out of Nagpur and Mumbai, as well as acquiring the precious experience of working with Nani Palkhivala on the famous Minerva Mill case. Later, Nani recommended that you work as a junior with Soli Sorabjee who was then the Solicitor General of India based in Delhi. At that time, your father was the deputy leader of the Congress in Parliament under the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi and soon went on to hold other important portfolios in the Central cabinet—as minister of state for information and broadcasting (I&B), then minister of state with independent charge for steel and mines. How did the relationship pan out between the father and the son in terms of propriety—you as a budding lawyer and your father as an influential politician?’
‘My father joined politics when I was ten years old. All I have seen is a downslide in the quality of my life from the time he joined politics. His income went down and things didn’t change right through to the time I was doing my CA. I remember my mother telling me, “You cannot eat meat every day.” This is how it was even when my father was a member of Parliament (MP). Though he steadily grew in terms of his political stature, it didn’t translate into financial gains. The sense of righteousness was very strong in him, so he made sure that the boundaries between our professions remained concrete. When my father was inducted as a minister in the Central cabinet in the 1980s, I never attended a single official party. I went to his office only once when he was in the I&B ministry because he wanted me to sign some papers. For several years after my father was the minister of power, I didn’t know that his office was in Shram Shakti Bhawan.’
It was only much later when, as Solicitor General, Harish went to Shram Shakti Bhawan for a meeting with Suresh Prabhu—who was the minister of power then in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet—regarding the Dabhol case that he realized that it was his father’s office!
‘When my father was the minister of steel, he called me up one day and said that he wanted to know how much work I had got from the Steel Authority of India in the last year. I totalled it, and it came to about Rs 3000 when I had a practice running into some Rs 40 lakh at that time. When he became the minister of power, he called me and told me that he did not want me to work for any public sector units that came under his ministry.’ Harish assured him he would not and at the same time brought to his father’s attention how there were a bunch of third-grade lawyers whom ministers patronized and that they should be barred from appearing. ‘I ended up becoming the cause for a rumpus that followed in the ministry,’ chuckles Harish and adds, ‘It was only once that I worked for the ministry of power, and then too, instead of getting any benefit, I ended up giving free advice to the government.’
‘You imbibed taxation and law from your family environment. What about politics? Have you ever considered joining politics?’
‘My personal view is that there are two kinds of reactions when you see power and politics very closely—you love it or hate it. I hate it.’ Harish is clear that he has never even considered the idea of joining politics. As a student of public affairs and law, he likes following politics and understanding it because it is important—not in its narrow partisan sense but as an important part of governance.
‘As a renowned constitutional lawyer, what are your observations on India as of today—the way the country is being managed and where it is headed?’
Harish ponders briefly and then very eloquently expresses his key concerns about Indian polity. He cautions and remarks, ‘I think right now India is going through a very negative mindset and if we don’t realize this soon enough and do something about it, we are going to pay a very dear price for it. We have, from about 2011 onwards, created an impression that everybody in power is corrupt, everyone who has a car is a crook, everyone who lives well is a crook. We must realize that India’s biggest fault line is between the haves and the have-nots. In the power game of politics, instead of taking hard decisions for development, people are being pitted as rich or poor—us versus them. In this way, we are gradually cultivating complete disrespect for our constitutional institutions.’
Harish’s analysis is that we are being misled by a wealth-hungry media. The media decides who is corrupt and who is not, and we basically assume if a person is rich and influential, he/she must be corrupt. The reality is that governance comes from institutions, and wealth comes from private capital. By giving them a bad name today, Harish believes we are sawing at the edifice of democracy. This trend is alarming and nothing, nothing appears to be above partisan politics—whether it’s land acquisition, foreign direct investment (FDI), or even the Naga Accord. Not blaming any one political party for it, he points out that everybody does it, with politicians attending to their personal interest first and functioning with a ‘to hell with the nation’ attitude.
However, he acknowledges that we still have a lot of very fine politicians and conscientious MPs, having known them well. ‘There are a lot of lower-middle-class MPs who live in two-bedroom flats and go back to do some good work in their constituencies. But you’ll never hear about those people. On the other hand, if one person makes some communally sensitive statement, it immediately makes for front-page news,’ he says.
What after money and fame (1)

error: Content is protected !!