Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Book Review : It Happened in India -Kishore Biyani & Dipayan Baishya

Its Scary..!At this juncture when an optimist about the retail sector in India reads this book, he would hate it(both the book & retail). Cause this book begs to prove that the largest retail company in the country was formed by...fluke. The book is full of tales of Biyani's hits and misses vouching for his anarchist approach in the whole gamble. People like Rama Bijapurkar, Ushir Bhatt, Sameer Sain have been penned as mere bystanders to the whole roulette. From a literary perspective, this would go down as an Indian take on - Made in America- Sam Walton. But as Biyani writes about his denial of regret for the premature listing of the company on the stock exchange, i feel even the book is a little premature. Biyani talks about the concept of Sabse Sasta Din and you would think he invented it, but actually ask any large format retailer and the would say Biyani just discovered it. (Anyways, he's the first to pen it down). The book gives you a sneak peek into varied subjects like Memetics, Observational Research, Jonathan Livingston Seagull which sounds very clichéd of this genre of Business auto/biography. Biyani has tried to invent new concepts like India One,India Two which to me are very abstract, irrational and blur. At a certain point during the end somewhere the book looks like a PR initiative for the National Institute of Design and a certain design firm called Idiom Design. Biyani takes a dig at his critics in the press as well as the competition in terms of Shoppers Stop, The Piramals, Westside. But in his mention of FDI and about the FDI entrants in 1997 he mentions Dairy Farm-RPG, Nanz-Marsh Supermarkets-Escorts, but conveniently ignores the mention of the 3rd major entrant, Lifestyle which looks intentional. Overall the book is a good read for a person who's new to Indian Retail, its also at a good price point of Rs 99, which i feel is a good tactic. But comes no where close to Made in America, which IHII tries to emulate. i feel as though i just heard Anu Malik's take on Pink Floyd.

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