Book Review: The Tatas

Title: The Tatas
Author: Girish Kuber
Translator: Vikrant Pande
Publisher: Harper Business- HarperCollins
Pages: 264
ISBN: 978-9352779376
Source: Publisher

In his book The Tatas, Girish Kuber traces the 200 year old legacy of India’s one of the biggest business families. Right from the birth of Nusserwanji in 1822 to the present chairman Natrajan Chandrasekaran, this book encapsulates the journey that the Tatas have undertaken. Parallel to the story of the Tatas runs the story of India, so that the book depicts how the building of a business impacted the building of a nation.

The book begins by capturing the toddler steps taken by Nusserwanji, then moving on to the pace and firm grounding provided by Jamsetji and finally the long strides taken by JRD Tata and Ratan Tata. The account of the family and its business skills presented here in this book is awe-inspiring. Rising from the regional to the national and finally to international level amidst the occasional crisis arising from within the group and sometimes without, the Tatas represent the power of conviction.

I was not sure about this book and I thought it would be boring because of being all-facts. But I was wrong. The book is a page-turner and one feels like watching a movie or a documentary on the subject. And that makes me say that the translation (from the original Marathi) has been done brilliantly. It always felt as if I were reading an original work.

There are several bits of information about the Tata family and personal lives of the famous Tata figures. These peeps into the lives of the members of the Tata family formed an interesting part of the narrative and sought to break the monotony of what is otherwise an historical account. The book is written within a broad chronological framework but the author does move to and fro in time and space within the chapters, which worked really well for me.

I feel the author’s account of the history was objective to a large extent, especially the period before JRD Tata. However I feel that in the later period, that is, the contemporary times, the Tatas were being presented in an all-good-and-always-good light. I maybe wrong but this is what I felt. Besides that I feel that had there been more of personal stuff, the book would have been even more interesting. Nevertheless it was a great read for me and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My Rating: ****(4/5)

What do you think about this book? Have you read any book on the Tatas? Do share your views. Thanks.

*I was sent a review copy by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed are entirely personal and unbiased.*

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