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Stories from the Real World

Feb 2017

Stories from the Real World

Stories from the Real World brought together three eminent personalities from different walks of life, who’ve seen different sectors of real life and talked about success and the journey to it.

Sujata Sen, director of the Kolkata Literature Festival, was the moderator for the fifth session of Day 2 at the Kolkata Literature Festival.

Tamal Bandyopadhyay, an Indian Business journalist, has authored the biography of Chandrashekhar Ghosh – “Bandhan- the Making of a Bank”. “I don’t get into technicalities while writing. I write to just tell a story about an individual. It fascinated me, that this man was giving loans and jobs to millions of underprivileged people in a very politically sensitive state. This gentleman has taught others to dream, which fascinated me. So the book talks about inspiration and about entrepreneurship.

Shashank Shah, a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School, was asked who really makes up his book about a millennials journey. “I saw on one side success stories, and on another side, the role of corporations in society- the existential purpose of a corporation. So I went around interviewing, about the success stories of famous companies and they had a unanimous answer- that all stakeholders should have a win win situation,” he said. “The best way to teach business is to help young entrepreneurs take decisions and this is done in a storytelling way,” he added. How to judge a good business book? “If my grandmother can read and interpret it,” he concluded.

Hardeep Puri, a ex-member of the Indian Foreign Service., was asked about what power he had while representing India on international platforms. “I have spent over 40 years outside and hence come to this discussion from a different aspect. That is from the view of peace and security. My book is about decisions making, when it is flawed. When an individual or organisation took wrong decisions and what their effects were,” he said. One example he cited was when the security council did not take action on Saddam Hussain’s alleged possession of arms. Another was regarding authorisation for the use of force in Libya. “My book also traces the creation of the ISIS. What is it? The neglected child. It has been created by the countries which are now fighting ISIS.” “Policy makers at the Security Council, never have easy choices. There are only lousy options,” he concluded.

Tamal Bandyopadhyay went on to talk about “stupid decision making” in the companies that he had closely looked at. Hardeep Puri intervened to say that in his world, stupidity lies not in “stupid” decision making, but a decision taken while believing in someone who wasn’t to be trusted. Shashank Shah also joined in to cite the example of Hindustan Unilever and their rivalry with Nirma, in the field of companies. “You make mistakes, but you turn around and turn around well enough to compete in the market,” Shashank Shah said. Collective decision making and working on your mistakes also play a key role in making success stories.

The very insightful and interesting session, looked at success and failures, which make the crux of real everyday life. Whether its big companies, institutions or simple individuals, everyone’s life revolves greatly around these two factors. Hence, maturity lies in knowing and understanding mistakes, and then working and changing them, and that paves the way to success. The laws of nature alwasy make sure you get your dues.

Follow the #KLF17 on social media to remain updated about the Kolkata Literature Festival.


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