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The Nationalist: How A.M. Naik Overcame Great Odds to Transform Larsen &Toubro into a Global Powerhouse Hardcover – 18 Nov 2017
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I read it very sincerely and the life story of Mr. AM Naik is really motivating story for engineers. --By A Customer on 25 November 2017
About the Author
Minhaz Merchant is the biographer of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the late industrialist Aditya Birla. He founded the pioneering media firm Sterling Newspapers Pvt. Ltd, which was later acquired by the Indian Express group. A widely published newspaper columnist, Minhaz's book, The New Clash of Civilizations: How the Contest between America, China, India and Islam Will Shape Our Century, was published in 2014. Recipient of the Lady Jeejeebhoy scholarship for physics, Minhaz lives in Mumbai with his wife Kahini. The couple have two children, Suhail and Tehzeeb.
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- The content editing has been sub-par. I agree with some of the reviewers on content being replicated at multiple places. At times the book feels really boring when the author goes round and round to make a point through.
- I think it was assumed by the author that all readers would be engineers who will implicitly understand and appreciate all the technical aspects. For a regular reader, things would have been far more interesting if some context was provided for the complexity of the projects L&T has taken up, like how difficult it is to make a submarine hull or a missile launch platform or a nuclear reactor dome. Just a single line on defense systems or nuclear reactors doesn't do any justice to what L&T has really achieved.
- Lastly, a lot of action has happened during its takeover saga by Reliance and involvement of other players. But it was just given a passing thought and not much details were shared on how Reliance actually built up a significant position to win board seats/chairmanship. The most critical details were skipped. However, who did the book launch somehow answers this point :)
Overall, a disappointing experience and its rather unfair to L&T and Mr. Naik.
In 24 hours I read up to 188 of 246 pages. I like to finish it before writing this review but the book is written in so careless manner that it is getting headache to finish it.
There are two parts of the review: (1). About AM Naik and L&T. (2). About writing quality of the book Nationalist".
(1) The book is more about L&T than A M Naik. But given Naik's 53 years association with L&T, it is almost impossible the present the two separately.Anyway, book (content wise) throws light on journey of L&T as well as AM Naik's life. Few things to note will be - Naik's humble early life, his hard working workshop experience at Powai, L&T's beginning, L&T's manufacturing facilities at Hazira (Surat) and Kattapalli, hostile attempt of take over of L&T by Ambani and Birla, Rise of AM Naik as CEO and MD, Rise of L&T as nation building company from 1999 onward.
If you are not even remotely aware of L&T, this book will give idea the company's profile.
(2) About writing quality of the book Nationalist".
My honest assessment is, THE BOOK IS ALMOST UNREADABLE. There are numerous occasions where same information, words, sentences, and even paragraphs have been copy pasted only two page apart (see first para on page 175 and last para on 178). Writer has mentioned the story about "How Naik saved L&T from Ambani and Birla" about 10 times by 150 pages. The lessons from Naik's father to AM Naik exists at more than 5 times. Many colleagues telling about Naik 'Using the same set of Phrases and words in same tone is very repetitive". There are random jumps in paragraphs and at time it is very easy to lose tract of who said what. At the end, I feel like going through minutes of meeting.
Mr. Merchant as writer has either rushed through the books due to publication deadlines.
I am a Civil Engineer and, co-incidentally, Ex Employee of L&T(ECC). I can say that the author has largely wasted an opportunity of bringing an Iconic book. Naik would have many interesting anecdotes that should have found place in the book (there are only few and repeated unnecessarily). There is only brief mention of L&T ECC which constitutes about 60% of L&T's revenue (of course Naik is more related to L&T Heavy Engineering). I have marked some places in my copy of the book that needs improvement and I am planning to send to the author for improvement.
Book was begun on a very optimistic note but after reading through 70% of the book, the reader looses the charm.
Would have preferred slightly more critical narrative that brings out the flaws as well
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