Sunday, 28 January 2018

Book Review #90 : Odyssey of Courage: The Story of an Indian Multinational

Publisher : Maven, Rupa Publications 
Copyright : Habil Khorakiwala, 2017
Genre :  Non-fiction, Autobiography
Price : Hardcover Rs 595/-
Pages : 225

In today’s time, when autobiographies have flooded the market, this particular book stands out as the most prolific yet humane account of an entrepreneur. Habil Khorakiwala who managed to take his small family chemical business to the zeniths of Medical Research, in matter of just four decades is a living legend. 

However, the book is not just about the inception and journey of Wockhardt as a brand, but is also an up, close and personal account of the Khorakiwala family. It has some amazing anecdotes which give the readers a rare insight into the working of the genius mind and amazing human qualities which truly mark his passionate story as the ‘Odyssey of Courage’. Everything about this book is inspiring and makes us believe in our dreams. 

He elegantly describes his work life as well as his personal one. The fascinating lessons he learnt from his father, his hands on experiences with business and his observations of the people surrounding him, his passions and dreams are all described precisely yet adequately. I felt as if I was having a deep conversation with him sitting right beside me. 

Odyssey of Courage is more than just the story of Wockhardt. It offers invaluable insights into the making of a knowledge-based Indian multinational. Policymakers, business executives, students of management and public policy will relate to Khorakiwala’s experiences in ‘learning by doing’, taking risks and handling crises, and in managing change—within the industry, within India’s policy environment, and within the world of global pharma. Few pages down and Habil starts to make sense in every possible way and wins your heart at the end of the book.

It is one of the many reads that hold your attention from the start to the end. He briefly describes about his college life, his love for spicy food and the city of Mumbai. He built his now multinational company, brick by brick and the struggles and obstacles are clearly expressed in his account. Something that connects the readers to him is the aptly placed quotes at the start of every chapter. They very much do reflect in our lives.

But what makes this book a really good one is that, it gives so much of information about various issues that need to be raised in our country being Antimicrobial Resistance, dwindling antibiotic discoveries, patenting and so on. He explains in a simple manner that people not in touch with science can easily understand what he conveys. It was an inspiring yet entertaining read.

Language used in the book is simple and easily understandable. Title is catchy and attracts readers and cover is appropriate with the book. Story flows smoothly and binds readers with the book.

The book recounts four different transformation journeys from the time he started his company and survived in the first 10 to 15 years to become an important national pharmaceutical organisation, after liberalisation established global footprints along with research initiatives and now moving forward to introduce Novel Drug through its Antibiotic Drug Discovery Program.

The book has followed an approach of storytelling which makes it a compelling read. For practitioners of business and management, there are many unique learnings like  taking risks, committing mistakes, determination, hard work, success, which come out of the lifetime experience in his journey with a great degree of ups and downs.

Odyssey of Courage touched my heart. Habil Khorakiwala with his autobiography serves us a highly motivational story of courage, hard work and hope. Inspiring stories never fail to amuse me and this book was no exception. When the empowering essence of the stories was sprinkled with lucid writing, the book met my expectations.

VERDICT: Buy this book. Read it. And imbibe it within yourself to give a new direction to your life! This book is a gem. It is a must read for entrepreneurs. 


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