Adventures of an Itinerant Executive

Unlike MNC jobs, where another person doing something that you thought was your job seems threatening, writing appears to be a more cooperative activity.

I am just back from a joyful ride which Rajiv Inamdar’s book ‘Adventures of an Itinerant Executive’ had taken me on, and I urge you to do the same.

Rajiv is a senior from IIM Ahmedabad. Our careers also crossed for a few years at a big bank but we didn’t. Now he is a published author too. Stop it Rajiv!

Rajiv’s journey winds its way around exotic locales including Sri Lanka, the UK and the Middle East and, of course, many places in India, peppered with anecdotes and incidents to match, written in a delightfully humorous vein. It helps that these stories are personal, with Rajiv playing a part in many.

Even his parents are not spared! The book begins with the story of a shipboard romance between his parents that took place on a cruise from the UK to India in the 1950s.

History follows him as he navigates his way around roles in advertising, brand management and market research around the world, including the challenge of setting up Sri Lanka’s first market research company at the tender age of 25 during the worst ethnic riots that the country has ever witnessed.  In mid – career, he makes a switch to banking in the unlikely territory of Saudi Arabia where he lands smack in the middle of the Gulf war!

‘By mid-November, the Americans had sent in 230,000 troops to defend Saudi Arabia. General Norman Schwarzkopf, the chief of US forces in the region, made the basement of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Riyadh, next door to SAMBA ( Saudi American Bank – a subsidiary of Citibank), his war headquarters.

One evening, while playing tennis at the Saudi British Bank (subsidiary of HSBC) compound when we heard a fearsome rumbling in the sky. This sounded as if a massive thunderstorm was about to burst. It was the sound of a large number of gigantic US Air Force B-52 bombers that were arriving in Saudi Arabia to defend its residents. There were so many of them that several could not land on the airport runways and had to make do with the super-wide highways around Riyadh. We knew then that war was a real possibility and wondered what was in store for us.’

One can almost visualise Rajiv missing an easy volley as the rolling thunder of the B-52s starts just as he was positioning himself for the shot.

Or forgetting to pick up the original from the photocopier as a Scud missile sent over by Saddam thuds with almost pinpoint accuracy into the building next door to his office. ‘Almost’ because it was perhaps meant for the building on the other side of his office that housed General Norman Schwarzkopf.

‘A few days after we had been lulled into complacency by American assurances, a Scud came over Riyadh and demolished a 12-storey building next door to SAMBA’s headquarters where I worked. Saddam had obviously been aiming for General Schwarzkopf’s office in the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the other side of the SAMBA building. This was pretty accurate shootin’! A day later, a Scud flew directly over our residential compound and demolished a school a few kilometres away. We were right in the thick of battle.

On one occasion, a Saudi news anchor was reading the news when the sirens went off. He was explaining how well-fortified the city was and that its residents should not panic under any circumstances. Just as he was speaking, the wailing of the siren became louder and the news anchor was seen on camera looking fearfully over his shoulder to see whether the missile was in his vicinity.’

Following  a series of adventures in Saudi Arabia, which remains an enigma to most people, he moves on to Dubai where he is put through his paces as a consumer banker working in several parts of the business including marketing, credit, credit cards, and strategy. He then returns to India to lead the largest market research organisation in the country following which he makes another interesting career switch into the field of knowledge management where he spends the last twelve years of his remarkable career.

Apart from providing insights into management challenges in many industries the book describes several hilarious incidents and exciting stories from his personal life. These include trysts with several airlines to the point that one begins to wonder whether it is advisable to travel anywhere with Rajiv. He also describes a back breaking trip to the Himalayas on a motorbike at the not-so-tender age of 51 and tells stories of golf and tennis victories. There is an almost an entire chapter devoted to a car accident the author was involved in that contains many salutary lessons for those who drive in this country.

Apart from action and thrill seekers, Adventures of an Itinerant Executive might also be of interest to management students and young business executives, as the author also manages to deliver management lessons. His hallowed alma mater would be proud!

All of the above is packed into under 300 pages and is available as a paperback and e book on various platforms including Amazon (India, US, UK), Flipkart, Kobo, Google Play and iBooks. A  Kindle version is also available.

Highly recommended!

Peer review

Ionia Martin, fellow blogger, avid reader, book reviewer and many other things, reviewed my book (cover image in the panel on the right) on her blog.

Click on the link below to read the review on her blog:

What happens in office, stays in office by Ankur Mithal.

Then scroll down to the “My Thoughts” part of the review.

Thank you Ionia.

Book promotion

Time for some shameless self-promotion. Oops!! I meant book promotion.

Leadstart, the publisher of my book “What happens in office, stays in office” (image in the margin on the right) has launched its own website for selling books. My book is available for Rs. 136.50 (30% less) with no delivery charge, till 28th Feb. In case you are buying, use Promo code: LPWHIOSIO1. Use link: http://www.leadstartshop.com/Products/Lead-Publishing-Fiction-Fiction/Leadstart-Publishing-Pvt-Ltd/What-happens-in-office-stays-in-office/pid-2223987.aspx

I guess this will only work for deliveries in India. Also, the Promo code will only work on the publisher’s site to which the above link leads.

Of course the book is also available on Amazon.com in the US, sans the publisher promotion, on: http://www.amazon.com/What-happens-office-stays/dp/9381836493/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347797270&sr=1-2&keywords=what+happens+in+office%2C+stays

A few weeks back another review of the book was carried by Friday Gurgaon, a popular weekly newspaper in the eponymous town (Gurgaon), that I have not shared earlier on this blog. Here it is, followed by the link to the newspaper’s webpage with the review:

review FG 

 

Book review

I am pleased to share a review of my book, “What happens in office, stays in office”, that appeared in the print edition of the New Indian Express, a leading national daily, on 22nd October. The content of the review is also visible on the online edition which can be accessed on:

http://newindianexpress.com/education/edex/article1307866.ece

This review has been penned by a fellow WordPress blogger. As he writes under an alias I cannot reveal the identity. But it would be interesting to see if anyone has a guess. A hint – writing styles tend to stay constant.

The book is available, among other places:

– On amazon.com in the US

– On flipkart.com in India

An image of the page carrying the review:

Look to the lower half of the page on the left. Ignore the photographs on the page, they are not mine!!

Thank you for your support.