For over fiå?ve decades, Azim Hasham Premji has been one of the trailblazers of India Inc. Taking over his family business of vegetable oils at the young age of twenty-one after the untimely demise of his father, he built one of India's most successful software companies along with a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate. As of 2019, he was the tenth richest person in India, with an estimated net worth of $7.2 billion. Yet, the one facet of the man which has overshadowed even his business achievements is his altruism. His commitment to the Azim Premji Foundation, a non-profiå?t focused on education, totals around $21 billion, making him one of the world's top philanthropists.
Azim Premji: The Man Beyond the Billions, the fiå?rst authoritative biography of the icon, shows how Premji is a philanthropist at heart and a businessman by choice - a man who wanted to give away his billions but realized early enough that he would å?first have to earn them. It peels the layers off Premji's life while chronicling his professional and charitable work in the context of his many strengths and shortcomings.
Based on interviews with hundreds of current and past Wipro executives, who have over the years worked closely with him, as well as with competitors, analysts, family friends and industry associates, this is a journalists' account of Premji the man, the businessman and the philanthropist.
'The story of a person can be inspiring. The authors have chosen their subject well, for everyone knows of Azim Premji but few truly know what makes the man. In chronicling any life, it is easy to get mired down with mind-numbing detail that comes your way if you are sifting through 50-odd years' worth of the protagonist's hits and misses. The authors have done well to stick to the most interesting parts of Premji's life. Two things stand out across events and across time: his integrity and a penchant for frugality. The book chronicles the journey of Wipro from the time the Premjis put down roots in Mumbai. It throws light on the man's spirit of entrepreneurship, as the company cautiously experimented with opportunities. It also does not shy away from some of Wipro's missteps such as the investment in financial services, a business which withered away despite the group's entry into the space after much thought and preparation. This book is a must-read for anyone who can read English.' - K. Bharat Kumar, The Hindu
'When journalists Sundeep Khanna and Varun Sood got down to writing the biography of this serial entrepreneur and philanthropist extraordinaire, they found that very little was known about the man beyond his billions. The authors went about seeking out people from his past and present who gave an insight into the life of the man who fiercely guards his privacy as well as that of his closely knit family ... The book is littered with interesting anecdotes. It also takes into account the many missteps the company took and how it ran into rough weather after it took many wrong decisions.' - Seema Sachdeva, The Tribune
'Gives a comprehensive view of the life of Premji and how he built a very successful IT services firm ... Khanna and Sood do a superb job as they unravel for the readers behind-the-scenes events ... To the credit of the authors, they hold back no punches while articulating the several missteps Wipro took. They have written the book with as much honesty and sincerity as is possible.' K. Giriprakash, The Hindu BusinessLine
'This inspiring memoir charts Wipro's successes and failures alike ... A smooth and interesting read ... The good thing with this book is that it does give oodles of tidbits about the personality behind the public persona.' - K. Sunil Thomas, The Week
'Charting the life of Azim Hasham Premji, the authors take us on a roller-coaster ride.' - Lov Verma, Open
'Khanna and Sood, both fine reporters, and also among the few who understand the IT services business, have written a book that is, one, a master class in reporting, and two, a fine example of what a balanced biography should be.' - Sukumar Ranganathan, Editor, Hindustan Times, on his three favourite books of 2020
'Rich with many never-heard-before anecdotes, the book celebrates Premji's business acumen while detailing his quirks and failures. This is what a business biography should be.' - Sandipan Deb in Mint, on his five favourite books of 2020 that deserve to be read
'Authors, business journalists both, have done a stellar job in telling the story of this most unusual billionaire. Surely, this is the most informative book on Indian business in this remarkable year.' - Business India
'An inspiring read. Just like the subject.' - Mid Day
'What a gift to India Azim Premji is! And here is a book that tells you why. Premji's life teaches that a business can be run honestly; that dogged energy, thrift and self-control not only create wealth but also character; that philanthropy is not only good for the soul but it also legitimizes capitalism. A great read.' - Gurcharan Das, author
'Azim Premji is not just a name. It denotes a vision, a journey, a saga of tenacity and incorrigible determination. It redeå?nes philanthropy and connotes the spirit of trusteeship. It stands for values that guide one's actions towards the well-being of society and societal transformation ... all beautifully captured in this book. A must-read for all who want to see the co-existence of business leadership of top order, unassuming humility and a non-demonstrative life of disarming simplicity.' - Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health
'Azim is a role model because his philosophy, company and life have consistently and masterfully struck the right balance between the next quarter and the next quarter century. But his biggest legacy is expanding the thinking of a generation of young entrepreneurs like me about capitalism, institution building, and giving back.' - Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, Teamlease Services
|Author:||Sundeep KhannaVarun Sood|
SUNDEEP KHANNA is a regular columnist for Money Control as well as The Morning Context, a subscription-only business news outlet. In a journalism career spanning thirty years, he has been a senior editor at publications such as Business Today and Financial Express before retiring as executive editor of Mint.VARUN SOOD is a Bengaluru-based technology journalist. He started his career with Business Standard and in the past fourteen years has worked with a number of publications, including Financial Times and The Economic Times. In his last role, he was a National Editor in charge of breaking stories at Mint.