Kishore who? For the ignorant ones (like me, previously) he's the guy behind Pantaloon, Big Bazaar, Future Bazaar and the Future Group. Impressive portfolio once you look him up. So as not to deprive him of his due credit, Dipayan Baishya is the co-author.
How did I stumble upon this? I got a promotional offer announcement by email from FutureBazaar, since I had bought something online from them a long time ago. It said that the first 100 buyers of the book would get a personally autographed copy. So I decided to look the guy up. And then I found out that he's the guy behind Pantaloon and Big Bazaar.
Ok... I've read books about American entrepreneurs -- The Google Story, Warren Buffett - The Making of an American Capitalist. I really enjoyed reading both these books and they left me inspired and dying to do something myself for the sheer joy of doing it. Now a book about an indigenous Indian entrepreneur!? This is something I gotta see. Plus... I liked the idea of owning a personally autographed autobiography! Plus dirt cheap price - 99 bucks. I had to make this purchase.
I'm done reading over half way through the book. Gotta admit it's not as big in scale as the story of the Google guys or Warren Buffett - my heroes, whom I look upon as demi-gods. But this is something that's happened close to home and something that I can witness first hand too. Exactly why I liked The Google Story and Warren Buffet - I could verify and actually experience the things that were being written about. I hate shopping and detest going out to buy anything. Prefer to be done with it online on the occasions where I have no choice. But now I'm tempted to pay a visit to a local Big Bazaar, only to live the things the author writes about.
One particular aspect of the book that I truly appreciated, is that the story is not a monotonous monologue. It is interspersed with several articles and letters / testimonies of the people with whom Kishore Biyani has worked with. And these pieces aren't made to stand out - seeming like appendages - but actually contribute to the narration of the tale. Immaterial of whether they have been printed with the original words of their respective authors, or edited to suit the book, these letters / testimonies / clippings of newspaper articles blend seamlessly and contribute to the flow of the story. KB picks up at exactly the point where the quotation leaves you. This concept has appealed to me very much.
The Google Story and Buffett's biography, too, did quote things that people close to the subject(s) said, but they were usually limited to a one-liner or two-liners and didn't represent that person's complete perspective. But the format in this book paints a more complete picture and represents the views of KB's associates in a better manner. Of course all the testimonials are from supporters, or former non-believers who've now turned believers, and has none from existing critics. However, KB frequently reminds the reader of the obstacles he faced and the mistakes he committed and learnt from. Therefore it's not all rosy, but it's not too negative either.
Overall, so far, it's made for good reading.