Saturday, November 16, 2013

#BookReview : Leading Ladies by Sudha Menon

On the jacket:

Leading Ladies is an inspirational book that follows the journeys of some of India’s most-admired women achievers who have made a difference to society with their stellar work and other pursuits that touch our lives, in more Ways than one. This volume brings alive their unique stories with personal anecdotes that will serve as a beacon for many of us.
While a lot has been written about how these women have achieved success, the book aims to highlight the guiding principles of their lives, the personal and professional beliefs that drive them, the life and management practices that have always stood them in good stead, and the non negotiables that have guided them on their path to success.
What makes the woman professional/ entrepreneur/achiever/leader tick? What is it that drives them? What are the rules by which they play the game? Is there a level playing field for women? Do women need a level playing field? Is there something males can learn from their female colleagues? Are women leaders also from Venus along with the rest of their clan or do they belong to Mars too? These influencers are well-equipped to provide the right insights.
The author borrows from her journalistic experience to elicit a fresh View from some of India's brightest minds; trendsetters who have not just carved a name for themselves in their chosen path, but have become the torch bearers for countless others in urban and rural India who want to follow their dreams, reach their goals, and give back to society.


Author, Sudha Menon mailed me one day asking if I would like to review Leading Ladies. Now, I have read Legacy and totally treasure it. There was no reason why I wouldn't want to read this book as well, so, obviously, I lapped up to it.

Leading Ladies talks about Naina Lal Kidwai, Amrita Patel, Anu Aga, Vinita Bali, Lila Poonawalla, Kalpana Morparia,Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Mallika Sarabhai, Meher Pudumjee, Priya Paul, PT Usha, Shaheen Mistri, Shikha Sharma, and, Shubha Mudgal. Quite an interesting list, isn't it? Women from varied walks of life - some who struggled for what they achieved, some got it in the platter and still had to prove their worth.

While Kalpana Morparia had always been a career woman, balancing personal and professional life to her best when calamity struck in her life; Anu Aga was literally thrown into managing a company she didn't know much about. Amrita Patel studied to be a Vet and made her mark in a company which only hired men. How did they do this? While some were born with the grit, some had to develop it. 

One thing has been going on in my mind since a while now, and reading Leading Ladies only confirmed it - You *cannot* achieve a lot, without walking the rocky path. If your life is smooth, rest assured, it will be also be mediocre
And if you are a woman, life will be more unfair, there will be more struggles to tackle. Doesn't mean men have any less woes, but a woman has to balance every aspect of her life. Doing such, it's not easy to reach the top. Yet, some have reached there. Though the number is less, the journey has begun. It's for us, the younger lot, to derive inspirations from these women, learn from their lives and build our confidence, strengthen our focus.

Amongst all these businesswomen, Shubha Mudgal's name struck me as odd. I mean, Ms Mudgal is a famous and loved singer, what is her story? But here comes the story. When you have made your name, you would think life would be easy? Doesn't happen that way, no one said life would ever be easy. When she wanted to record and release the biggest rendition of her life, all she got was dismissal. Did she gave up? She gave up on her bank balance instead, to ensure the project lived.

Leading Ladies is a highly inspiration set of real life renditions. And no, this is not only for women to gain inspiration from, men should read it to. I have just passed it on to my husband to read.

Rating: *****/5

[This is an author request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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