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The Tatas: How a Family Built a Business and a Nation

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The Tatas is the story of one of India's leading business families. It starts in the nineteenth century with Nusserwanji Tata - a middle-class Parsi priest from the village of Navsari in Gujarat, and widely regarded as the Father of Indian Industry - and ends with Ratan Tata - chairman of the Tata Group until 2012. But it is more than just a history of the industrial house The Tatas is the story of one of India's leading business families. It starts in the nineteenth century with Nusserwanji Tata - a middle-class Parsi priest from the village of Navsari in Gujarat, and widely regarded as the Father of Indian Industry - and ends with Ratan Tata - chairman of the Tata Group until 2012. But it is more than just a history of the industrial house; it is an inspiring account of India in the making. It chronicles how each generation of the family invested not only in the expansion of its own business interests but also in nation building. For instance, few know that the first hydel project in the world was conceived and built by the Tatas in India. Nor that some radical labour concepts such as eight-hour work shifts were born in India, at the Tata mill in Nagpur. The National Centre for the Performing Arts, the Tata Cancer Research Centre, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research - the list about the Tatas' contribution to India is a long one. A bestseller in Marathi when it was first published in 2015, this is the only book that tells the complete Tata story over two hundred years.


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The Tatas is the story of one of India's leading business families. It starts in the nineteenth century with Nusserwanji Tata - a middle-class Parsi priest from the village of Navsari in Gujarat, and widely regarded as the Father of Indian Industry - and ends with Ratan Tata - chairman of the Tata Group until 2012. But it is more than just a history of the industrial house The Tatas is the story of one of India's leading business families. It starts in the nineteenth century with Nusserwanji Tata - a middle-class Parsi priest from the village of Navsari in Gujarat, and widely regarded as the Father of Indian Industry - and ends with Ratan Tata - chairman of the Tata Group until 2012. But it is more than just a history of the industrial house; it is an inspiring account of India in the making. It chronicles how each generation of the family invested not only in the expansion of its own business interests but also in nation building. For instance, few know that the first hydel project in the world was conceived and built by the Tatas in India. Nor that some radical labour concepts such as eight-hour work shifts were born in India, at the Tata mill in Nagpur. The National Centre for the Performing Arts, the Tata Cancer Research Centre, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research - the list about the Tatas' contribution to India is a long one. A bestseller in Marathi when it was first published in 2015, this is the only book that tells the complete Tata story over two hundred years.

30 review for The Tatas: How a Family Built a Business and a Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Krishna Chaitanya

    Tata group was founded by Jamsetji Tata who's a nationalist having an ambition to create social wealth in country through business. The same culture has been abided by the Tata group for over 150 years, putting nation and employees first over their business. True inspiration for countrymen. Tata group was founded by Jamsetji Tata who's a nationalist having an ambition to create social wealth in country through business. The same culture has been abided by the Tata group for over 150 years, putting nation and employees first over their business. True inspiration for countrymen.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Prachiti Talathi Gandhi

    I always appreciate reading about Tata - True business house in India. Recently someone gifted me a book about Tata in Marathi language. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Tata and their businesses. The book is very focused on business and growth of Tata Group. Author has handled all the details very well. It is written in a simple language. This book gives information from Nursewanji Tata, founder of Tata empire till Ratan Tata, who retired recently and now Mr. Cyrus Mistry is heading Tata grou I always appreciate reading about Tata - True business house in India. Recently someone gifted me a book about Tata in Marathi language. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Tata and their businesses. The book is very focused on business and growth of Tata Group. Author has handled all the details very well. It is written in a simple language. This book gives information from Nursewanji Tata, founder of Tata empire till Ratan Tata, who retired recently and now Mr. Cyrus Mistry is heading Tata group. Tata always had amazing business sense, but they never focused only on profit. For all leaders from Tata group put people first. They always considered all their employees as their family. Always treated janitor and CEO with the same warmth. Tata's were always ahead of time in their business decision. For investors in Tata companies, Tata is equal to trust. Sometimes Tata spent from their own pocket to retain that trust of investors. Entire business community had faith in Tatas. It is very rare that entire family shares the same passion and vision for business as the founder. Tata is one of them. Truly inspiring book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sharad Pawar

    This is an excellent book written on Tata. This book expresses complete life story of JRD. In this book, we can see how the great man work and style of life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lubinka Dimitrova

    For a person like myself who has only a vague idea about the role the Tatas play and have played for more than a century in building Indian corporate culture, industry, society and so much else, this book was a good primer. But I found it way too flattering, lacking any critical approach to controversial issues that the conglomerate faced at different stages of its evolution. Always claiming that they conducted all their business with the utmost perfection, whereas everyone else is mired in scan For a person like myself who has only a vague idea about the role the Tatas play and have played for more than a century in building Indian corporate culture, industry, society and so much else, this book was a good primer. But I found it way too flattering, lacking any critical approach to controversial issues that the conglomerate faced at different stages of its evolution. Always claiming that they conducted all their business with the utmost perfection, whereas everyone else is mired in scandals and corruption, well, this was not really always convincing, and it actually detracted from the admiration one might feel for a company that has been a major pillar in Indian history. Still, a good book with plenty of interesting details.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Suraj Kumar

    The Tatas traces the 200 year old legacy of India’s one of the biggest business families. Right from the birth of Nusserwanji in 1822 to the present chairman Natrajan Chandrasekaran, this book encapsulates the journey that the Tatas have undertaken. Parallel to the story of the Tatas runs the story of India, so that the book depicts how the building of a business impacted the building of a nation. The book begins by capturing the toddler steps taken by Nusserwanji, then moving on to the pace and The Tatas traces the 200 year old legacy of India’s one of the biggest business families. Right from the birth of Nusserwanji in 1822 to the present chairman Natrajan Chandrasekaran, this book encapsulates the journey that the Tatas have undertaken. Parallel to the story of the Tatas runs the story of India, so that the book depicts how the building of a business impacted the building of a nation. The book begins by capturing the toddler steps taken by Nusserwanji, then moving on to the pace and firm grounding provided by Jamsetji and finally the long strides taken by JRD Tata and Ratan Tata. The account of the family and its business skills presented here in this book is awe-inspiring. Rising from the regional to the national and finally to international level amidst the occasional crisis arising from within the group and sometimes without, the Tatas represent the power of conviction. I was not sure about this book and I thought it would be boring because of being all-facts. But I was wrong. The book is a page-turner and one feels like watching a movie or a documentary on the subject. And that makes me say that the translation (from the original Marathi) has been done brilliantly. It always felt as if I were reading an original work. There are several bits of information about the Tata family and personal lives of the famous Tata figures. These peeps into the lives of the members of the Tata family formed an interesting part of the narrative and sought to break the monotony of what is otherwise an historical account. The book is written within a broad chronological framework but the author does move to and fro in time and space within the chapters, which worked really well for me. I feel the author’s account of the history was objective to a large extent, especially the period before JRD Tata. However I feel that in the later period, that is, the contemporary times, the Tatas were being presented in an all-good-and-always-good light. I maybe wrong but this is what I felt. Besides that I feel that had there been more of personal stuff, the book would have been even more interesting. Nevertheless it was a great read for me and I enjoyed it thoroughly. My Rating: **** (4/5) ~Originally published on Https://booksnmyself.wordpress.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Siddharth Gupta

    Was the book sponsored by the Tatas? Almost looked like it. Not one word of criticism or critical analysis of any kind. Actually scratch that, the book is reverential toward the Tatas. The author elevates the Tatas to a status akin to some demigod. Don’t get me wrong. The Tatas are a great industrial house, one which every industrialist worth his salt, admires and envies in equal measure. Lest this review be construed as a gutter inspector’s report, the book is episodically exhaustive, tracing th Was the book sponsored by the Tatas? Almost looked like it. Not one word of criticism or critical analysis of any kind. Actually scratch that, the book is reverential toward the Tatas. The author elevates the Tatas to a status akin to some demigod. Don’t get me wrong. The Tatas are a great industrial house, one which every industrialist worth his salt, admires and envies in equal measure. Lest this review be construed as a gutter inspector’s report, the book is episodically exhaustive, tracing the Tata family history from the beginning. But the largest industrial house in the country, has not one bad apple. Not one controversy. Not one negative issue worth elaborating upon? Even episodes in popular memory like the Nira Radia controversy or the Mistry-Tata fight are passingly mentioned, as if they were issues not worth the reader’s time. In conclusion, pick the book up only if you want to read some grandstanding eulogy of the Tata Sons.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Akshat Dwivedi

    The Tatas, known as the most ethical enterprise in India, had always been something I found hard to believe. Nevertheless, this book has completely erased my speculations with logical and core facts. The grandeur of visionary ideas that transformed economic shape of post Independent India had never been compromised with moral values that Tata companies honoured. Although, political crisis was very often stumbled upon them but this didn't deter the Tatas. Tatas are the only Indian name taken in s The Tatas, known as the most ethical enterprise in India, had always been something I found hard to believe. Nevertheless, this book has completely erased my speculations with logical and core facts. The grandeur of visionary ideas that transformed economic shape of post Independent India had never been compromised with moral values that Tata companies honoured. Although, political crisis was very often stumbled upon them but this didn't deter the Tatas. Tatas are the only Indian name taken in stalwarts of management studies like Harward, standford and Britain often confuses Tata to be their home company. The difference between Tatas and other businesses is that social wealth is the cause and not the effect of establishing any business here. The institutions like IISc, TISS, TIFR, numerous trusts, etc dates back to days when CSR was not a compulsion. A large credit to economic superiority of our country, I believe, goes to the Tatas, thanks to their ever expanding missions and visions.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rohit Harip

    'Tatayan' is complete story of Tata Family. From Jamashedji Tata ; who was the founder of Tata Empire (he was contemporary to Rockefeller, a business tycoon from US who establishes the petroleum industry) to Ratan Tata ; who recently retired from the chair of president of Tata group in 2012. There is kind of negative feeling in common public against industrialist in India. especially after Independence , in nehruvian era there was a complete socialist hangover because of it everything which is c 'Tatayan' is complete story of Tata Family. From Jamashedji Tata ; who was the founder of Tata Empire (he was contemporary to Rockefeller, a business tycoon from US who establishes the petroleum industry) to Ratan Tata ; who recently retired from the chair of president of Tata group in 2012. There is kind of negative feeling in common public against industrialist in India. especially after Independence , in nehruvian era there was a complete socialist hangover because of it everything which is capitalist is bad was the common notion in the society. Tata industry is always exception to this. Without Tata group of Industries it was impossible to fulfill the dream of Pundit Nehru of modern India. Tata family is bounted freely with the vision of technology and innovations. Today Tata has occupied every house of India from slum to multi storied towers. you can see the Tata products. Tea, Salt, Steel, Watch, Car , Truck, Mobile in every household and list is never ending. Apart from this productions noteworthy thing of Tata family is they had never forget their roots and social responsibility. Their contribution in the establishment of Indian Science Institute, Atomic research center, Tata institute of Social science and so many is very much Important. this complete saga of Tata's is beautifully narrated by author Girish Kuber (editor of Loksatta). According to best of my knowledge this is only book which can depict the story of TATA family among all Indian Languages.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shrinivas Devshatwar

    Easy and interesting writing which is must for business books. Sometimes the content is repeated while describing each Tata characters individually. The writer should have explained the relationships between Tatas more thoroughly. I was quite confused about "Ratan Tata" since there are three of them in this book. Easy and interesting writing which is must for business books. Sometimes the content is repeated while describing each Tata characters individually. The writer should have explained the relationships between Tatas more thoroughly. I was quite confused about "Ratan Tata" since there are three of them in this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sumit Sinha

    The Tatas: How a Family Built a Business and a Nation By Girish Kuber The writer of this book is the Editor of Loksatta and writes frequently in the Indian Express. One of things which I would like to say about this book is, it surpasses all the set standards to let the masses know what Tata Group - an Indian Multinational Conglomerate, has been for India. 🏌️ The writer portrays the perfect picture about how JRD struggled, and did his best in the country, where the leaders happened to had socialist The Tatas: How a Family Built a Business and a Nation By Girish Kuber The writer of this book is the Editor of Loksatta and writes frequently in the Indian Express. One of things which I would like to say about this book is, it surpasses all the set standards to let the masses know what Tata Group - an Indian Multinational Conglomerate, has been for India. 🏌️ The writer portrays the perfect picture about how JRD struggled, and did his best in the country, where the leaders happened to had socialist ideology..for whom profit making should not be an objective of any enterprise. 💸 But, it is a bit complex. The reason being, more than one person having the same name. In addition to that, it is not written in a chronological order. So, if you are going to read this one – which I think you should – forget not to google “Tatas' family tree”, as this book gives fair space to each and every stalwarts of the Tata Group, and the Tata Sons. 🦸🏻‍♂️ P.S. - I won't say each and everything mentioned in the book is 100% true, as, cross checking is what every Non-Fiction deserves. #Books #Bookstagram #Tatas #Business

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mugdha

    Provides a good overview of the Tata family history and their immense contribution to the economy and society over a period of 200 years. One of the rare examples of business empires creating social wealth in the true sense. The book explains the journey of the Tata group right from its first man to the present day leaders. The story is great and one feels engaged throughout. The book is insightful and it was nice to read about some many incidents and turn around projects that we have only heard Provides a good overview of the Tata family history and their immense contribution to the economy and society over a period of 200 years. One of the rare examples of business empires creating social wealth in the true sense. The book explains the journey of the Tata group right from its first man to the present day leaders. The story is great and one feels engaged throughout. The book is insightful and it was nice to read about some many incidents and turn around projects that we have only heard of earlier. It provides insight into the Tata culture and how they stood for their values irrespective of the changing internal and external factors. What made me sad to know is the fact that the government did not play an enabler role for so many decades otherwise the country and the group could have scaled many more heights. The plight of Air India today is for everyone to see and I wonder how glorious it would have remained if it was still owned by the Tatas. There are many examples like these of govt takeover of industries and failures. My respect for the Tata grp has increased manifold after reading this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    saumya

    Industries evolution The book very beautifully describe the industries evolution of 150yrs. A read that I enjoyed throughly and gained information about TATAs.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vitesh Shah

    Amazing book! The only book till now which has covered the whole history of the TATA group. Learnt many new things and new stories about TATAs. Really inspiring business story and kind of shows how business can be done with empathy for society around us. Details are well covered, though in some parts I felt the book is praising the TATAs a bit too much. Even then, overall it is a very good book. Being a person who has worked at TATA Steel, the story about setting up its first plant was very inte Amazing book! The only book till now which has covered the whole history of the TATA group. Learnt many new things and new stories about TATAs. Really inspiring business story and kind of shows how business can be done with empathy for society around us. Details are well covered, though in some parts I felt the book is praising the TATAs a bit too much. Even then, overall it is a very good book. Being a person who has worked at TATA Steel, the story about setting up its first plant was very interesting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pritam Chattopadhyay

    The narrative of Tata is inspiring. It is a tale which endorses the Indian tradition of upholding community values above individual gain. It is unbelievable that an enterprise could be built on such a philanthropic value system. Companies are customarily organised on two lines – either to make money for their shareholders or, in idealised socialist theory, to convey services for sections of the community. The story of Tata, is a story about a really inimitable company which was established to do The narrative of Tata is inspiring. It is a tale which endorses the Indian tradition of upholding community values above individual gain. It is unbelievable that an enterprise could be built on such a philanthropic value system. Companies are customarily organised on two lines – either to make money for their shareholders or, in idealised socialist theory, to convey services for sections of the community. The story of Tata, is a story about a really inimitable company which was established to do both. As to why this book was written, the author says: “The Tata conglomerate is intricately intertwined in so many of India’s successes and firsts, and most of these, incredibly, have remained uncovered. Not many know that it was the Tatas who brought silk to Mysore or that they were the ones who got strawberries to Mahabaleshwar, a popular hill station in Maharashtra now synonymous with the fruit. Not many are conscious, either, that the world’s earliest worker welfare policies were drafted in a Tata venture or that the Tatas were global pioneers in conceiving a hydroelectric project. Though much has been written about the Tatas, it has been more often than not from a corporate or industry-specific perspective, such as on Tata Steel or Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). My effort here is to tell the human side of this business story, from the common man’s point of view, without resorting to jargon and mind-boggling numbers.” Yet, numbers do play a vital role. By the 1930s, the Tatas were providing 72 percent of India’s requirement of steel, covering the gamut from defence applications, to the railways and iconic projects like the Howrah Bridge. 23,000 tonnes, or about 85 percent of the steel used to build the bridge that defines the Kolkata skyline to this day, came from Jamshedpur. This role intensified after 1947. A newly independent India needed an agricultural and industrial revolution, neither of which could happen without machinery and power, or Tata’s steel. Steel was indispensable to manufacturing agricultural tools. It was crucial for speedily scaling down the import of capital goods — needed to industrialise India — from a brutal 90 percent in 1950 to about half of that in the 1960s. It was essential to building factories, dams and power plants. Much of it came from the Tatas, the largest steel maker in the country then. They have come a long way, but their pivotal role in nation building hasn’t changed. And it all germinated in 1822, when a toddler was born in a priestly household in Gujarat’s Navsari. ‘This boy is going to rule the world. He will be rich enough to build a seven-storey bungalow,’ prophesied the astrologer and quite predictably got a nice offering for himself. Young Nusserwanji knew early on that his destiny lay beyond his village and decided to head for Bombay to start a business. He had neither higher education nor knowledge of trade matters, just a flaming passion to whittle his own trail. “What Nusserwanji started as a cotton trading venture, his son Jamsetji—born in the same year as Rockefeller—grew into a multifaceted business, turning around sick textile mills, setting up an iron and steel company, and building a world-class hotel. Stewarded ably over the decades by Jamsetji’s sons Dorabji and Ratanji, the charismatic and larger-than-life JRD, and thereafter the more business-like Ratan, the Tata group today is a 110-billion-dollar empire. The Tatas is their story. But it is more than just a history of the industrial house; it is an inspiring account of India in the making. It Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata had established Tata Group as a private trading firm in 1868. In 1902, the group incorporated the Indian Hotels Company to commission the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower; it was the first luxury hotel in the country. In 1904, Jamsetji died and his son, Sir Dorab Tata took over as chair of the company. Under the guidance and leadership of Dorab, the group grew quickly, venturing into different industry segments like steel (1907), electricity (1910), education (1911), consumer goods (1917), and aviation (1932). In 1932, when Dorab died, Sir Nowroji Saklatwala took the position. After six years, Jahangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata became the group’s chair. He took the company’s expansion on many new sectors including chemicals (1939), cosmetics (1952), marketing, engineering and manufacturing (1954), tea (1962) and software services (1968). In 1945, Tata Group added another start in their sky by establishing Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company; it was renamed as Tata Motors in the year 2003. This company is involved in manufacturing engineering and locomotive products. This book gives you a direct insight into the minds of four giants – Jamsetji, Sir Dorab, Nowroji Saklatwala and JRD. It is also a walk down India’s Industrial history. If Jamsetji’s powerful vision inspired the steel and power industries in India, set the foundation for technical educaton, and helped the country leapfrog from backwardness to the ranks of industrialised nations, it was Sir Dorab Tata, who was instrumental in transforming his father's grand vision into reality. It was also Dorab’s leadership that the Tata Trust, the premier charitable endowment of the Tatas, was created, propelling the Tata tradition of philanthropy. Nowroji Saklatwala succeeded Dorabji as chairman of the Group. And it was JRD, who pioneered civil aviation on the subcontinent in 1932 by launching the airline now known as Air India. That was the first of many path-breaking achievements that JRD, who guided the destiny of the Group for more than half a century, came to be remembered for. While turning over the pages of this book, you would almost feel trepidation, owing to the fact that here are the humane images of those people who have painstakingly carved a giant. With 500,000 orders being executed per second, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is the fastest stock exchange in the world. With more than 1,700 listed companies whose market capitalisation exceeds $2 trillion, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is not only India’s largest stock exchange by transaction volume but also among the top three bourses in the world. The only commonality they share is that their systems and software are invisibly driven by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the world’s second most valuable information technology company. Entrepreneurship single-handedly can never be enough in a nation like India; it has to walk hand in hand with an obligation to society and country. This demands a frame of mind that makes room for social responsibilities that are rendered as expansively as possible. A convincing example of how such a two-pronged approach — entrepreneurial success balanced by societal obligations — can be found in the way the Tata Group, one of India’s biggest and most respected business conglomerates, has conducted itself. Read the book to live the experience on your own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Divya Pal Singh

    Disappointing, in that there are no real revelations about the earlier Tatas, nothing about their origins, nothing about their Persian ancestors. The narrative starts at Navsari from where Nusserwan decides to forgo his hereditary priestly role and go to what is now called Mumbai: Once in Mumbai Nusserwanji was drawn to cotton trading and set up his first venture with the help of a local banker and friend. The beginning of the global Tata empire is just dismissed with this sentence. Who was the fr Disappointing, in that there are no real revelations about the earlier Tatas, nothing about their origins, nothing about their Persian ancestors. The narrative starts at Navsari from where Nusserwan decides to forgo his hereditary priestly role and go to what is now called Mumbai: Once in Mumbai Nusserwanji was drawn to cotton trading and set up his first venture with the help of a local banker and friend. The beginning of the global Tata empire is just dismissed with this sentence. Who was the friend? How did the cotton trading business progress? Where did he get his cotton from? Who were the buyers? There are no answers. The shady opium business is glossed over. The JRD’s struggles with the Indian politicians and bureaucracy is rather Ayn Randesque. The pioneering work by Jamset Tata is set in detail. However, the book mainly deals with JRD Tata and Ratan Tata – facts about them are common knowledge. There is nothing new. The book is littered with contradictions and repetitions. A more engaging books was OH! THOSE PARSIS.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Akshat

    Sachin Tendulkar is loved by India not just because he was a great batsman, but because he was part of the India growth story. As Sachin grew, so did India. An emotional connect was thus formed between the master batsman and the country he loved. India's relationship with the Tatas too has grown in much the same vein. Sachin Tendulkar is loved by India not just because he was a great batsman, but because he was part of the India growth story. As Sachin grew, so did India. An emotional connect was thus formed between the master batsman and the country he loved. India's relationship with the Tatas too has grown in much the same vein.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gautam Soman

    The book chronicles the family history and corporate profiles of Tata family, right from Nuserwanji Tata to Ratan Tata. Content is well-researched and presented in an engaging manner. Rare family photos from the Tata Archives are an added bonus!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rohit Joshi

    I have read various things about Tata and I have been part of TCS as well so knew some rare things as well. But still reading this book was nice experience I got to know so many things which was very important in journey of this group. Highly recommend read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rahul Gurav

    All about Tatas but subject is so vast that single book can't grasp everything about major pioneers of 'Tata and Sons' . Still this book is full of information,ups and downs of Tatas and what it have be taken to establish a modern TATA empire..Worth Reading!! All about Tatas but subject is so vast that single book can't grasp everything about major pioneers of 'Tata and Sons' . Still this book is full of information,ups and downs of Tatas and what it have be taken to establish a modern TATA empire..Worth Reading!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kedar

    Good book on history on Tata group. More importantly three stalwarts - Jamshedji, JRD and Ratan Tata. Good balance of group history and personalities. Book also focusses on values of Tata group and numerous ancedot on how Tata value is practiced.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sujay

    The book is a missed opportunity to properly bring out facets of India's leading business group. it is a collection of few chapters without proper chronology or linkages. it does not dwelve into key aspects like Nano, radia tapes, the ouster of the chairman in adequate details. The book is a missed opportunity to properly bring out facets of India's leading business group. it is a collection of few chapters without proper chronology or linkages. it does not dwelve into key aspects like Nano, radia tapes, the ouster of the chairman in adequate details.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amit S

    Good book. Easy language. History of Tata group right from the founders. Covers each Tata involved and their thought process in various actions taken in the course of development.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Debraj

    Got good insight into the TATA "s and TATANESS Got good insight into the TATA "s and TATANESS

  24. 4 out of 5

    Salil Lavgankar

    As we know, the Tatas as a group are quite unique as a business, social enterprise and a creator of wealth. As one of the largest private sector employer globally, rarely has a Business group been so influential and contributed for more than a century towards society and nation building, as done in India. The brand ‘Tata’ has a footprint in almost all business areas and more importantly deeply enriched in the Indian psyche. This is still considering the fact that more than 50% of the revenues of As we know, the Tatas as a group are quite unique as a business, social enterprise and a creator of wealth. As one of the largest private sector employer globally, rarely has a Business group been so influential and contributed for more than a century towards society and nation building, as done in India. The brand ‘Tata’ has a footprint in almost all business areas and more importantly deeply enriched in the Indian psyche. This is still considering the fact that more than 50% of the revenues of the group are from outside India, but in most countries, they operate, the name ‘Tata’ stands for ethical conduct, employee welfare and social consciousness. While the Tata family and history is well-known, I am not quite sure if any book has covered the Tata family as the author of this book mentions right from Inception to current times, and hence this book is a fascinating and concise narrative of the Tata family and the Tata group. The narrative is free-flowing and breezy (Thumps up to the translation) while covering all the important aspects of the Tata history. Many of those are known but the early ones are quite interesting- the Tata Hydroelectricity project, the Tata’s inputs to Mysore silk, and all the efforts made to establish the Tata Steel plant. The focus of the group right from the start on employee welfare has been noteworthy with innovations like provident fund/retirement fund initiated from the Tatas even before the Western times. Another key aspect has been the continuity of thought as the author alludes to through the current times of Tata Group on nation building, innovation and social focus. At many times, the early Tatas have also put their personal wealth and reputation on the line to sustain the group. Again one of the standout features of the Tata Group has been their contribution to non-business enterprises like for establishment of IISc, TISS and TIFRs. The author gives sufficient space to key luminaries of the Tata group including Jamsetji Tata, Jehangir Tata and of course in modern times to Ratan Tata. A key credit to the author is that the personalities of these people come to the fore, and especially the correlation between their mindset and the business approach and mindset followed by them. There are some quibbles though for the book- as with any people and a business organization it can’t be black or white, and there are scenarios where a more even-handed approach could have been presented. The halo that the group has over the author is quite evident and could have influenced the ‘can’t do wrong’ attitude, this is especially evident during the coverage of JRD. Also, one feels that the early sections of the book (especially the unknowns) could have been a bit more comprehensive. It is also quite surprising that the author doesn’t provides a family tree structure of the Tata family, that would certainly helped the reader follows the cross-relationships in the family more easily. A milestone chart with the key events would also embellish the book better in terms of the timescale of the progress. All in all, it is a riveting read focusing on the Tata family and their momentous contribution to the Indian nation and globally. We certainly hope that the next decades of the Tata group continue the rich legacy and inspire the next book on the group!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pallavi

    “The Tatas” - who hasn’t heard of them? Tata Tea, Tata Salt, Tata Motors, Tata Memorial Centre, and whatnot. Over the span of 200+ years, Tatas have conceived and built more than 100 businesses across the world. Starting from Nusserwanji Tata in early 18th century, till the current Chairman N. Chandrasekaran, through this book, we witness the inspiring journey of the Tatas, along with the great Indian history in the making. One may wonder, how Tatas are different from the rest of the players in t “The Tatas” - who hasn’t heard of them? Tata Tea, Tata Salt, Tata Motors, Tata Memorial Centre, and whatnot. Over the span of 200+ years, Tatas have conceived and built more than 100 businesses across the world. Starting from Nusserwanji Tata in early 18th century, till the current Chairman N. Chandrasekaran, through this book, we witness the inspiring journey of the Tatas, along with the great Indian history in the making. One may wonder, how Tatas are different from the rest of the players in the business world? This is precisely why you should read "The Tatas" and know for yourself. It is not just the Tata DNA that made Tatas an exceptional empire, as not everyone who held the reins of Tata chariot is a direct descendant of Nusserwanji Tata. The greatness of Tata culture lies deeply in the foundations laid by Jamsetji Tata who is aptly known as Bhishma Pitamah of Indian industry. He had an exemplary vision of free India, decades before we earned independence. He paved paths for high quality silk in Mysore, strawberry in Panchgani, Moti & Hamam soap, etc. His biggest achievement was to set up an Iron & Steel plant which proved vital during World War I. It is because of this, that the British government named town Jamshedpur after him. His dream of setting up Indian Institute of Science, for which he worked tooth and nail, was completed after he died. He was years ahead of the world and his dreams of mammoth magnitude were bound to exceed his life, but this never stopped him. His successors were equally worthy and continued the Tata tradition of giving back to the society. JRD Tata was internationally revered and was the only Indian in the list of 300 most influential people in the world, in 1974. Tatas who are pioneers of so many Indian as well as International ventures, did everything with the sole intention of generating social wealth. The book not just lists down the various Tata businesses, but also portrays beautifully how despite off unending struggles, Tatas never compromised on their values and even bore great losses to keep the Tata brand untarnished. It makes us believe how success is just a byproduct of sheer hard work, fierce faith in oneself and absolute humility. “The Tatas” by Girish Kuber is an English translation of his original Marathi work “Tatayan”. With easy to comprehend writing and short but crisp facts, the book should definitely earn a place in your “want to read” list and would very likely leave you with a sense of inspiration and gratitude.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Imran Pasha

    A lot is already known about the Tatas; one of India’s foremost business groups and family. Despite this, Girish Kuber’s account of the Tatas spanning 200 years is worth a mention because it condenses- and yet maintains enough drama and riveting details of- the story of how the Tatas built an empire. Girish Kuber, Editor of Loksatta (the Marathi daily from the Indian Express Group) originally wrote and published this book in Marathi in 2015. The book was translated into English by Vikrant Pande A lot is already known about the Tatas; one of India’s foremost business groups and family. Despite this, Girish Kuber’s account of the Tatas spanning 200 years is worth a mention because it condenses- and yet maintains enough drama and riveting details of- the story of how the Tatas built an empire. Girish Kuber, Editor of Loksatta (the Marathi daily from the Indian Express Group) originally wrote and published this book in Marathi in 2015. The book was translated into English by Vikrant Pande in 2019. Kuber starts the story in Navsari, a town in southern Gujarat, where Nusserwanji Tata, father of Jamsetji Tata, was born in 1822. Although Jamsetji is widely regarded as the founder of the Tata group, the seeds were firmly sown by his father when he decided to not follow his family tradition of priesthood and instead headed off to Bombay with his wife Jeevanbai and their young son Jamsetji who was born by then. The book then follows, almost chronologically, the family’s journey of building a business empire Starting from Jamsetji’s earliest days as a trader of cotton and opium (which was legal back then), then later setting up cotton mills in Nagpur and Mumbai. From laying the foundation of building India’s first steel manufacturing company and the Taj Mahal hotel, both of which fructified after his death and were nurtured and brought up by his two sons, Sir Dorabji Tata and Sir Ratan Tata. Their legacy was continued by Jehangir Rantanji Dadabhoy (JRD) Tata who forayed the group into aviation by setting up India’s first airline, Tata Aviation Services (originally an air mail service) and later rechristened Air India as India’s first commercial airline. And the group’s foray into chemicals and salt business, to name just a few. Finally Ratan Naval Tata, who succeeded JRD as the group chairman, led the group’s entry into the information technology sector, apart from building passenger cars. The book has many interesting anecdotes of stories, struggles, trials and tribulations, and many jubilations behind the family’s journey. By and large!! Highly recommended Happy reading!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Akash Jha

    "A man like Jamsetji, whose dreams were always bigger than anyone else's imagination would have required ten lives to see all of his dreams take shape. It was these dreams and the efforts he made them turning into reality that laid the foundation of a strong & Independence India. Laying the foundation of the Taj, he had said he had no interest in owning the place; he just wanted to show the world that Indians were capable of building such a hotel. The India of today has emerged from the dreams h "A man like Jamsetji, whose dreams were always bigger than anyone else's imagination would have required ten lives to see all of his dreams take shape. It was these dreams and the efforts he made them turning into reality that laid the foundation of a strong & Independence India. Laying the foundation of the Taj, he had said he had no interest in owning the place; he just wanted to show the world that Indians were capable of building such a hotel. The India of today has emerged from the dreams he sowed in the minds of Indians during his lifetime". - Girish Kuber, The Tatas Beautifully written, Grippingly composed! Girish Kuber has been one of the discoveries of the year for me. I can't really wait to read another of his works on some other industrial house in India. Yet none of it would be as special as this. For none of them would have the luxury of Tata being it's muse. This is not just a chronicle of a business house but it's a chronicle of the very journey of nation shaped by the journey of Tata. It brilliantly sheds light over the Politics of the country since the origins of Tata and how the same has impacted or even hindered economic growth at times. Similarly, the book is not merely the journey of the Tatas from their begining under Jamsetji to the heights under JRD and Ratan Tata . Rather it's a chronicle of the efforts of everyone whose sweat and blood has gone into making Tata the symbol of trust it is. The book while focusing on the Tata Chairmans firmly establish the point by giving ample space to stalwarts such as Rusi Modi, Sumant Malgaonkar, FC Kohli, S. Ramadorai, Nani Palkhivala and others without whom Tata might not be what it is. I was in tears by the time I finished the chapters on JRD. Only if the Governments of the day had listened more to him, our economy just might have been years ahead of where it is now. The government acquisition or say destruction of Air India was really painful to read. Would highly suggest reading it. Written and translated in very simple language, this one is for a common folk who wants to learn more about a business group all Indians consider their own!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Trung Nguyen Dang

    The book is not really about the Tata businesses but more about the few Tatas who have run the group from the original founder to JRD (the 4th one) to Ratan Tata (the 5th one). JRD receives the most coverage of the book and probably was one that accounted for most of Tata Group's successes. The book is written by an Indian business analyst but is really not business insightful. It's factual and have many tibits on the men but very little on what made the these business ticks, why they were succe The book is not really about the Tata businesses but more about the few Tatas who have run the group from the original founder to JRD (the 4th one) to Ratan Tata (the 5th one). JRD receives the most coverage of the book and probably was one that accounted for most of Tata Group's successes. The book is written by an Indian business analyst but is really not business insightful. It's factual and have many tibits on the men but very little on what made the these business ticks, why they were successful. It's more about the values that these men have imposed on the group. What was most annoying is the flattering view point of the author. It is as if the Tatas cannot no wrong and everything they did was perfect. A couple of examples sprung to mind, I cover Tata Steel at work so I know the business side pretty well. The Corus acquisition (renamed Tata Steel Europe) in 2007 was ill-timed, and ill-fated and is still struggling till these days. But the book said it was a big success. The sudden sacking of Tata Sons' then-chairman, Cyrus Mistry, reflected very badly on the corporate governance of the group and on Ratan Tata himself, who was like a spoilt child in a rich family. He reminded me of Henry Ford II who fired Lee Iacocca (Ford's president) as Lee was turning around Ford and getting all the credit and attention. The book ended with the author's interview with Ratan Tata the day before Tata Group announced a deal with Singapore Airlines. The author complimented Ratan for not disclosing the transaction 1 day early despite they talked about the airline industry in India. What the heck is the author expecting? The Indian who grows up with Tata names around them may enjoy this book. But for an outsider like me, who reads to understand more about Tata businesses, this book offers little business insights, just grandiose view.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shruti Chhabra

    The TaTa's are no less than an international celebrity. They rose from a humble background and became a known and trusted name internationally. What did attribute to the TaTa dependability? Author Girish Kuber takes you through the journey. The Tata group began its journey when the son of a Parsi priest was born in 1822 in Navsari, Gujrat. Nusserwanji Tata didn't only dream big turned those big dreams into the bigger reality. The Tata's were predominantly the first business house in pre-independe The TaTa's are no less than an international celebrity. They rose from a humble background and became a known and trusted name internationally. What did attribute to the TaTa dependability? Author Girish Kuber takes you through the journey. The Tata group began its journey when the son of a Parsi priest was born in 1822 in Navsari, Gujrat. Nusserwanji Tata didn't only dream big turned those big dreams into the bigger reality. The Tata's were predominantly the first business house in pre-independent India. The company stood on the pillars of nationalism, welfare, and integrity, a trait that is still synonym with the Tata name. The book talks about the various projects that Tata undertook. Some were started by one generation and finished by another. There were failures and setbacks, but Tatas always rose like a phoenix. The author mentions the big and small businesses started by Tata few of them came as a surprise. Amongst the Tata leadership, JRD Tata and Ratan Tata impress the most. They had Tata business acumen but still did not give in to the governmental pressure. JRD particularly never minced his words when it came to political matters. I was disappointed by the fact that nothing much mentioned about the personal life of Tatas. There only brief details about the relationship with their parents and extended families. I wanted to know more about Tatas as a father, son, uncle. There could have been an emphasis on showing the most vulnerable and humane side of the patriarchy of the largest business house in India. The author could have added more of those details. Overall I enjoyed reading the book, understanding a two-hundred-year-old tradition called Tata.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tapas

    The name Tata is synonymous to credibility.They have been part of every household in India- some way or the other. They were the first business family in India and introduced the country to several products, be it cosmetics (Loreal),Insurance (New India assurance) or first aviation company. Even with such legacies the chairmen of this salt to steel business giant have never created wealth for themselves. While others construct biggest house in the busiest of the section of Mumbai, chairman of Ta The name Tata is synonymous to credibility.They have been part of every household in India- some way or the other. They were the first business family in India and introduced the country to several products, be it cosmetics (Loreal),Insurance (New India assurance) or first aviation company. Even with such legacies the chairmen of this salt to steel business giant have never created wealth for themselves. While others construct biggest house in the busiest of the section of Mumbai, chairman of Tata lives in a flat. What they have created is called Social Wealth- taking care of their employees, their shareholders and respecting their own name which is a brand in itself. This book by Girish Kuber, originally written in Marathi, talks about the history and legacy of Tata group. I would have wanted more content in the book because presently it is only touching the surface but nevertheless through this book one can understand what is Tata's contribution in building this nation.

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