Dhirubhaism (Book Review)

The life and times of Dhirubhai Ambani has intrigued one and all. His astronomical rise from a mere oil mill worker in Aden to the founder of India’s largest private sector enterprise is no less than a miracle. While many who knew Dhirubhai, a simple matriculate person with big dreams in his eyes, choose to keep numb after his demise, one of his closest confidant AG Krishnamurthy (AGK), decided to pen his experiences with Dhirubhai in the form of a book that might well go down to become a text book of sorts in the B-Schools. Dhirubhaism is not the story of the rise of an emperor, neither is it the story of his empire. The book narrates the most common situations Dhirubhai faced by putting to use the most uncommonly used common sense!

AGK worked with Dhirubhai to launch one of India’s largest advertising agencies – Mudra. He chooses to list down Dhirubhai’s qualities as a sharp businessman not by mentioning about his achievements through the numerous companies he launched, but by narrating his experiences with the man during difficult situations he faced running his advertising agency. These were not big troubles, but simple core difficulties one faces in everyday business. Dhirubhai’s earthy behaviour and his ability to befriend almost everyone from leaders of big nations to even the administrative staff in his offices, made him find solutions to some of the simplest difficulties in a rather impactful manner.

The book highlights the beliefs of Dhirubhai. ‘I Live the Gita’, said Dhirubhai who believed in the quality of human resource and his products. ‘We Bet on People’ is yet another Dhirubhaism that goes on to show how simple the man, who made India’s first Fortune 500 company, was. His amazing ability to connect with the masses and his undying trust and faith in his professional staff proved to be the ultimate strength of Reliance. AGK uses instances from the advertising campaign of Vimal; the brand launched by Reliance, to explain how Dhirubhai’s belief in his people would give rise to success in no time.

The book goes on to relate Dhirubhai’s vision of a fast growing Indian economy and the eventual rise of a super power. Dhirubhai’s startling ability to see the future was unmatched. AGK writes that Dhirubhai never ran behind money. He always felt that money was the byproduct of success and success would come only if one focused on quality products and services. These were possible by the determination and hard work of the people in the organization. Hence Dhirubhai believed in nurturing people’s talents, rather than setting financial targets for them, a class of a man who knew that ultimately what matters is the strength of the roots, than the height of the tree!

Dhirubhaism has fifteen such instances, which establish the man as a sparkling, yet humble human being. AGK’s use of simple language makes this book accessible to millions of those smaller entrepreneurs who aspire to become a Dhirubhai sometime in their lifetime. Whether they will be able to achieve their dreams is for destiny to take a call on, but surely by adopting the simple Dhirubhaisms in one’s life and business practices, one will definitely be able to make one’s life inspired enough to dream big. As Dhirubhai once said, ‘If one Dhirubhai can do this much, imagine what a thousand Dhirubhais could do and I believe that India surely has at least a thousand Dhirubhais’. The book may well be the launch pad for the long journey in becoming one!

Dhirubhaism by AG Krishnamurthy. Published by Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited. Priced at Rs. 145/-

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