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Who Blunders and How

Who Blunders and How
The Dumb Side of the Corporate World

First Edition

September 2019 | 312 pages | SAGE Response

Many big companies—famous brands, once loved and revered—often disappear into oblivion mainly due to their own follies. Look at the once invincible Kodak or the seemingly unfailing Premier Padmini cars. In the unforgiving world of modern business they failed to adapt, only to perish. Many businesses fail to address this basic truth.

Every business is tested for endurance and accomplishment but only a few extract strength and wisdom from their trying experiences. Even the infallible Nokia, BlackBerry, Woolworths and Lehman Brothers buckled. Companies such as Bethlehem Steel, Atari, Xerox, NCR, Mafatlal and Kingfisher Airlines once considered as the great ones to emulate, all failed to live up to their repute. 

Instances of business blunders and bloopers are many. They could include compromising quality to cut costs, lack of professionalism in management, botched up mergers and acquisitions, customers being taken for granted, bad leadership, family squabbles, corporate fraud, unmanageable debts and numerous others.

This book will help you understand many famous, frequent and common mistakes committed by businesses over time. The lessons learnt should enable you to run your businesses with lesser hiccups and maximize stakeholder return. 

Quality Quivers and Quandary
Family Business Fallacy
Disputes Spell Doom
M&A Is a Mugs Game
Public Relations Faux Pas
When the Boss Bungles
Corporate Governance Ills
Skidding on Innovation
The Debt Trap
Mortal Mistakes
Mangled Business Models

It’s humans to make mistakes and the corporate world is no different. Despite the fancy management degrees of the top echelons in most of the fancied corporations in the world, there have been many an instance of glaring blunders which the world has seen. Robin comes out with his second book, post the very successful one earlier on “corporate frauds”. Given his vast experience in the corporate world, Robin has gathered a wealth of knowledge on the intricacies of the corporate world. This book deals with “corporate mistakes” which have shaken the world and taught humanity some invaluable lessons. I am sure the readers would enjoy reading it as much as I did.’

Sunil Agarwal,
MD, InCred; Former MD, Deutsche Bank

‘At a time when a major part of the public narrative is dominated by the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, Robin’s latest book is both timely and topical. It is nobody’s case that mistakes are a sin and, hence, unpardonable. The fine tag line “The Dumb Side of the Corporate World” subtly endorses this. When mistakes are “made” rather than “happen”, the author has an issue. And this is precisely what he has chosen to describe, illustrate and draw experiences from. As always, Robin’s style is conversational, anecdotal and provocative. This will be a useful book for many audiences, those who have made mistakes and want to introspect and learn from them, and those who haven’t but want to learn from those who have, but without passing judgements. Over to you readers for an enjoyable drink and an educative read.’ 

Ashok Barat,
Chairman, Path-Finder Consultants; former-MD, Forbes & Co.; Vice President 2019–20, Council of EU Chambers of Commerce; Former President, Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industries

‘A classic treatise by Robin. It is a very engaging, informative and easy-to-read book! It will make you reflect and introspect! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!’

S. Bhaskar,
President, Institute of Internal Auditors-India (2018–2019); Chief Internal Auditor, Tata Capital Ltd

‘Success stories have many narrators and many fathers. But stories of failure are often swept under the carpet or are simply justified or externalized. This book brings stories of failure into the limelight. The author tells story after story—on how lack of professionalism spells demise of family businesses, how macho M&As falter on implementation, how poor corporate governance destroys mighty business empires, how inability to innovate derails erstwhile market leaders, and how overstretching with debt kills companies— several recipes of failure, indeed! These stories should act as red flags to the readers, and if they take necessary steps in the nick of time, the author’s purpose, I believe, will be served. 

Debnarayan Bhattacharya,
Vice-Chairman, Hindalco Industries; Vice-Chairman, Novelis Inc.

‘Even while driving on a straight road, we keep an eye on the rear-view mirrors while looking ahead through the windscreen—in business life, this holds true too. Business cycles are getting shorter and technology is disrupting industries. This book from Robin helps us look at possible areas of failure as we navigate the VUCA world.’ 

Partho Dasgupta,
CEO, Broadcast Audience Research Council; Chairman, Meterology Data Pvt. Ltd

‘Good decisions come from experience. But experiences come from bad decisions. However, most books and case studies in management are about successful companies. Drawing on details from diverse industries, Robin identifies the reasons for failures and how managers can learn from mistakes to build enduring organizations. This book is a must-read for every management professional.’

Ramesh Ganesan,
MD, HDB Financial Services Ltd, Member, Board of Governor, IIM, Tiruchirappalli

‘First 50 years of the 21st century will be remembered for innovations, start-ups, M&As and business blunders. Robin has showcased plenty of real-life instances of business mistakes so that readers do not fall prey to them. I am confident that this book will become a precious treasure to all connected with businesses— small or big.’ 

Ajit Gupte,
Chairman and President, NMIMS Business School Alumni Association Board

‘The book is a back-to-basics reminder on the fundamentals of leadership. It serves as a pedagogical guide to those who love to learn from mistakes. The refreshing real-world examples make it an easy-read for a practical approach to building businesses.’

Abhyuday Jindal,
MD, Jindal Stainless

‘The book is well researched and beautifully written, engages the reader and has innumerable examples with succinct analysis. A complex subject well explained in a lucid and interesting way! It is a must-read for all!’

Sushama Kanetkar,
Authorised Representative for India, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, USA

‘Robin takes you through the graveyard of once great companies and narrates a compelling story of how they got there—how blunders in quality, innovation, debt, M&A and greed took them there. It is a must-read if you want to successfully navigate in this unforgiving world of modern business, where if you don’t change fast, you will succumb faster.’

Sunil Khanna,
MD, Vertiv Energy Pvt. Ltd; Former Chairman, CII Maharashtra State Council

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ISBN: 9789353285791