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7 Must-Read Books on Life, Business & Science Recommended by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

7 Must-Read Books on Life, Business & Science Recommended by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Biocon founder and chairperson, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw recommends every budding entrepreneur to read these books.

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One of India’s richest and self-made billionaires, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is well known for her business skills. A first-generation entrepreneur, she is the founder and chairperson of Biocon Limited.

But what many don’t know is that Mazumdar-Shaw is also an author and avid reader. She has authored two books, Ale and Arty and India’s Innovation Challenge for Inclusive Development. 

Lauding books that deal with science and business, she takes a special interest in seeking out good books on surviving cancer after her husband, John Shaw, was detected with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) in 2007.

1. Emperor of Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Emperor of Maladies
The Emperor of Maladies, a book on cancer

This book is a detailed ‘biography of cancer’. It traces the disease from its first appearance thousands of years ago and the battle fought to cure, control, and conquer it. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The author speaks of centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths. It helps demystify cancer.

Mazumdar-Shaw says she was impressed by this book which has won a Pulitzer Prize.

Buy the book here.

2. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

This book by Dr Gawande, a practising surgeon tackles difficult questions regarding the quality of life. He addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. The book shows us that the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life – all the way to the very end.

Buy the book here.

3. The First Cell: And The Human Costs Of Pursuing Cancer To The Last By Azra Raza

The First Cell, a book by Azra Raza
The First Cell by Azra Raza

This book speaks about how cancer is often mistreated by medicine and society. Azra explores cancer from every angle: medical, scientific, cultural, and personal. She describes how she bore the burden of being her own husband’s oncologist as he succumbed to leukaemia. 

In a report in BQ Prime, Mazumdar-Shaw said that the book talks about how the focus should be on the early detection of cancer.

Buy the book here.

4. The Cure by Geeta Anand 

The cure, a book by Geeta Anand
The Cure, a book by Geeta Anand

This inspiring book is about how two parents, John and Aileen Crowley, invested their life savings in a biotech startup, to find a cure for their children’s disease. Their youngest children, 15-month-old Megan, and five-month-old Patrick were diagnosed with Pompe disease and given only months to live. The company then went on to find a treatment for the disease.

This book inspired the movie, Extraordinary Measures.

Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted that this book a ‘must-read’.

Buy the book here.

5. Start-up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

Start-up nation, a story of Israel's economic miracle
Start-up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

This book speaks about Israel’s economic success. It addresses the question of how this country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, and in a constant state of war since its founding, produces more startup companies than Japan, China, Canada, Korea or India. This book offers lessons to other economies, as well as to its entrepreneurs.

“A must-read #book for any #entrepreneur about Israel’s economic miracle,” she tweeted.

Buy the book here.

6. Harsh Realities: The Making of Marico by Harsh Mariwala, Ram Charan

Harsh Realities, The making of Marico
Harsh Realities by Harsh Mariwala and Ram Charan

This book traces the journey of Marico, which was started by Mariwala in 1987. Today, Marico is the biggest FMCG company in the world with products like Parachute, Nihar Naturals, Saffola, Set Wet, Livon, and Mediker.

In a tweet, Mazumdar-Shaw hailed this book, saying, “If you are an entrepreneur who thinks that nobody understands your predicament, you are right. As a fellow businesswoman, I know I’ve felt the same.”

Buy the book here.

7. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged, a book by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

A controversial book, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s last novel. It is a dramatisation of Rand’s vision of existence and a human’s potential. Atlas Shrugged “is a mystery story, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit”.

Sharing a quote from the book, Mazumdar-Shaw called it ‘prophetic words’.

Buy the book here.


‘Business Lessons Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Adopted From Books’ by Radhika Dave for BQ Prime, Published on 12 October, 2019 

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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