Breaking Barriers by Janaki Krishnan is a compilation of stories of 11 successful women. Most of whom are well-known names in India. The author has documented the women well. Women, women in the corporate world, women in the entrepreneurial world and just about everywhere are a hot topic these days. I have been reading books, articles and blog posts on women in business/technology etc. So this book also falls into the same category. Although I think the journeys of these women as documented are in no way different from men. If there are certain disadvantages of being a woman, there are as many advantages as well.
There is nothing new I learned about Zia Mody, Anu Aga, Renuka Ramanathan, Shaheen Mistry or Kiran Mazumdar. Their stories have been written so many times that an avid business reader would know them by heart. Jessie Paul is a new entrant into a league of celebrated women in business. I follow her on Twitter and Facebook & Twitter so was happy to learn about her background. Dr. Suman Sahai and Vandana Luther stories were interesting, of women who pursue their passions and who knew what they want to do. I knew a bit about them, but reading their backgrounds and their journeys were interesting.
Kalpana Saroj was a revelation. Saroj’s story impressed me. Though after reading her whole story I could not make out what kind of a real estate business she did. Furthermore, the author needs to tell her story in far more details. A woman who used to live in slums and does domestic work rises to lead a public limited company and not just She leads it – she buys it when it was a sick unit and turns it around to make it profitable. She did all this without any formal education, without any mentoring or without any family backing. How incredible is that and for this one story I would recommend reading this book.
In Breaking Barriers by Janaki Krishnan, there is a tendency to bring in the difficulties these women faced in their journeys. But apart from the journey of Kalpana Saroj, honestly I think most other women came from a privileged background, had a decent education and had the basic intelligence to take charge of their lives and careers. Yes, being the pioneer is never easy; managing multiple responsibilities is never easy, but what these women did differently was making a choice and then working hard to live with that choice.
The language is very simple, the stories – short and sweet. Janaki Krishnan in the book tells about the journey of the women mentioned. The author does not probe into much about the background on their work.
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