It Happened in India by Kishore Biyani


This book is a result of one of the most recent and big business success story in India. And maybe the biggest in the upcoming retail segment. The book It Happened in India has been written in an autobiographical format by Kishore Biyani, the person behind Pantaloon and the Future group. Written in the first person, it is interspersed by what others have to say about Kishore.

Broadly it talks about the journey of Kishore from a middle-class business family living in South Bombay to where he is today. And the various experiments that he did during this journey to reach where he is today. He briefly talks about his family and the business attitude it had. And how he did not agree with it, as it had a preserving attitude rather than a growth attitude. He extensively talks about his experiments with ready-made trousers for men. His setting up the chain of Pantaloons store across the country and finally his flagship Big Bazaar. Followed by other famous formats like Central, E-Zone and Food Bazaar.

It talks about his non-conventional ways of doing business. Taking fast decisions and not running after the usual MBAs to run the business using defined models. He talks about the success milestones like making huge sales on 26th January, which they call ‘Sabse Sasta Din’.

What comes out very clearly from this book It Happened in India is that the whole business is single-handedly run by Kishore. He takes fast decisions, which he must as he has 70+ direct reports. But come to think of it, will these guys who are used to executing his decisions be able to take decisions if need be? The book is too much about Kishore and tells you very little about the business insights that he might have had during his journey. He talks a lot about how people tried to write him off at every stage. And how he managed to prove them wrong. In fact, the beginning of the book almost looks like a revengeful writing to answer anyone who critiqued him.

It Happened in India by Kishore Biyani

The rest of the book is a lot of self-praise, with testimonials from a lot of associates. Though you get insights into what Kishore understands and his understanding of Indian Psyche, his Indian way of doing things. At the same time, he does not talk much about the failures on the way. Challenges that he must have faced, difficult situations and difficult people, interfering policies. Had he spoken at length about them, it would have helped a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs.

He talks about his fascination for Hindi films and his attempt at producing two Hindi films which did not prove very successful. The chapters of the books are twisted names of other famous business books like [email protected] the speed of thought, the GE way, God, country, and Coca-Cola etc. I would have rather had names of Hindi movies twisted and put as chapter name, given Kishore’s fascination for them.

The physical format of the book is bad, it is difficult to read as there are hardly any margins left on the pages. The narrator and the other’s text merge a lot of times, and you tend to get lost. Rupa, as a publication is usually not bad with these things, guess why did they overlook these things.

Buy this book – It Happened in India by Kishore Biyani at Amazon India.

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  1. Haven’t read this book yet, though I have heard others quote anecdotes from the book. Interesting review! And I agree, reading a badly formatted book is most annoying.

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