Master Opportunity and Make it Big by Richard M Rothman: Review

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Book: Master Opportunity and Make It Big

Author: Richard M Rothman

Publisher: Jaico

Price: Rs 350

Pages: XXII + 249

The books praise has been written by Adi Godrej, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Uday Kotak, Dr Mukesh Batra, Dr Subhash Chandra, Andand Mahidra, Aditya Puri, Harsh Mariwala, Harsh Goenka, Dr Yusuf Hamied, Rafique Mallik, Vithal Kamat, Amit Jatia, Neeraj Roy, Nirmal Jain, Vijay Mansukhani, Surendra Hiranandani, Jagdeep Kapoor, Sasha Mirchandani, Ashwini Kakka and Ramesh Damani. Out of these 21 luminaries, book has covered eighteen as Opportunity Masters.

Richard M Rothman, the author of the book has served as Trade Commissioner of United States of America in Italy, Indonesia and India (Mumbai). Later he founded OpenMind, an Opportunity Consultancy based in Mumbai. And some of the eighteen masters covered in the book are his clients.

The idea behind the consultancy and the book is that the Indian businessman does not know how to identify Opportunity. This is another classic attempt by a firang to analyse India and present it to Indians under a fancy name or formula. This is a self-help book as well as a book to market the author’s consultancy.

The book has two parts to it. The first part covers the success secrets of India’s Opportunity masters. There are eighteen inspiring success stories of business masters or professionals. The book does cover Doctor with multiple clinics to lawyer with offices across the world. The coverage of each master is not equal. Some have been covered in detail, while few have shorter coverage but what makes the book exciting is the coverage of masters from a wide range of business. At the end of each chapter, there is summary of the golden rules of success for each of these masters. These Golden rules make interesting read. One stand-out omission is of business women. India has a list of successful businesswomen and not a single one finding a place in the book in today’s day and age is more shocking then surprising.

Surprising is the fact that the author covers Vijay Mansukhani co-founder of Onida as a success story and doesn’t covers why Onida disappeared from the market from being a category leader at a given point of time. The book gives more shocks. The author has covered controversial brands linked with scams like Metro Shoes. It reflects either the carelessness in the selection process or lack or research on the part of author. It is also possible that the author has included the brand despite knowing the past of the brand; in that case the author should have explained his position in the book.

This one fact brings down the credibility of the book. Book without ethics can’t be a guide book. One wonders if all those who have written the praise of the book were aware about the Metro shoe or they didn’t have any objection to putting their brand along with Metro Shoes?

Evidence of lack of research is too many. Book states that Sunil Mittal founder of Airtel become an entrepreneur with borrowed money of only Rs 20,000 and no connection. For the records Sunil Mittal’s father Sat Paul Mittal, was elected from Punjab for two terms (1976 and 1982) from Ludhiana and nominated to the Rajya Sabha once (1988) by Indian National Congress).

In the second part of the book, Richard talks about forty-four opportunity sutras, which include 12 Opportunity Accelerators, 16 Opportunity Activators, eight Opportunity Evaluators, eight Opportunity Expediters. Frankly this section could have been replaced by a single chapter titled ‘Conclusion’. There is excessive repetition in this section and 44 points have been created forcefully.

The book does raises question mark on editorial team’s ability. Book doesn’t have notes, bibliography, and reference or index section. Language is easy, and the first part of the book has a good flow. The author who is a consultant also has correctly identified India as a land of opportunity like people across the world have done over centuries. The conclusions he has drawn as a management professional have been sold earlier to Indians as Jugaad, Innovation etc. now he has packaged it as an “Opportunity”. Looking at his clientele it is clear that it has worked for him.

The books first section makes it worth reading. Reading about the journey of successful businessman in itself is learning and by that standard, this book does its work. The part one of book undoubtedly motivates one and is sprinkled with lessons. It does kindle new thoughts in mind and makes one look at the same point differently or opportunistically.

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