Book Review: Myth of the entrepreneur by Ravi Kailas

Title: Myth of the Entrepreneur
Author: Ravi Kailas with Cathy Guo
Genre: Biopic
Number of pages: 193, hard bound

We usually have a particular definition of entrepreneur when we come across this, wealthy and ruthless..don't we? However this is a myth or you would realize after reading this book.

The author and the protagonist, Ravi Kailas is truly an inspiration. He had been ambitious right from childhood; when his family conditions were not so favourable yet always a philanthropist. He is a man of real values.

His father had given him basic education to lead a good life. But he always had vision for something higher. He was an entrepreneur even before he became one. The route he took to pave his way in the Oberoi Hotel Mumbai is something absolutely unimaginable. No one would have ever thought that such revenue/rent extrapolation of 6 years could actually make his 'residing in a five star hotel' dream true. And that was just the beginning. Slowly and steadily, he took over the Indian payphone scene without much investment from his own pocket. His family also started in his 'Oberoi residence'.

An 'unexpected' heart attack at the age of thirty eight (no one expects such a mishap in late thirties) during a hike, made him rethink his life. After he was discharged from the hospital, he entered a period of deep learning and introspection. The entrepreneurial world was too much cut throat and focused on personal wealth creation. He realised that he wanted to change that and focus on value instead. He took to Vipassana, the ancient practice of meditation which had been resurrected by SN Goenka.

That's when he started redefining and reimagining entrepreneurship. Before that he had started and then eventually sold successful businesses. But that life shaking event leading to self reflection changed his perspective towards the world, his businesses and everything in a nutshell. He wanted to build businesses that would not only churn money but also be beneficial to the society as a whole. A true philanthropist.

Today Mr Ravi Kailas heads the Mytrah group, that consists of Mytrah energy which is an independent, renewable energy producing company. He founded the Pravaha trust and a predetermined set of profits from Mytrah goes into that. At times he was torn between being a normal human being (read a father) and a philanthropist. Like every loving father would think, he too was perturbed whether he is doing right for his family or not. But since his values are so deep rooted, he went on with the trust. However it was not a cakewalk.
He actually redefined the concept of trusteeship. After handing over the operations of Mytrah to Vikram, he left for London and started working on the second phase of his life..philanthropy. He wanted to establish a charitable trust and approached John Riches, the number one trust lawyer. He realized that most entrepreneurs establish trust to manage their wealth in the long run. But Ravi did not want that. He was an egalitarian and he truly wanted to give his wealth for the welfare of his countrymen.
Ravi planned to give away 90% of the profits of Mytrah for the development of the poor in India. That meant only 10% would be left for himself. John raised that it could lead to two possibilities since Mytrah was comparatively a new venture that time; its profits were not know. If 90% meant billions of dollars, still it had to be given away. On the other hand if Mytrah did not make much profits, then 10% would become to less to sustain himself. But Ravi was firm. He said that he was not 'renouncing' wealth but redistributing it. John had handled hundreds of wealthy entrepreneurs before Ravi and was truly touched by his philosophy.

Myth of the entrepreneur has everything that a reader would love....drama, information and oodles of inspiration. In short, it is an excellent read. I salute Mr Ravi Kailas.


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