A strong woman looks at a challenge in the eye…and gives it a wink! This pretty much sums up Daughters of Legacy by Rinku Paul and Puja Singhal. Published by Penguin books, it chronicles the lives of twelve fascinating women from Indian business families on managing legacy businesses.
If a woman faces the glass ceiling in a Corporate environment- in a traditional Indian legacy set up, she might as well have an ice glacier to get around! Most Indian legacy businesses are passed on to sons. With this deep-rooted patriarchal mind set, it is refreshing to read a story which talks about daughters of the house being given equal opportunities as sons.
It talks about the pressure that comes up with having a famous surname and how being the boss’s daughter or an ‘heiress’ is not always an enviable position to be in. There are various common challenges that these women faced – including ‘not been taken seriously’ or having to hear things like ‘Oh – she is here only for time pass, till she gets married’
The book is divided in to 12 chapters with each chapter telling the story of one unique woman and her journey in to the world of entrepreneurship. The women covered are Ashni Biyani, Meher Pudumjee, Manasi Kirloskar amongst others. The authors have covered women from different business sectors such as retail, real estate, logistics, textiles as well as from different stages of business legacies. While some are second generation entrepreneurs, someone like Lavanya Nalli of Nalli group is a 5th generation entrepreneur covered in the book.
One of the best things about this book is that the narrative is focused on bringing out the leadership skills, decision making abilities and pitfalls faced by these remarkable women from a business perspective- the things shared by them include their struggles to be accepted by the board, facing failure and bouncing back.
At no point does the book turn into a cliché on work life balance, but has some extremely straight forward advice on hard work, team building, taking calculated risks and not becoming a victim of your own success. There are several interesting anecdotes on the lessons that these women learnt by observing how their parents ran their business- especially on trusteeship and being responsible for the lives of people who work for you. At the end of each chapter is letter from the parents of the entrepreneur which is heart-warming to read.
Overall, Daughters of Legacy is a great read on breaking stereotypes- both on gender and on privilege.
Title: Daughters of Legacy
Author: Rinku Paul & Puja Singhal
Publisher: Penguin Books