4 must read books for hospitality professionals

BW HOTELIER got hospitality veterans to share one book recommendation that changed their perspective.

Books are a beacon of inspiration and are, sometimes, the spark you need to motivate yourself to hop onto a journey of self-discovery and hard work towards your goals. BW Hotelier spoke to four hospitality veterans about the that one book which changed their perspective about life and which they would like to recommend to their fellow hospitality professionals.

1) Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance by Louis V Gerstner Jr
Recommended by: Arindam Kunar, VP Operations, Fortune Park Hotels

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance is the title of the memoir of 1990s era IBM CEO Lou Gerstner who is credited with bringing the company back from a near-death experience. It is a first-hand story of an astonishing turnaround, a unique story of managing a crisis, and a personal reflection on the principles of leadership. Gerstner ushered in an era of great transformation by shifting the company into software and services and exiting most hardware businesses.

Kunar says the book gains significance because he happened to meet Gerstner who was staying in his hotel and had the pleasure of getting the hardcover signed by him. 

The main reason for me admiring the book and the author is that a large company like IBM was turned into a nimble, agile and competitive business by a person who was leading the world’s foremost tech company and he did not have a technology background. In addition, the leadership lessons learnt from this book are about planning, perseverance, persistence and people management. Some of his statements have so much punch, that anyone reading will be inspired for action. He also shows how culture and people are critical to an organisation’s survival and renewal.”

Gerstner writes: People don’t do what you expect but what you inspect. Some other inspiring quotes from the book are Move fast. If we make mistakes, let them be because we are too fast rather than too slow and I’ve had a lot of experience turning around troubled companies, and one of the first things I learned was that whatever hard or painful things you have to do, do them quickly and make sure everyone knows what you are doing and why.

Additional recommendation: Four Seasons : The Story Of A Business Philosophy by Isadore Sharp, the founder of the Four Seasons brand.

2) Dare to Dream – The Life of MS Oberoi by Bachi Karkaria
Recommended by: Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality

Dare to Dream talks about the humble beginnings of MS Oberoi, the man who went on to build a well-renowned international hotel chain. Oberoi began his career in the hospitality industry at Shimla’s Cecil Hotel and then through his sheer determination, grit and hard work, climbed up the ladder and went on to create his own brand. “After I became a hotelier, one of the first books I read was Dare to Dream, an autobiography of Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi. Because I used to work for Oberoi Hotels, obviously the book was inspiring to know. The book then prompted me to always have an interest in reading biographies or stories of great hoteliers globally. These books are inspiring for hoteliers because they give you insights about the industry and make you prouder as you work in the same space.”

3) The Four Powers of Leadership by David T Kyle
Recommended by: Suresh Kumar, Founder, Kue Management Services and Founder & Mentor, ROSAKUE Hospitality

The Four Powers of Leadership educates readers about the abilities and tools needed when promoted to a high-powered position of leadership. The author, through the book, explains that leaders must stretch their talent and capabilities that put them into their current high position in new and divergent ways. “In my experience, while interacting in both professional and social circles, I have realised that many managers get influenced either by their immediate boss or organisational culture. These learnings don’t, at any point, address the overall wisdom of dealing with the ‘ups and downs’ or nuances in their journey of life. Managers, therefore, continue to focus on task completion without imbibing the ‘strategic mindset’. They acquire skills without knowledge and wisdom and lead to ‘midlife crisis’. This book provides insights and tools to equip professionals and help them navigate through crisis situations in a fast-changing world,” shares Kumar.

Additional Recommendation: First, break all the rules - What the world's greatest managers do differently by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

4) The Oriental Bangkok: The Most Famous Hotels In The World by Andreas Augustin and Andrew Williamson
Recommended by: PK Mohan Kumar, Founder & CEO, Turnstone Hospitality LLP

The book presents an impressive 145-year history of the famous hotel – The Oriental, Bangkok. Detailed research combined with an informative and enjoyable story accompanied by unique photography makes it un-put-downable. “The Oriental Bangkok where I was trained retained the number one position in the world for years.”

Additional Recommendation: Dare to Dream – The Life of MS Oberoi by Bachi Karkaria


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