Home Books On #WorldBookDay meet Flipkart’s leaders among readers
On #WorldBookDay meet Flipkart’s leaders among readers

On #WorldBookDay meet Flipkart’s leaders among readers

On #WorldBookDay, Flipkart’s avid readers speak of the books that shaped and influenced their personalities and careers

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Flipsters, old and new, always have a soft spot for books and reading. For #WorldBookDay, which falls on Sunday, April 23, we hand-picked Flipkart’s most avid readers to tell us about the books that shaped and influenced their personalities and careers. Our COO tells us about a book that has been crucial for his problem-solving abilities. The editor of Flipkart Stories recommends a must-read from Stephen King that’s not horror, but on the craft of writing. We have a digital marketer who received his first graphic novel from a Secret Santa here in the office a couple years ago, and has become a bit of a collector of the classics since then. An engineer who reluctantly tells us how (the late-great) Dennis Ritchie’s book changed her life. A brand marketer who keeps it short and sweet but also to the point, just like the books he reads. And, a die-hard reader who when approached for this feature, simply told us, “Anything for books.” You’ll know who she is when you get to her interview. 

Many of the company’s first employees joined for their love of books, while our first customers were ever-hungry bookworms. Talking about books comes naturally to many of us. So give this post a read on World Book Day, if you’re looking for some robust recommendations but also to find out how reading books works as chicken soup for the soul for all us. Also, if you’re wondering where the photos were taken, Flipkart has a special “World of Literature” themed floor at its Cessna Business Park office in Bangalore, and it is nothing short of magical!


Nitin Seth – COO, Flipkart

#WorldBookDay - Nitin Seth

1. What’s the one book that changed your life, and why?

I’ll talk about three, because in different stages, different books have influenced me. When I was starting my career in manufacturing operations, the book that influenced me a lot during this time was The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt. It’s a technical book, which is written in a story format. The basic concept is that everything is like a system and in every system, there is one constraint. So, if you want to make progress, you need to be focusing on and addressing the constraints. This book influenced me in a big way because it taught me a lot about problem-solving.

The other book that influenced me very deeply over the last decade has been The Bhagavad Gita. I’ve probably read 12-13 versions because it’s a complicated piece of work with many interpretations. It’s taught me a lot about the concept of life, the concept of self and how to cope with complexities that life brings. As you grow, you realize that life is not a simple maths equation, it’s not input equal to output, it’s complex and The Bhagavad Gita helped me deal with this. I first read it in college and I don’t think I appreciated it enough back then. As I’ve grown older with more life experiences and maturity, I have a much better understanding of what it’s trying to say.   

The third book is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s a practical book and a timeless classic. It was written a long time back but it’s still relevant, whether you’re a student or working. Life is all about relationships and relationships are all about suspending your own self-interests and being able to see things from other’s perspective, and that’s what Dale Carnegie sets out to do with this book.  

2. Recommend one book that helped you with your domain expertise.

The Goal, without a doubt. It’s taught me a lot about problem-solving which is at the heart of what I do.

3. Have there been any biographies/autobiographies that have inspired you? Tell us why.

The Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson is probably the richest biography I’ve read. Sometimes biographies tend to build a halo around the individual, but what was remarkable about the Jobs biography, it brought out vividly that he was a deeply flawed individual, yet extraordinarily brilliant. With the power of Steve Jobs career and personality, there’s so much to learn – I’ve been influenced by his theory of ‘Distorted Reality’ and changing the way consumers function.

4. What was the first book you ordered on Flipkart and when did this happen?  

It was my favorite version of The Bhagavad Gita, by Eknath Easwaran. I had ordered a bunch of copies to gift to my team.   

5. Why do you enjoy reading books?

It helps me reflect. It helps me go deeper. I’ve always been fond of reading, but what I’ve been reading has changed a lot over the last 40 years. Over my first 25 years I enjoyed reading fiction — it just was great fun. My most vivid childhood memories were reading Enid Blyton. After that it was a lot of business books and technical books. I think for the last 5-10 years; it’s been a lot of philosophy and spirituality.

I read now because it forces me to reflect and introspect. See, the problem with the digital world we are in today is it’s all very reactive and transactional. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp — you are constantly reacting. But in life there are things that require you to think deeply and that’s why I like to read… to keep that reflective muscle inside me alive.


Nandita Sinha – Senior Director, Home & Furniture

#WorldBookDay - Nandita Sinha

1. What’s the one book that changed your life, and why?

I can’t name one book that changed my life, but there are many books and many authors that have made an impact on me. Some of my favorite authors are:

Vikram Seth: For being an effortless story-teller, simple and insightful in the same breath. For painting landscapes with his words. A Suitable Boy, Two Lives and his novel in verse, The Golden Gate, are all-time favorites

Milan Kundera: For being anything but simple, I loved Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Jhumpa Lahiri: For combining the old world charm of Bengal with the new world, for capturing the complexities of immigrants and exploring themes of conflict and struggle that are universal.

Truman Capote: For his amazing insight into relationships and people that are best highlighted in his acclaimed works Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood.

Jane Austen and Agatha Christie for being early childhood favorites and some of the other authors I love are Doris Lessing, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Jules Barnes, J M Coetzee…

2. Recommend one book that helped you with your domain expertise.

Again, I don’t have one book to name but a set of books that has helped me be a better professional.

Freakonomics by Stephen J Dubner and Steven D Levitt for helping me learn the laws of causality.

The Outliers for trying to articulate the secret sauce of success.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for exploring the concept of quality and influencing me always to live and work better.

Gone With the Wind and Lean In for teaching me how women can and should kick ass.

3. Have there been any biographies/autobiographies that have inspired you? Tell us why.

Recently the ones that inspired are: Open by Andre Agassi and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Both are honest, raw, relatable accounts of difficult journeys undertaken by two extraordinary men.  

4. What was the first book you ordered on Flipkart and when did this happen?

The first book I ordered on Flipkart was when I was on my maternity break in 2011. It was The Finkler Question, the Man Booker winner of 2010. The book did not make it to my list of favorites, however ordering this book opened up a magical world of books I could explore at home. It was exhilarating to order books from Flipkart whenever I wanted to and sometimes getting them delivered within 12 hrs of ordering. That year I ordered more than 30 books from Flipkart.  

5. Why do you enjoy reading books?

I love stories, I love the canvas books can paint and the times they can transport me to. I love the fact that I can understand what went on in the lives of ordinary people during the World Wars, the Vietnam War, Partition, and even the swinging ’60s. I love to explore the complexities, struggles and aspirations of the characters I read about, similar and different to our lives in equal measure. Books help me be more empathetic, more insightful and more intuitive. I am passionate about discovering, collecting and reading books.


Bijoy Venugopal – Editor, Flipkart Stories

#WorldBookDay - Bijoy Venugopal

1. What’s the one book that changed your life, and why? 

Gerald Durrell’s My Family And Other Animals, which I first read at age eight. It cemented my love for wildlife and nature, indelibly, and had a deep impact on my writing style.

2. Recommend one book that helped you with your domain expertise.

A little-known Stephen King nonfiction tome called On Writing – A Memoir Of The Craft. It’s as personal a writing guidebook as one can get. I’ve read a lot after that on the craft of storytelling, but that book is a lodestone.

3. Have there been any biographies/autobiographies that have inspired you? Tell us why.

Freedom In Exile — the autobiography of the 14th Dalai Lama. It’s a lived allegory of infinite humanity and compassion, told with inexhaustible warmth and humor.

Light My Fire – My Life with The Doors by Ray Manzarek — the first rock (auto)biography that I read. It made me warm up to the band I had until then known only through the flamboyant and rather degenerate Jim Morrison.

Life by Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones’ guitar god’s personal history of the world’s greatest rock band makes one believe in immortality, and suspect whether heroin has something to do with it!

Kate Adie’s The Kindness of Strangers is an autobiography that any journalist (aspiring, current or former) would love. Adie, a celebrated BBC journalist, writes of the most shocking encounters with her sharp tongue firmly in cheek.

The one biography that I treasure the most is Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A life of the world’s first consulting detective by William S Baring-Gould. It’s a fictional biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, and it’s a masterpiece of craft and storytelling.

4. What was the first book you ordered on Flipkart and when did this happen?  

Osamu Tezuka’s Message To Adolf Parts 1 & 2. I bought them in 2013 as a birthday gift for my wife.

(I have ordered books before on Flipkart, but unfortunately, I don’t have any record of my purchases.)

5. Why do you enjoy reading books?

Reading palms and tea leaves may get you one-night stands, but only books love you back eternally.


Ashutosh Chandekar – Senior Manager, Digital Marketing

#WorldBookDay - Ashutosh Chandekar

1. What’s the one book that changed your life, and why?

Well, it’s not one but seven. It’s The Harry Potter Series that got me into the habit of reading. Wasn’t much of a reader before, but once I had finished this, I just had to keep reading more. Reading Harry Potter made me realize that there’s so much to learn from books and if you use those learnings in the real world, you can become a better human being. 

2. Recommend one book that helped you with your domain expertise. 

Not a big fan of nonfiction, so I’ve hardly read any books that fall in this bucket. Although, I do recommend Dan Ariely‘s books which talk about ‘Behavioral Economics.’ They can help you better understand people and why we behave in a particular way. It helps a lot, since effective Marketing deals with understanding your customers, first and foremost. 

3. Have there been any biographies/autobiographies that have inspired you? Tell us why.

Last year I read Into the Wild, which is a book on Christopher McCandless’ journey to Alaska. It’s a beautiful book with a sad ending. My takeaway from the book is — your priority in life should be to do things that make you happy. You may not find time for these things while you go through day-to-day life, but you still need to cherish them since that will give you the balance that you need.

4. What was the first book you ordered on Flipkart and when did this happen? 

The first ever book I ordered from Flipkart was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand back in 2013. I finally managed to read it this year and it’s now in my top 5 favorite books. 

I have been a fan of Graphic Novels & Superhero movies for a long time. I used to read them online but never thought of buying an actual one. I got my first graphic novel, Batman – Knight Terrors, in my first year at Flipkart through a Secret Santa. It was one of those gifts I will cherish for a long time. Since then I’ve started reading more & have found few all-time favorites; Batman – The Killing Joke, The Long Halloween, The Dark Knight Returns and one of my most favorite books, The Flashpoint Paradox, because, well, Flash (sorry Marvel, you’ve got nothing on DC when it comes to character depth)! 

5. Why do you enjoy reading books?

I’ve heard some people read to find escape from their everyday routine. For me, it’s not an escape; it’s a way to learn how to live life better.


Chandana Pavuluru – Senior Engineering Manager

Chandana Pavaluru - #WorldBookDay

1. What’s the one book that changed your life, and why? 

There haven’t been any ‘life changers’, but quite a few have improved my outlook. One book that kept me thinking is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; maybe because I read it during my transformation years. 

Two of my all-time favorite quotes from the book: 

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” 

“…I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

These seemingly plain statements present deep, eternal lessons for personality development.

On a lighter note, Programming in C by Kernigan and Ritchie. I owe a lot to this one for being a life changer… haha!

2. Recommend one book that helped you with your domain expertise.

Writing Solid Code by Steve Maguire. Though written with reference to ‘C’ language, all the ‘lessons’ (from “Enable all optional compile warnings” to “Never allow the same bug to bite you twice”) are incredibly relevant for our work routine. 

3. Have there been any biographies/autobiographies that have inspired you? Tell us why.

Recently, I read an article by Sheryl Sandberg on how she coped with the loss of her husband. I was inspired by the way she explained how she dealt with adversity and emerged resilient… it was in a way that everyone could relate. I am sure this narrative will find its way in her upcoming book Option B, which I look forward to reading. 

Before that, I read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. It poked me to rationalize what I should chase in life.

4. What was the first book you ordered on Flipkart and when did this happen?  

*Looks up Order History* ☺

I have ordered many books on Flipkart, mostly for my kids. There were a couple of coffee table books on Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam, which I ordered in April 2015 for myself. 

5. Why do you enjoy reading books?

In a nutshell, it’s a joy! Also, it pushes me to explore my emotional intelligence. I do prefer reading short stories (compared to novels) and the Katha series is my favorite.  

I find imagining the story in the mind is far more fun and invigorating than a visual presentation of the same content. For example, reading Malgudi Days touches the creative side of my brain much more than watching the TV series, however wonderfully it was made. 

PS: I am guilty of losing my reading habit and am quite envious of my friends who continue to be avid readers!


Sushanth Ravikumar – Associate Director, Brand Marketing

#WorldBookDay - Sushanth Ravikumar

1. What’s the one book that changed your life, and why?

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach told me, “Hey! Never stop pursuing your dreams. It’s worth it!” It’s a mantra that I like to live by. 

2. Recommend one book that helped you with your domain expertise. 

Simply Fly by Captain Gopinath gave me brilliant insight on how to take a consumer need and transform it into a revolution, with the journey and travails behind the same. 

3. Have there been any biographies/autobiographies that have inspired you? Tell us why. 

Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson showed me the value of “How to battle the establishment and come out on top!”

4. What was the first book you ordered on Flipkart and when did this happen?  

A Dirk Pitt Adventure by Clive Cussler, sometime in 2010. 

5. Why do you enjoy reading books?

Reading books takes me to another world, where I can actually get lost without having to worry about finding my way!


Inspire yourself and others this #WorldBookDay to wake up and smell the fresh print of a book! Browse your favorites on Flipkart Books


Cover image: Arjun Paul

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