Called well worth reading by The Economist and earnest and entertaining by the Financial Times, Tarun Khanna’s Billions of Entrepreneurs is an elegantly written book that mixes on-the-ground stories with thorough research to show how Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs are creating change through new business models and bringing hope to countless people across the globe. Khanna juxtaposes, on a variety of levels, China and India; explores how the future depends on understanding the yin and yang of these two nations; and emphasizes the increasingly important links between China, India, and the West. Khanna embraces what he calls a big tent view of entrepreneurship going beyond typical stories of high profile, young executives taking companies public and focusing on social and political entrepreneurs who are redefining the norms of daily activity.
In the book, Khanna sets out to demystify many of the questions that confound foreigners (BusinessWeek), exploring subjects that include each nation s treatment of multinationals, Chinese and Indian managerial talent, and state vs. grassroots approaches to business and entrepreneurship. Khanna s insightful analysis draws on history, economics, and political science, and is humanized by vivid portraits of the lives of individual entrepreneurs, politicians, and activists whom the author has met during his regular visits to each country. He argues that hope for prosperity in both countries lies in the hands of the billions of entrepreneurs who are alleviating social problems and historic tensions, benefiting both countries and the world at large.
According to the Financial Times: What Khanna does do, and does well, is cover vast sociopolitical and economic ground, and provide meaty information derived from conversations with people who have done business in India and China.
The main focus of this book is to convince the readers (especially Americans) to understand how India and China are reshaping the global economy. Khanna gives an interesting insight into how the private sector-led entrepreneurs in India and government-led entrepreneurs in China are leading the economic and social development in these two countries. He cites examples of failures and successes of various home grown companies. The book also discusses in depth the successes and failures of multinationals in understanding and working in both these economies. Given Khanna’s teaching experience at Harvard Business School and his Indian origin, he has succeeded in giving a multicultural analysis to various issues discussed in the book. He could easily understand the Asian psyche and could present this to the American readers with ease. Through this work, he tries to act as a bridge connecting his American colleagues and students with these two important economic giants. As you finish reading this book, you will begin to understand how India and China are actually changing the world, through new business models and social revolutions, and at the same time bringing hope to billions of people.
This is a must read for anyone who aspires to know more about the shift happening in the global economy. Khanna ends his preface of the book by stating that “India’s and China’s success is shaping and will continue to shape the world our children will inherit”.
Tarun Khanna is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, where he has studied and worked with multinational and indigenous companies and investors in emerging markets worldwide. He was named Harvard University's Director of the South Asia Initiative in the fall of 2010. He joined the HBS faculty in 1993, after obtaining an engineering degree from Princeton University (1988) and a Ph.D. from Harvard (1993), and an interim stint on Wall Street. During this time, he has served as the head of several courses on strategy, corporate governance, and international business targeted to MBA students and senior executives at Harvard. He currently teaches in Harvard's executive education programs and is Faculty Chair for HBS activities in India.
His book, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours, was published in February 2008 by Harvard Business Press (Penguin in South Asia), and has been translated into several languages. It focuses on the drivers of entrepreneurship in China and India and builds on over a decade of work with companies, investors and non-profits in developing countries worldwide.
His most recent co-authored book, Winning in Emerging Markets: A Roadmap for Strategy and Execution, was published by Harvard Business Press in March 2010.
Outside HBS, he serves on the boards of the global power company, AES Corporation, and India's largest microfinance firm, SKS Microfinance, along with several others in the financial services, energy, automotive, and life sciences sectors, and actively invests in and mentors startups in Asia. He also serves on the advisory boards of Parliamentary Research Services, an NGO dedicated to providing non-partisan research input to India's Members of Parliament to enhance the quality of democratic discourse and that of Primary Source, a Boston-based NGO dedicated to helping US schools, from K-12 grades, adopt curricular material reflecting global societies.
In 2007, he was nominated to be a Young Global Leader (under 40) by the World Economic Forum. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of International Business.
His scholarly work has been published in a range of economics and management journals, several of which he also serves in an editorial capacity. Articles in the Harvard Business Review (e.g. China + India: The Power of Two, 2007; Emerging Giants: Building World Class Companies in Emerging Markets, 2006) and Foreign Policy (e.g. Can India Overtake China?, 2003) distil the implications of this research for practicing managers. His work is frequently featured in global newsmagazines as well as on TV and radio.