Harsh Realities: The Making of Marico

I happened to discover one of my favorite non-fiction books of all time.

“The key learning here is to base your career and business on your strengths. The chances of success are higher if one leverages one’s strength and not because one’s peers are pursuing an opportunity or opportunistic trends.” ~Harsh Mariwala

While exploring and making a mark in the family business might seem easy to all, ‘Harsh Realities: The Making of Marico’ shows us a different perspective and tells the readers how an entrepreneur can thrive in any circumstance.

This book is for:
–         Executives in the FMCG industry
–         Young professionals intending to join the FMCG industry
–         Leaders who are steering their organizations into new horizons
–         Young entrepreneurs

Harsh Realities is an exceptional read. It gives us a glimpse into the professional life of Harsh Mariwala and the inner intricacies of Marico Limited. As much as this story is about Harsh’s struggles through the toughest of situations and learning from them, Marico is as equal of a hero of this book. You see the birth of a young and beautiful dream and its growth into a mature Indian multinational company that it is now. So well-described is the making of this company, that I couldn’t help falling in love with Harsh’s third child (as Marico is aptly called).

Below are some of the highlights that stood out for me in this book:
–         Harsh Mariwala’s zeal to explore the traditional operations of the family business, test out his new ideas and the courage to implement them
–         Marico’s spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship and how they dealt with many adversities whether it was splitting of the family business or building consumer brands at a time when FMCG products were commoditized
–         The enigmatic product range expansion and adopting the blue ocean theory helped Marico to find their niche (hair care and healthy food categories)
–         Marico’s battle with HUL and the emerging problems that the management had to deal with
–         The intricacies that went into the various acquisitions and divestments made by Marico

This book made me reminisce my B-school days, it felt like a well-written case study with anecdotes and insights from Harsh Mariwala and Prof. Ram Charan. As you can see from my extremely tabbed book in the picture, there were numerous note-worthy lines and insights that I wanted to save so that I can go back to them any time I needed to. Harsh is an entrepreneur who didn’t shy away from facing the difficulties and worked extremely hard to make Marico what it is today, and this book is a beautiful glimpse into this journey and the best part is it makes the reader live through the same.


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