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A still from ‘Guru’.
A still from ‘Guru’.

The business of writing

The Bangalore Business Literature Festival, originally scheduled for 26 September, has now been postponed to 31 October

Warren Buffett’s three favourite business books—Adam Smith’s Wealth Of Nations, and Benjamin Graham’s Intelligent Investorand Security Analysis—are available as a compendium on Amazon.com. Articles proclaim The Innovators’ Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen as one of the books on the late Steve Jobs’ must-read list and Business Adventures by John Brooks as a favourite of Bill Gates.

It has always been interesting to know what the business icons of our times are reading. So, in the inaugural session of the Bangalore Business Literature Festival, Vinita Bali, who has worked with Cadbury India, Coca-Cola, Latin America, and, most recently, biscuit maker Britannia, will talk about her favourite business books, and the impact they have had on her career.

Festival chief executive officer (CEO) Benedict Paramanand says the idea of the festival is to look at business literature as a whole—this includes business blogs, news and magazine articles, papers, CEO speeches and management books.

So, sessions like “Confluence Of Business And Technology—How Books, Papers, Blogs Are Enriching It" will bring out aspects of good business articles and blogs. Madanmohan Rao, research director of YourStory Media, a platform with a focus on start-ups, who will be moderating the session, says the focus areas for him will be what readers should look for in a business blog, as well as things to keep in mind while blogging about the business of technology.

Another session, “A Critique On Indian Business Literature Post 1991 Reforms", will look at some of the best writing on business, irrespective of the medium of dissemination. Paramanand says: “So many books look like a rehash of business articles. We will talk about writing that offers real insights into what changed in 1991 (post-liberalization)." He cites Gurcharan Das’ India Unbound: From Independence To The Global Information Age as an example of great writing.

In addition to the sessions, the festival will have four workshops, on topics such as how to write a business article, or a movie script around a business idea. Paramanand says that there are many businesspeople who want to express their thoughts in newspapers and magazines as byline articles. The session on article writing will provide them with some tools that might come in handy. Shankar P., a festival director, and editor of the business journal Knowledge@Wharton, will conduct the 50-minute session.

The workshop on screenwriting is the only event that has an entry fee ( 1,000). Anjum Rajabali, who will conduct the workshop, says: “For a long time, the Indian film industry avoided making movies on issues like business and technology. The thinking was that these are dry subjects and not accessible to the general public." That thinking is changing slowly, he says, and the industry is looking for new stories. “Anyway, everyone understands basic economics and trade," he adds.

Clearly, audiences are coming around to watching stories that are centred on business. Whether it is in the form of movies like Guru, about the life of industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, or online mini-series TVF Pitchers, about four young men with a start-up dream. Just the first episode of TVF Pitchers, available on YouTube, has been viewed more than two million times.

The Bangalore Business Literature Festival, originally scheduled for 26 September, has now been postponed to 31 October. For the schedule, visit www.bangalorebizlitfest.org

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