Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review - We Are Like That Only

We are Like that Only by Rama Bijapurkar: This book is a winning guide to India's consumer market. It brings out the peculiarities in the Indian market with examples, quantitative data, segment analysis and from the author's own experience from Mckinsey and other. It was interesting to read about how "bride viewing" is now being video taped by marriage brokers, how Kellogg cereal should have been marketed as a afternoon snack instead of breakfast, and how India always seems half full and half empty! It also projects views like there are 3 Nigerias within India, while everyone talks about the one silicon valley in Bangalore! Folks in B-school who have studied case studies in Japan or China would be aware of the pains and pitfalls mentioned in dealing with a newly emerging country like India, but I felt the consumer data and segmentation of Indian market was something new, and can be useful to product companies. There were also comments relating to Indian history and epics such as Ram abandoning his wife and asking her to prove chastity, Krishna as a manipulating cowboy, which I think is unwarranted and shows the book in poor light. There is an interesting table showing a mapping from Indian to western values, showing things like Patriarchy vs. Egalitarian or Individualism - sometimes, I feel these are comparing outcomes as a result of transition rather than intrinsically present behaviors that can be called "Indian". I could finish reading rather quickly, which I think is because I didn't find anything jaw-dropping.

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