Friday, 3 October 2014

“Books are my Best Friends, Mentors and Gurus” - Professor M.S.Rao

“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” — Abraham Lincoln

On October 01, 2014, I was interviewed by an eminent international journal on mentoring and leadership. There were several questions and one of the questions on motoring was as follows: ‘I know you’ve probably had many mentors who have contributed to your professional success. How has mentoring influenced your growth and development as an international thought leader?” I replied to this question as follows:  

I joined Indian Air Force when I was 18 years old. I served in the lowest rank of Corporal. I did not have the privilege of pursuing regular college education. I acquired my qualifications through self-study and correspondence courses. I am mostly self-taught. I am a continuous learner as I am passionate to acquire knowledge. I am a voracious reader and I acquired knowledge by going to libraries in distant places when I served in Indian Air Force. Hence, I don’t have any mentors. In fact, books are my mentors. However, I admire Peter F Drucker, the father of modern management for his immense knowledge and contribution to the discipline of management.   

I have read thousands of books so far. Presently I am a book reviewer for Human Resource Management International Digest of Emerald and I receive books as per my choice. I read books and publish the reviews in the journal. In this way, I gain lots of knowledge. Ever since internet revolutionized, I started to read online from authentic resources to acquire knowledge. I always carry books with me when I travel to deliver leadership development training programs. I make use of my travelling time to read books to acquire knowledge. I also have the passion to share my knowledge with others as knowledge should never remain with one individual. If water stays in one place, it stinks. Similarly, knowledge should never remain with people. On the other hand, knowledge must be shared with others to provide meaning to life, and to prepare others as better citizens to build a better world.

Leaders are Readers

Leaders are readers and learn several things from books and apply their knowledge in their real lives. John F. Kennedy rightly remarked, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” When you look at Mahatma Gandhi he was a voracious reader who read lots of books. He was influenced by books[1] such as Plato's Apology, William Salter's Ethical Religion (1889); Henry David Thoreau's On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1847); Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1893); and John Ruskin's Unto this Last (1862) to name a few. Mahatma Gandhi learned many things from his mistakes which he called them experiments. He also authored a book, The Story of My Experiments with Truth which is an autobiography.

Dr. A. P.J. Kalam once remarked, “One best book is equal to hundred good friends but one good friend is equal to a library.”  He rightly connected books with friends and library.  To conclude, books are my friends, books are my educators, books are my mentors, and books are my gurus.

"Learn to love good books. There are treasures in books that all the money in the world cannot buy, but the poorest laborer can have for nothing." - Robert Green Ingersoll

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Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL:

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