How India Works by Aarti Kelshikar: Book Review

Title: How India Works: Making sense of a Complex Corporate Culture

Author: Aarti Kelshikar

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Publishing Date: 1st August 2018

My Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon Goodreads Instagram Twitter

Indian corporate work environment is distinctive in itself owing to its varied cultures and languages but when it is compared to other countries’ work domains, it has its own variations.

Well, I guess most of you guys who work in the corporate sector must have read tons of articles or write-ups on Indian corporate work culture and the differences that exist compared to other western countries. Such write-ups cite differences majorly on points like hierarchy, time management, work relationship, work-life balance etc.

So, where many websites or blogs offer about Indian corporate culture, then why How India Works needs to be read? and what’s new in this book?

Most importantly, this book answers why the Indian work culture is the way it is. The author tries to lead us to the affairs of the cultural nuances of working in India through her experience and based on extensive interviews with corporate leaders.

The use of anecdotes brings in more fun to the reading. They helped to reflect on how things happen in the Indian corporate world. For instance, while telling the significance of titles in Indian work culture, the author quoted an amusing example of how a change in the title could make difference!

“Dear sirs, because of my change in title, I got married. Until now, nobody wanted to get married to me because I was a business developer, now I am a manager! The company has given wings to my dreams. Thank you!”


The author describes the intricacies of the Indian way of doing things, be it about managing deadlines, time management, communications, negotiating nuances and personal touch with professionalism and the noted Indian head wag.

“The head wag? I love it! In fact, I take it back to England with me. I find it easy to do, though it’s taken me time to understand it.”- Virginia’s take on head wag.

Along with giving out her insights on Indian cultural nuances, the author has also included few sets of advice from expatriates and repatriates for making it work with Indians in the corporate environment. No doubt, the book has some really considerable points.

Having packed up with author’ experiences and interesting responses of the interviewees, How India Works is an easy read with good pace.

This is an appreciative book especially for non-Indians to gain a good perception of the Indian work culture and what to expect from it and how they could associate with the culture. The book is a must read for them and also for the potential collaborators to understand about the Indian working style.


Have you happened to read this book? or thinking of it lately?

Do share your thoughts in the comments below.



11 thoughts on “How India Works by Aarti Kelshikar: Book Review

  1. After traveling through Southern India the last few weeks, yes this book would have great interest for me. I also think the book would work well if one was planning to move there.


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