The Inheritors: Stories of Entrepreneurship and Success


Why did Harsh Mariwala leave his family business?
Why did the Burman family quit the day-to-day operations of Dabur?
How did the Dhingras turn a collapsing business into India’s second-largest paint company?

The Inheritors offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in Marico, Dabur, Keventers, Berger Paints, Select Group, Antara, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Luxor and Motilal Oswal. The book focuses on culture, family politics, ego battles, business rivalries and a lot more. And then, of course, there are the inheritors themselves-some take the businesses to even greater heights while others lead them to doom.

One look at the synopsis and you know you absolutely have to read the book. It promises all the scoop on some of the most successful family-owned businesses in India and does deliver to a large extent. Another reason for picking up this book was the rich credentials of the author, Sonu Bhasin, about which you can read in detail at the end of the post.

The Inheritors, as the name suggests, is an account of some of the top family-owned businesses. The book tells stories of how nine of the biggest brands in the country – Dabur, Marico, Berger Paints, Motilal Oswal Group, Keventers, Max Group, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Luxor and Select Group, were concieved and how they thrived over the generations to become the prestigious brands they are today. Sonu Bhasin interviews Amit Burman, Harsh Mariwala, Kuldip and Gurbachan Singh Dhingra, Motilal Oswal, Raamdeo Agarwal, Agastya Dalmia, Tara Singh Vachani, Rishabh and Saloni Shroff, Pooja Jain and Arjun Sharma to give us a firsthand account of their families’ journeys in handling the brands over the years.

The book provides a rare glimpse into these brands’ success stories and dispels the myth that the inheritors have everything laid out for them on a silver platter. While their stories are full of hardwork, hardship, determination and sacrifice, which inspires the reader, the narration fails to take it to another level.

Most of the stories in The Inheritors narrate the brands’ evolution in detail, however, some stories make you wonder if they fit the tag of ‘inheritors’. While the Keventers and Berger Paints stories don’t provide any insights in the brand’s making, the Max Group and Motilal Oswal stories completely fail to fit the bill. While Agastya Dalmia speaks about the many businesses his grandfather owned, he seems to know very little about the brand, Keventers, he revived some 100 years after it was first launched in (what was then outskirts of) Delhi. Kuldip and Gurbachan Singh Dhingra narrate their rich history of created from sweat, grit and determination by the four generations to build the UK Paints empire of which Berger Paints is a fairly recent ‘acquisition’. The story of Tara Singh Vachani, unlike what the name of the chapter suggests, does not provide the story of Max Group but of Antara Senior Living – a subsidiary of Max India Limited, which introduces a concept yet to be proved in the market. And Motilal Oswal and Raamdeo Agarwal are not inheritors at all, on the contrary they are the creators of the brand!

Having said that, the book is still worth reading for the amount of history and insights Sonu Bhasin has poured into the book.

About the Author

Sonu Bhasin is one of the early and senior women professionals in the industry and has led businesses in senior leadership positions during her corporate career, including her role as Director, ING Barings; President Axis Bank; and Group President, Axis Bank.

Currently Sonu Bhasin is an independent director on the boards of well-known companies. She is the founder of Families and Business (FAB), a platform for family-owned businesses, and editor of Families and Business magazine.

She can be reached at

Author: Sonu Bhasin
Foreword: Anand Mahindra
Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Portfolio by Penguin Random House India
ISBN: 9780143428688
Publication Year: 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Original Language: English
Country: India

Grab your copy of the book here:

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. The review, however, is honest and unbiased.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *