Thinking Smart: How to Master Work, Life and Everything In-Between
You are on top of your career. You love the job you are doing. You were rated excellent in your latest assessment. But, for reasons beyond your control, you have just been fired. The modern executive faces many challenges. The old days of steady jobs in safe posts are gone. Technology is transforming work, rendering jobs obsolete, and constantly moving the goal posts for performance. But the responsibilities and priorities remain as they always were: To the company, the colleagues one works with or leads, to one’s family and oneself. How does one keep improving one’s skills and getting more from life? In this scenario of contradictory goals and ambidextrous skills, the secret lies in Thinking Smart. Faced with his own crisis, Nirmalya Kumar, renowned professor, recognised globally for his marketing and strategy expertise, used the experience to come out a winner. Here is a book reminiscent of Peter Drucker’s classic Managing Oneself. In bite-sized, easily accessible articles are ideas and wisdom that will help readers in their own life and career, from managing people, teams, strategy, finances to even a few tips on managing life.

1. Brand Breakout Book Cover, 2013

Brand Breakout: How Emerging Market Brands Will Go Global
This book looks at what Asian and emerging market brands need to do to succeed in international markets and the challenges they face when competing with western brands. The book covers an outstanding list of brands and insider interviews: drawing on academic and practitioner research, and their consulting experience. Kumar and Steenkamp illustrate their practical advice with case studies, examples and interviews from high-profile brands including Corana, Emirates, and Nandos.

2. Inside India, 2011
India Inside: The Emerging Innovation Challenge to the West
Thanks to its ability to innovate, the developed world will always have a distinct advantage over the developing world, right? Not according to leading management experts Nirmalya Kumar and Phanish Puranam. In India Inside, the authors draw on their research to show how India is already turning this assumption on its head-often in ways invisible to consumers in the developed world. Through their research and extensive interviews with India-based executives from such companies as AstraZeneca, GE, Infosys, Intel, and Wipro, the authors unveil the dramatic rise in invisible innovation occurring in India-from B2B products and R&D outsourcing to process and management innovation. The book also illuminates Indian companies’ growing ability to innovate consumer products that are compact, low-cost, efficient, and robust in the face of harsh environmental conditions. The authors’ analysis makes clear that for certain kinds of innovation, the long-held monopoly of the developed world is over. India Inside provides a wake-up call for executives and policy makers in the developed world and a clear-eyed view of both the challenges and opportunities facing multinationals seeking new sources of innovation in the future.

3. India’s Global Powerhouses, 2009

India’s Global Powerhouses: How They are Taking on the World
When the Indian auto manufacturer Tata Motors bought the iconic Jaguar and Land Rover brands – complementing the Nano, its own innovative $2,500 car – it opened up a new chapter in India’s economic story. In the coming years, such Indian multinationals as Bharat Forge, Hindalco, Infosys, Mahindra, and Suzlon will increasingly be making acquisitions and building their brands in Western markets. Never heard of them? Then read this book. India’s Global Powerhouses introduces you to the India’s preeminent global companies and explains how they differ from their international rivals. The book profiles India’s pioneering multinationals in detail, describing their transformation from leading domestic players to evolving global giants, as well as their unique approaches to globalization. Every manager should understand the histories and the business trajectories of these prospective competitors, collaborators, and customers–whose names will soon be as familiar to us as Honda, Lenovo, and Samsung.

4. Value Merchants, 2007

Value Merchants: Demonstrating and Documenting Customer Value in Business Markets
Do your salespeople feel under extreme pressure to retain accounts or gain new business at any cost? If so, you may be leaving big money on the table. Consider the integrated-circuit supplier representative who lost $500,000 of potential profit on a single transaction, just to “win” a deal that he would have closed anyway at the higher price. Do not make price concessions. Become a value merchant instead. In this authoritative book, James Anderson, Nirmalya Kumar, and James Narus explain how companies in business markets can use customer value management techniques to estimate the value of your market offerings, create value propositions that resonate with your customers, and maximize the return you will get on the superior value that you deliver. Drawing on extensive research and detailed case studies of companies like Sonoco, Tata Steel, and Quaker Chemical, “Value Merchants” will change the mindset and behavior of your executives, sales management, representatives, and marketers–as well as your customers.

5. Private Label Strategy, 2007

Private Label Strategy: How to Meet the Store Brand Challenge
As retailers have become more powerful and global, they have increasingly focused on their own brands at the expense of manufacturer brands. Rather than simply selling on price, retailers have transformed private labels into brands. Consequently, manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, and Procter & Gamble now compete with their largest customers: major retail chains like Carrefour, CVS, Tesco, and Wal-Mart. The growth in private labels has huge implications for managers on both sides. Yet, brand manufacturers still cling to their outdated assumptions about private labels. In “Private Label Strategy: How to Meet the Store Brand Challenge,” Nirmalya Kumar and Jan-Benedict E.M. Steenkamp describe the new strategies for private labels that retailers are using, and challenge brand manufacturers to develop an effective response. Most important, they lay out actionable strategies for competing against–or collaborating with–private label purveyors. Packed with detailed international case studies, valuable visuals, and hands-on tools, Private Labels enables managers to navigate profitably in this radically altered landscape.

6. Marketing as Strategy, 2004

Marketing as Strategy: Understanding the CEO’s Agenda for Driving Growth and Innovation
CEOs are more than frustrated by marketing’s inability to deliver results. Has the profession lost its relevance? Nirmalya Kumar argues that, although the function of marketing has lost ground, the importance of marketing as a mind-set–geared toward customer focus and market orientation–has gained momentum across the entire organization. This book challenges marketers to change their role from implementers of traditional marketing functions to strategic coordinators of organization-wide initiatives aimed at profitably delivering value to customers. Kumar outlines seven cross-functional and bottom-line-oriented initiatives that can put marketing back on the CEO’s agenda–and elevate its role in shaping the destiny of the firm.