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Infinite Vision: How Aravind Became the World's Greatest Business Case for Compassion (BK Business) Paperback – November 7, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: BK Business
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (November 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605099791
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605099798
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

(...)"This thought-provoking story of Dr. V and the Aravind Eye Care System should be required reading for current and future business and charity leaders.  Only by breaking down the false separation between business practices and community needs will our societies prosper."
-- Dr. Pamela Hartigan, Author, The Power of Unreasonable People

"If you aspire to combine entrepreneurship and innovation with higher life purpose then there can be no better guide than Infinite Vision and the life of Doctor V. But beware. Once ensnared it will be impossible to escape!" - Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO, Author of Change By Design

"(..)Rich with lessons that come to life through the vivid personalities of Aravind's torchbearers -- their insights on leadership and management forge a path forward for the social as well as corporate sectors. An important and compelling read."-- V. Kasturi Rangan, Co-chair of The HBS Social Enterprise Initiative

A stirring account of how one man's faith and pragmatism healed millions. Infinite Vision is a powerful reminder that any of us can overcome the most severe of obstacles, and rise to unparalleled heights of spiritual and practical achievement. 
 - Huston Smith, Author, "The World's Religions"

Infinite Vision offers a lucid and moving account of the Aravind story, while detailing its greatest lesson to the world: Compassion, when focused with clear goals, thoughtful strategies and sound management practices, can yield incredible results. - Steve Hilton, President and CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

More Praise for Infinite Vision

“In an increasingly complex world where making money and doing good are dichotomized, this thought-provoking story of Dr. V and the Aravind Eye Care System should be required reading for current and future business and charity leaders. Only by breaking down the false separation between business practices and community needs will our societies prosper.”
—Dr. Pamela Hartigan, Director, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, University of Oxford, and coauthor of The Power of Unreasonable People

“Most business books completely fail to communicate the human and intuitive side of organizational and business success. This book explores both very effectively while describing practical achievements as well. If you aspire to combine entrepreneurship and innovation with higher life purpose, then there can be no better guide than Infinite Vision and the life of Dr. V. But beware. Once you are ensnared it will be impossible to escape!”
—Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO, and author of Change by Design

“A deftly crafted book that relates how Aravind triumphed in business by focusing on compassion. It is rich with lessons that come to life through the vivid personalities of Aravind’s torchbearers—their insights on leadership and management forge a path forward for the social as well as corporate sectors. An important and compelling read.”
—V. Kasturi Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School, and cofounder of the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative

“A stirring account of how one man’s faith and pragmatism healed millions. Infinite Vision is a powerful reminder that any of us can overcome the most severe of obstacles and rise to unparalleled heights of spiritual and practical achievement.”
—Huston Smith, Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Syracuse University, and author of The World’s Religions

“Infinite Vision offers a lucid and moving account of the Aravind story while detailing its greatest lesson to the world: compassion, when focused with clear goals, thoughtful strategies, and sound management practices, can yield incredible results.”
—Steve Hilton, President and CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

“Those seeking inspiration from a spiritual journey or insight into innovative business practices—attributes not normally found in the same story—will benefit from this narration of a profoundly impactful adventure.”
—Dr. Alfred Sommer, MHS, Dean Emeritus, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“This is that rare book that informs you on how to put your compassion to work. Through the accessible genius of the Aravind model of business, you will find a gateway with a road map for you to find your own personal brand of compassion in your work and in your life.”
—Dr. Mark S. Albion, cofounder, Net Impact, and author of True to Yourself and Making a Life, Making a Living

“A story about an organizational marvel, this book is somehow internally illuminated. It has plot, poetry, and emotion—things you don’t expect from a business title. The writing pierces through management abstractions, and what remains is the rootedness of a family, the crazy-beautiful daring, the labor and the thrift, the sense of ‘what else is there to do?’”
—Amulya Gopalakrishnan, columnist, Indian Express

“Surgery, service, soul, and sustainability weave together in this inspiring true story. The messages of this book transcend health care and business—they speak to the potential that lives within each of us.”
—Dr. William Stewart, cofounder, Institute for Health & Healing, California Pacific Medical Center, and author of Deep Medicine

“Expertly weaves through the challenges and opportunities encountered in transforming a small eye clinic into the largest eye hospital in the world. This story is a gift to aspiring change makers and leaders everywhere. Its visionary protagonist is one of the real heroes of our times.”
—Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, founding member, Seva Foundation, and Director, Center for Innovation in Eye Care
 

From the Back Cover

THE WISDOM OF AN IMPOSSIBLE ORGANIZATION
 

"Again, may I say, how profoundly I admire your work and how deeply gratifying it is for me to hear that you appreciate mine."
--PETER F. DRUCKER in a letter to Aravind's founder, Dr.V

When a crippling disease shattered his lifelong ambition, Dr. Venkataswamy (better known as Dr. V) chose an impossible new dream: to cure the world of blindness. The tiny clinic he founded in India defied conventional business logic and is now the largest provider of eye care on the planet. 

At Aravind, patients choose whether to pay or not. Millions are treated for free, yet the organization remains stunningly self-reliant. Serving everyone from penniless farmers to the president, it delivers world-class outcomes at a hundredth of what similar services cost providers in advanced nations. Its model is emulated by organizations everywhere from Rwanda to San Francisco.

Infinite Vision uncovers the radical principles behind Aravind's baffling success. Charged with profound insights and stories, it draws readers to the heart of Dr. V's selfless vision, proving how choices that seem quixotic can, when executed with compassion and integrity, yield incredible results -- results that can light the eyes of millions.
 
"Reveals the power of a model that combines business discipline with compassion. May the wisdom of Dr. V and Aravind shared here inspire many such initiatives for the wellbeing of future generations." -MUHAMMAD YUNUS, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Founder, Grameen Bank
 
"A must-read for anyone interested in leadership, service, and the building of institutions that release the best energies of the human spirit." --JACQUELINE NOVOGRATZ, Founder-CEO, Acumen Fund, and author of The Blue Sweater
 
"Aravind may be a case study for MBA students, and a model social business, but to me this book told a story, with elegance, clarity and intimacy." -FRED DE SAM LAZARO, PBS NewsHour
 
"In the world of blindness Dr. V has performed a miracle." -RAM DASS, Author, Be Here Now, Co-founder Seva Foundation
 
100% of the authors' royalties are being gifted to Aravind's sight-restoring work.

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Customer Reviews

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It makes you care deeply for the personalities in the story.
Amanda Greco
Apart from the story, the way in which both Pavithra and Suchitra have written the book is superbly intelligent and makes for non-stop-reading.
Anandi Sujeer
Except... ...The magical places are right here and they're happening right now.
Leah E. Pearlman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Inman on October 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When Pavithra first produced and brought to the world her acclaimed documentary film, Infinite Vision, I was stunned with the quality and emotional impact that the film brought forth. The depth of scholarship, insight, and pure inspiration that Pavithra and Suchitra have provided in this new book with the same title is stunning. If you pick up this book to read a business case for an extraordinary organization, good for you, but you will miss 90% of what this inspirational work is about. Transformation is about a shift in mindset. To simply take the work and try to duplicate it is bound to be frustrating. The mindset of Dr. V is what the profound lesson is about to me. That mindset created the culture which allowed the current Aravind to emerge. It was not planned and controlled into existence, it emerged from the will of those who envisioned it. What is the core to a culture of innovation? What mindsets are critical to its emergence? This book is inspirational and can provide the foundation for transformative conversations that have the opportunity to create social justice in our world. Embrace this book, internalize it, and create the conversations that can heal our world. This book has that spirit within it. Not many do. I highly recommend Infinite Vision and suggest that it be offered to anyone interested in creating a better world. Can one person make a difference in this world? From what I have seen, the resounding answer is yes. If each of us takes this challenge, there is no doubt in my mind that we can make it happen.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tigera on November 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't miss this book, Infinite Vision. It's about one person, "Dr. V.," who revolutionized healthcare for those who cannot see. But it's equally about us, about everyone. It's about our creativity when we don't set limits. And about how it can spread, even globally. It is about our higher potential. <Also see [...] Saybrook University, where we teach about everyday creativity.>

If you ever had cataract surgery, take note. You know what it is like; seeing or not seeing can change everything. In India, some have used a derogatory term for a blind elder, "a mouth without hands." Can you imagine?

Infinite Vision tells how Dr. V helped reverse this tragedy. The book is personal and inspiring, and it also gives operational details and a recipe for success. Dr. V, Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, a surgeon in South India, began, as a post-retirement project, what became the largest eye surgery operation in the world. And where a great many needy people now get eye surgery for free. His is a required case study for Harvard Business School, has been honored by Bill Gates (Award for Global Health) and many others. His Aravind organization has attracted visitors, promoters and collaborators from Seva Foundation to the International Lions Club, from Dr. Brilliant to Ram Dass to Wavy Gravy. Why? Here's a goodhearted doc moving from a clinic for 11 people to a massive medical movement which has brought hope to the 12 million blind people in India. A movement now spreading around the world. And a man who said, whose stated goal in life was, "to give sight for all." Now Aravind, is doing just that! Here is the story.

The recipe: Good person, hard times, a crippling arthritis that changed his career goals, a fundamental desire to help others.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leah E. Pearlman on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
This isn't the kind of book you read, it's the kind of book that reads you.

It's like stepping into a chariot and being whisked away to magical places where unimaginable extraordinary things are possible. Except...

...The magical places are right here and they're happening right now. They are not a result of genies in lamps or the wands of wizards, but by people who's only special power is unconditional love.

I started this book one day and finished it the next. When i was done, i felt everything inside of me bigger than before: my heart, my hope, my belief in people, and that anything's possible. Reading this book taught me as much about myself as the men and women about whom it's written. I grew a deeper understanding for the joy of selfless giving, a yearning to contribute, and confidence in my own ability to serve.

Reading this book is superfood for the soul.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Litwin on December 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best description I have ever read of the magic that created the Aravind Eye Care System. It came out of the remarkable clarity of one man-Govinda Venkataswamy-"Dr.V." who saw how to connect treatment of blindness in the rich with the cure of blindness in the poor in an ever growing, self sustaining system. That powerful clarity made it possible for all to understand and support it. It caused many of DR. V's family to dedicate their lives to this effort. Hundreds of doctors, scientists, administrators and people of every diverse talent volunteered their services. With this flowing narrative Pavi Mehta and Suchi Shenoi let us experience Dr. V's vision and make it our own. Richard L. Litwin MD
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carol Liane Brouillet on November 16, 2011
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In trying to understand the world and make it a better place, I have been seeking to find some basic, universal principles. Infinite Vision seemed a likely place to find those nuggets of wisdom and insights that I was looking for. I was not disappointed. It is a truly epic story grounded in the experiences of Dr. V, his family and the clinic, hospitals, outreach he catalyzed and called Aravind, which has cured and prevented the calamity of blindness in India, and other countries throughout the world, touching the lives of millions. At his core, Dr. V was a very spiritual person who sought to do his own inner work and simultaneously the outer work of tackling one of the major preventable causes of human suffering. His accomplishments seem miraculous, but they also can be seen as embodying some of the basic principles of life and spirit, that when you serve others and the greater good, the Universe will conspire to assist you. There are many lessons to be learned from this story. It is vividly written with a wealth of details clearly illuminating the humanity and complexities of Dr. V and his family and the struggles that they faced inwardly and outwardly.
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