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The Polyester Prince: The Rise of Dhirubhai Ambani Paperback – September, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited (Australia) (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1864484683
  • ISBN-13: 978-1864484687
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,670,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mohit Kapur on November 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Polyester Prince is a balanced book on India's own robber baron. Mr. McDonald pays tribute to Gujarati traders/ Banias in the first few chapters by acknowledging their exuberance of speech, inventiveness, and commercial drive. Dhirubhai first displayed his diplomatic and negotiating skills during the Junagadh freedom struggle. At Yemen, he exploits the fact that silver content in rial was higher than the pound. There he also learned the fundamentals of business by taking position in rice, sugar, and other commodities. At India, Dhirubhai progressed to trading in REP licenses and later textile manufacturing. One of Dhirubhai's greatest attributes was that he networked and lobbied furiously. He cultivated several journalists, politicians, and bureaucrats including Girilal Jain, Murli Deora, Yashpal Kapur, T.A. Pai, R.K. Dhawan, P.C. Sethi, Pramod Mahajan, and Pranab Mukherjee. Several policies such as the High Unit Value Scheme were introduced for the sole benefit of Reliance and tariffs mostly for the detriment of competitors like Kapal Mehra (Orkay Silk Mills) and Nusli Wadia (Bombay Dyeing). Reliance was the first to recognize the most important external environment- Government of India. Dhirubhai used the government to destroy Indian Express and Bombay Dyeing. Wadia, Mehra and the journalist Gurumurthy were arrested on fake charges. He is alleged to have tried to get Wadia assassinated through Kirti Ambani and contract killers. Reliance also resorted to envelope journalism and later buying out a newspaper to unfairly cast DMT as inferior to PTA. Dhirubhai is rightly called father of Indian equity cult as he patronized convertible debentures. One out of every four investors in India is a Reliance shareholder.Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ashish Mathur on November 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book directly from the publisher as it has been banned in India and after reading it is easy to understand why. Ambani's were the most visible business family from India in 80s. Everyone knows that powerful political connections are responsible for the meteoric rise of the ambani business empire. What the book talks about are many issues, which were kept under the carpet and never ever spoken in public. It is a very interesting reading.
Anyone who is interested to learn how business can be done in India, especially before the privatization, must read this book. The link between politics and business is very powerful and though it may have diminished a little in today's India, it is not completely gone.
I recommend this book to anyone who is trying to analyze the strengths of Indian business environment as an emerging country and wish to do business in India.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
It can be anybody's guess why the Book didn't get any publicity and got banned in India. The self claimed tycoon is exposed of his manipulative practices and treacherous acts against other empires in India who are well known for business ethics.
Friends at high places,politicians,film stars and not to forget the underworld dons of Mumbai flocked to this uneducated,unethical but charismatic man.

Any attempts to expose were buried down. Concerete evidences were destroyed, ruling governments broken and shaken. The lust the greed was never ending.
I would recommend this book particularly to Investors in the self claimed Reliance(While DalalStreet says Highly Unreliable a company) so that the former can get to know about the managment style and secure their investors funds.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By P. GUPTA on January 20, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
And I thought how great Ambani really was, that I knew everything about fairfax issue, the Indian politicians etc. I was wrong! Read this book to get an insight as to why an average Indian businessman thinks that one has to take a 'twisted' route to be successful. And why you can't realy blame them - especially the players during license raj. Though Hamish has tried to write a biography of Ambani, this book suffers from a major handicap - most of the 'revealing' things are not backed by the source of that information. But I would recommend this to those who are intrested to have closer look at the wheelings-dealing of politicians, businessmen and the mafia. And to know that they have an unprincipled approach to money and power.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I wish to differ with two other reviews. The rediff.com carried a very detailed article about this book and its aftermath. This book bares a lot more than the hard work of Ambanis'. Their empire was built with lot of "special" favours which are not available to any other hard working Indian. Indian Express had published a devastating series of articles about Ambanis' special treatment in the mid-80s. Ambanis may or may not have had a vison. They definitely had, and still have, but works the best in Indian political setup: backroom connections. The rediff.com article mentioned that Ambanis have virually boycotted its author and have not allowed any book house to sell this book in India.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sujith Thomas on April 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Hamish McDonald has pulled this one off with a master's touch. It covers decades of Dhirubhai's life - his dreams, struggles, failures and successes.

Too bad this book was banned in India and is out of print. One word to describe the experience - Masterpeice!

I must add, The Library at University of Georgia has two copies!!!
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