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The Rise and Fall of the Vanderbilts

The Rise and Fall of the Vanderbilts

Books and Literature Talks, Business | English | 1hr 30mins
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Once upon a time, there was a family whose very name connoted wealth. The Vanderbilts had a vast empire built on freight through steamboats and railroads. Over a few generations, the wealth-worth billions in today’s money-had been frittered away and the business itself faded as new options came up in the freight business. Their story remains an enduring example of what happens when business leaders fail to embrace the future and transform.

Business transformation is a dynamic topic that is explored by authors R Gopalakrishnan and Hrishi Bhattacharyya in their book Embrace the Future. A key lesson in the success or failure of such transformations lies in harmonising the art and science of change – the emotional and the rational – and striking the right balance between them. Both in life and in business, a compelling narrative that inspires the organisation is essential for effecting transformation. Equally important is viewing transformation as an ongoing effort integrated into the work culture, rather than solely reacting to crises.

Their book resonates with anyone who has encountered change—something prevalent in today’s ever-evolving business landscape. R Gopalakrishnan and Hrishi Bhattacharyya underscore that companies unwilling to adapt are bound to fade away. The authors will share their insight on how it’s imperative to draw lessons from the past, navigate the present, and prepare for the future. A Q&A with the audience will follow.

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