Keshub Mahindra, the senior-most Wharton alumnus in India, is chairman emeritus of India’s Mahindra Group, a $20.7 billion conglomerate. His father and uncle founded the company in the mid-1940s. Mahindra joined the business soon after its inception, took over as chairman in 1963, and retired in 2012 after leading the group for five decades.

This conversation is part of an ongoing series of interviews that Knowledge@Wharton is producing in collaboration with Wharton Magazine.

On Meaningful Books

I am very fond of reading. I read three or four books at a time. If I had to choose books that have influenced me the most, it would depend on the environment in which I read the book. My mood would influence my judgment. Old classics continue to impress me. Among new generation writers, Yuval Noah Harari, author of Homo Sapiens is profound in the breadth of his coverage.

The subject of human growth has always intrigued me. For instance, why is it that after nearly 70 years, we have not been able to economically develop our country as we ought to have? Why is there still poverty? Why do so many people lack housing and water? This is not acceptable. Much to my surprise, no business school seems concerned over such issues.

Are you reading enough? Only you can answer that question.