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Mainak Dhar wears many hats but considers his most important job to be the best possible father and husband he can be. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, he has led businesses in the corporate world for over twenty-five years at organizations like Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and Kimberly-Clark, including ten years as CEO. Mainak considers himself lucky to have been able to pursue his passion for writing along with his career, and when not with family or at work, can be found working on his next book. His eclectic body of work spans popular thrillers such as The 1st Assassin, Sniper's Eye, and the Alice in Deadland series, and award-winning books on leadership such as Leadership in 100 Words and Brand New Start. A certified Life Coach, Mainak is passionate about mentoring others, and his popular series of LinkedIn posts (#leadershipin100words) has over 2 million views. Mainak is trying to make mentoring accessible to all through which has resources including an AI-Mentor powered by his insights and experiences to provide real-time mentoring to anyone who needs it. India Today honoured him as one of India's Top Influencers for mentoring young professionals impacted by COVID lockdowns. His books have been translated into Turkish, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, German and Portuguese, with nearly half a million copies sold worldwide. He is also a passionate student of Karate and holds a Black Belt, and believes that Karate's core values- of humility, respect, and continuous learning, are valuable in all aspects of life.  

Mainak's his own words

For years, I have led a double life. ​​


During the day, I have put on my coat, come to office and made things happen. I have done the things that come with the territory of having worked in the corporate world for over two and a half decades. Lead teams, manage P&Ls, build brands, run businesses and so on.


Early in the morning or late at night, when most people are fast asleep, I have put on my novelist’s hat and made things up. I have unleashed a plague that turned the infected into undead Biters, I let a sniper loose in a suburban mall, I had fighter jets duel over the Thar desert and I launched an EMP strike which rendered modern technology useless and took us back a few centuries.


I have kept these two parts of my life deliberately ‘firewalled’. My bosses vaguely know that I write and that once in a while a book of mine gets released, but perhaps best for them not to know that I’m coming into that meeting fresh from describing what happens when someone fires a Dragunov rifle at a human head five hundred meters away. My readers, who want to follow Alice in her adventures in Deadland or Aman and Aaditya as they unravel the conspiracy behind the sniper attacks, are perhaps less interested in the quarterly forecast for my business.


However, I am the same person who is host to both these alter-egos and over the years I’ve found that both sides of my life feed off, and strengthen, each other making me a better writer, better business leader, and a better person. What I love most about writing is connecting with people through ideas and stories, transcending barriers of language, borders and distance.

Mine is not a special story- we all have stories of our own. But as a writer, the experiences one goes through do end up shaping what one reveals of oneself to the world through one's words. Looking back, a big influence on me has been my largely nomadic childhood, where adjusting to new places and friends every couple of years both made me rely on my imagination and also first stoked my love for writing.


My father, Maloy, was someone I admired for keeping his own love of writing alive, so that even after a hiatus of more than thirty years, he published his first book at the age of 58 and become a bestselling author. He passed away in 2012. Read my tribute to him and learn more about his remarkable life and work here


My mother, Sunanda encouraged my love for writing, going with me to publishers when I, as a college student, saw a seemingly impossible dream to get a book published, and always being the whisper in my ear telling me that no dream was too big to dream. Cancer may have taken her from me in 2001, but I still feel she's there with me, gently nudging me to write one more page, to see one more dream




Ever since I was a child, I loved storytelling- I had an imaginary friend who sat next to me in class and wrote a diary about how the world ended and buried it in the garden so that future historians would find it! The immediate spark for me taking the first real step towards the dream of being a writer was an interview of Stephen King which I read when I was eleven years old, and living in Canada at that time. He had said something to the effect that anytime anyone paid you a penny for your work, you were a published author. I took some poems I had written, stapled them together with solutions to the next term’s Maths textbook (figuring nobody would want to pay for my poems alone) and sold them to my classmates at fifty cents a copy. The $12.50 I earned was my first ‘royalty’ payment! I published my first ‘real’ book in college, a book on Economic History of India, and the thrill of seeing my name in print is something I still feel.




I don't know if the concept of rebirth is true or not, but I certainly would consider myself to have been reborn in a way over the last few years. That came with the realization that I had met a woman whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Having Puja in my life rekindled my hope that things could turn out for the better after all. 


My writing had taken a backseat since my mother's death, and I had drunk myself to obesity. I quit drinking, got back into shape and kickstarted my writing with a resolution to write one book a year. In 2004 Puja made me the happiest man on Earth by agreeing to marry me. After more than three wonderful years of marriage, we were joined in May 2008 by the latest addition to our little family- Aaditya, who is now a teenager, an amazing kid, my classmate at the Karate Dojo, and a writer making a name for himself at a young age.

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