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Lucknow Boy: A Memoir

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  559 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
An authority in the media circles, Vinod Mehta, journalist and Editor of Outlook magazine, presents his life through a candid and scandalous account in his autobiography, Lucknow Boy: A Memoir.

The book contains several interesting accounts, starting from incidents in his younger days to his interactions with celebrities from different spheres like business, politics, the
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Viking Penguin
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Shruti Rao
Jul 23, 2016 Shruti Rao rated it liked it
If reading books was a sexual act, this book, at its best is fingering. Mostly, it's a peck on your cheek from the author, who's always got one eye trained on the mirror behind you, checking out himself.

Still, for the anecdotes, irreverence and never letting it stutter, three stars.
Monica Mittal
Jul 24, 2014 Monica Mittal rated it it was amazing
I came across this name 2 years back but got my hands on the book only recently. It was a superb read. Generally auto-biographies are tend to be boring( this is a personal view so bear with it ) but this one keeps you glued to your seat. One of its kind that doesn't glorifies the person himself/herself but talks much more; about the times he has been through; an insight of the people he has met; about how the media runs and gets influenced by politicians and other big guns.
It is a like a revisio
Sep 07, 2016 Munis rated it really liked it
Vinod Mehta is a real dude !!
Tanaya Pandey
Feb 06, 2012 Tanaya Pandey rated it liked it
A very readable book. I picked it up after reading many a reviews. I have not really been an Outlook reader and so was not very aware of Vinod Mehta and his style of journalism. This book got me hooked from page 1. The good thing about the book is that it is a very easy read. it's not full of jargon and Vinod Mehta doesn't come across as self righteous and self appreciative, at least not overtly.

The initial years he recounts about Lucknow, family and his student days are quiet interesting and f
Dec 19, 2011 Nandgopal rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Spoiler Alert..!!!

I must confess that I was fairly ignorant of Vinod Mehta's lofty reputation and formidable resume when I started reading Lucknow Boy: A memoir. The last two books that I had read before this were both celebrated works of 20th century literature:- Primo Levi’s gut-wrenching account of his ordeal at Auschwitz in ‘If this is a man’ and Mario Llosa’s masterful evocation of Dominican life under dictator Rafael “The Goat” Trujillo’s iron grip in ‘The Feast of the Goat’. It was time t
Vibina Venugopal
Jul 28, 2012 Vibina Venugopal rated it liked it
I'm always reluctant to buy autobiography mostly because of being overly timeline oriented, and being self indulging(well that is what a autobiography is supposed to be) but most often they go over the line, but this one was like reading a fiction on the run...My last post on "The museum of innocence" Pamuk's romance with the city reminded me about this book where Mehta describes his fond memories about the people of Lucknow while he was young.. Outlook is the only magazine (i'm not too proud ...more
Gopal Vijayaraghavan
Here is the story of “the inadequately educated Lucknow Boy with no formal training in a mass communication institute” taking the might of a well established fortnightly ‘India Today’ and succeeding. There are enough incidents in the life of Vinod Mehta which would have formed the part of the script for a successful Hindi film. The first 150 pages of the autobiography of Vinod Mehta are interesting and fast paced. Vinod Mehta is able to hold the attention of his reader when he writes about his ...more
NSampath Kumar
Oct 17, 2012 NSampath Kumar rated it it was amazing
Vinod Mehta hasn't written his memoir to tell you what a great person Vinod Mehta is. And therein lies his greatness. Told with amazing candour, startling simplicity and incredible wit, Mr Mehta takes you on a marvellous zeppelin-ride through his life - and you stare wide-eyed at his hugely eventful journey, right from his formative years at Debonair (which we used to hide within the pages of our world atlas during our own salad days)to his present prestigious role at Outlook.

Lucknow Boy, people
Harsimran Khural
Dec 13, 2015 Harsimran Khural rated it liked it
Lucknow boy is a short and informative take on India's political landscape for the past 40 odd years. It mainly captures the kind of news that makes it into news magazines, considering it is the autobiography of a newspaper and newsmagazine editor. The personal life of Vinod Mehta is also quite interesting, particularly his time in Lucknow and London. Overall the book is engaging enough to be not left halfway. There are many tidbits regarding some famous personalities that I wasn't aware of, and ...more
Anshuman Lenka
Aug 10, 2012 Anshuman Lenka rated it really liked it
Nice book throws light into the glitz and almost opaque life of Indian journalists.Mr.Mehta's life as described is nothing sort of that of a roller coaster ride. Do read it for the gossip involved ..;)..very very juicy ..indeed
Anurag Jain
Nov 23, 2012 Anurag Jain rated it really liked it
Shouldn't have ended so soon. lot of voids in between. still perhaps one of the best autobiographies out there, mainly due to richness in content and the delicate humor and arrogance of the dude !
Irreverent, insightful and immensely readable. Strongly recommended.
Sumirti Singaravel

I have a long relationship with the magazine Outlook, only next to the daily The Hindu without which - as the cliche goes, quite rightly - that no middle class educated Tamilian begin his day. I was introduced to the magazine by a friend from my school when I wanted to know updates on the recently published books (he guaranteed that the reviews in Outlook were nothing short of 'fantastic'). Also, he told me that it is the best magazine to carry the most eye-catchy photographs, which we can use i
Feb 13, 2012 Tanvi rated it really liked it

Vinod Mehta. A renowned name in India's journalistic circles and supposedly India's most independent editor (I don't know who has given him the crown) gets candid, and even nostalgic at times, describing his journey from being an ordianry Lucknow boy to becoming the editor of an extremely reputed magazine. And an impressive journey, at that. Even at the cost of being called a sensationalist, Mehta appears to be quite honest and convincing in his accounts.
The bo
Ashwini Nocaste
Aug 26, 2012 Ashwini Nocaste rated it really liked it
Vinod Mehta did a great job at writing an autobiography in a very conversational style without going too much into the syntactical rendition of a personal memoir. Vinod Mehta dwelt upon several open secrets in the world of journalism and delivered several tidbits that go behind the scene of launching a periodical on our face. The politics a periodical brings forth seldom reflects the internal politics that itself go into the making of a periodical what with people with vested interests regularly ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Nirmal rated it liked it
This book gives insight into an unusual small town Boy with slow but surely successful style. It is quite readable and many a times enjoyable. But sometimes there is too much details or repetitions of his work as mag/newspaper editor.

Book starts with author’s growing up years in his home-town Lucknow and gives a good insight about author’s life like in a
once-big-but-now-small town and its idle way of doing things. In some ways this 1st section/chapter is more enjoyable than other sections.

Apr 12, 2015 Vineet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First a disclosure- Vinod Mehta died a few days after I purchased this book. I'm sorry!

I'm no reviewer neither am I a guy whose book recommendations are held in esteem but something tells me I may market this book even on my deathbed.

I loved the start of the book where Mr. Mehta talks about the good old days spent in Lucknow. The anecdotes from his hometown are pure gold. Second comes the time spent in London. It was a delightful reading treat. Have already admitted, I couldn't put down Mr. Meh
Anal Ghosh
May 24, 2015 Anal Ghosh rated it really liked it
We know Vinod Mehta as the hard-hitting editor behind the success of Outlook, but this hugely engaging account reveals much more to the fascinating life and career that the man enjoyed. Despite lacking the academic credentials, Mehta trusted his guts, confidence and perseverance to carve out a career from scratch in the controversial world of national media.

The writing style is breezy, funny and clever and reflects the direct and honest attitude that he was known for in real life. And he has pe
Richa Awasthy
Jan 17, 2013 Richa Awasthy rated it liked it
It was overall an interesting pick. Author tried to give quite a bit account of Lucknow, in which he did not succeed but at the same time he managed to evade the Lucknow's abuse" he is a bore". This book succeeds to engross you with the unfolding of events, influences and destiny's role in shaping the well-known editor. Author has been candid in talking about the information he had gathered from sources or his own thinking. Confession of 'being illegitimate' father is a courageous, bold move or ...more
May 22, 2015 Rajmr64 rated it really liked it
A very enthralling account of the life and times of one of the most interesting, albeit controversial journalists of India....Vinod Mehta offers a very rivetting narrative about the machinations that go on in the "high and mighty" circles of the people who "rule" India. The author who never had a former training as a journalist, shows how raw talent, with a little bit of honing of skills can make one excel in his profession of choice. Perhaps the only requirement is to have passion for the job ...more
Aug 28, 2013 Jacinth rated it liked it
It is an interesting read. It gives a lot of insight in the profession of journalism and the subtleties of Indian politics over the years. The prose is extremely crisp but it is difficult to ignore the sycophancy towards the ruling party. I loved the part where Lucknow of the 1950s is described. However, certain portions are prominent in their absence- for instance, his personal relations seem to crop up without any prior reference, very little is said about his mother who seems to have played a ...more
May 05, 2015 Bulbul rated it it was amazing
Vinod Mehta was the editor of Debonair, Outlook and other newspapers. He got sacked from 2-3 jobs as an editor. He has been frank and open about his entire life. What is interesting is all the nuggets about the politicians and politics in India. Having recently become interested in Indian politics, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. He has not withheld names, sources or conversations with the top politicians of the country. Of course, he has not written much about his personal life but who cares ...more
Ashish Jaituni
May 05, 2015 Ashish Jaituni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
Excellent read. Immensely readable! I picked it up after Vinod Mehta's death. Very fluid, gossipy and gripping style of story telling. I wish the Lucknow part was a bit more elaborated - as I liked that the most. Overall this would rank among the top Indian autobiographies. I like him for what he is and how he is willing to play along with himself. He's very candid and open which makes reading his memoir eye-opening. He has a style which he carried along that makes voracious reader like me drop ...more
Nov 27, 2015 Vikram rated it really liked it
Irreverent and effervescent is how I would put this book. For a memoir though, there's very little Mr. Mehta has revealed about his personal life though while there are naughty bits about some of the high and might which have been cleverly slipped into the prose. His two wives are mere footnotes (his pet dog 'Editor' gets more words dedicated to him).
I would have liked to have Mr. Mehta reveal a lot more about himself. The demons he fought and the dilemmas he faced and what motivated his decisi
Jan 31, 2013 Sstorytellerr rated it really liked it
Great education for me about the journalistic world of the 80s and 90s. A man who belongs to the "print era" of journalism recounts his experiences, love for the medium and talks of a different world where news and opinions were not real time but constructed carefully - whatever be the ideology. The first half and the last quarter made for a compelling read. It's not racy but just as an autobiography should be - meandering, honest, irreverent with some confessions, surprises and self mockery. ...more
hemant mathur
Apr 13, 2015 hemant mathur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love him or hate him, you can't ignore him

Book is a treat. In spite of some of his prejudices, most of the times he is brutally honest. Book in written in smooth flowing style and effortlessly narrates some complicated tales. His life's journey in the book is not strictly chronological and this adds to the readability. Some good advice and ground rules for budding journalists. Overall a good one. RIP.
Amey Nadkarni
Feb 03, 2014 Amey Nadkarni rated it liked it
Read a review of this book by a fellow reader- Shruti Rao.

It seemed so well put that i am simply copy-pasting her review here-

"If reading books was a sexual act, this book, at its best is fingering. Mostly, it's a peck on your cheek from the author, who's always got one eye trained on the mirror behind you, checking out himself.

Still, for the anecdotes, irreverence and never letting it stutter, three stars."

Dec 06, 2011 Manish rated it it was ok
For someone who has edited the Debonair, launched Outlook and rubs shoulders with the high and mighty of the country, Mehta's memoirs surprisingly ends up being pretty much drab and 'unhappenning'. Some run in's with Kabir Bedi, Rushdie, Dalrymple and Tharoor are all that I'm going to remember when I see this in my bookshelf in future. A quick and easy read. Try it if you're looking for a book to relax and chill.
Rajnish Sharma
Feb 14, 2012 Rajnish Sharma rated it really liked it
A candid and uncluttered account of his life as a student ,as journalist and as a chief editor of very famous magazine outlook.H e was successful, not to fall in the trappings of self importance, avoiding massaging his ego,and me- always- right attitude.Flashes of sense of humor sprinkles its soft aroma around words. specially the incident related to Ragunath sahay alias Firak gorakhpuri.Moreover , no opportunity was missed to cut joke on himself..An interesting read.
Anand Ganapathy
May 19, 2014 Anand Ganapathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: ourlibrary
Interesting memoir by one of India's foremost editors. Vinod Mehta has had an interesting career over the last 40 years and been part of many startup newspapers and magazines. He is currently editor in chief of the Outlook group of magazines which he edited for almost 10 years. He has discussed the art of reporting, his favorite books and writers and the book is peppered with many interesting anecdotes :)
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