‘Not a waste…’: Narayana Murthy says he worked over 70 hours a week for over 40 years


Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthyremains unfazed by the debate surrounding his recent suggestion that young individuals should work 70 hours per week to enhance productivity and bolster India’s competitiveness. Recalling his own experiences in establishing Infosys in 1981, the now 77-year-old Murthy emphasized the importance of hard work. Murthy told ET that he used to arrive at the office at 6:20 am and leave at 8:30 pm, working six days a week.”I know every nation that became prosperous did so through hard work,” he said.
Murthy’s commitment to hard work was instilled in him from an early age. He shared that his parents taught him at a young age that the only way to overcome poverty is through relentless hard work, combined with maximizing productivity per hour.
Growing up as the fifth of eight children in a modest family, with his father working as a schoolteacher in Mysore, Murthy pursued a degree in electrical engineering from Mysore University before studying computer science at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur.Murthy went on to share that throughout his 40-plus years of professional life, he dedicated 70 hours per week to work. “When we had a six-day week – till 1994 – I used to work at least 85 to 90 hours a week. That has not been a waste,” he emphasized.
During a recent podcast with former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai, Murthy expressed his concern about India’s low work productivity, comparing it to other countries around the world.
Acknowledging India’s current status as a developing nation, Murthy stated that one must remember that with a per-capita income of $2,300, India remains a poor country. Even with an annual growth rate of 8%, it will take approximately 16 to 18 years for India to become a middle-income country, with a per-capita income of $8,000-10,000, he said.

Murthy firmly believes that adopting a strong work ethic is crucial for breaking the cycle of poverty. “My parents told me that the only way I can escape from the orbit of poverty was by good values – honesty, hard work, discipline, and good work ethic,” Murthy was quoted as saying. He is of the view that by prioritizing the interests of the community over personal gain in the short and medium term, one can achieve personal growth. “I know every nation that became prosperous did so through hard work,” he reiterated.


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