Archive for April, 2010

Book Review: Connect the Dots by Rashmi Bansal

Before reading the book Connect the Dots, I thought “Why to learn from success stories when the greater learning lies in failures?” However, when I read a few stories in the book, I realised that the book doesn’t go about mentioning successes of the entrepreneurs, rather it mentions about their failures which ultimately culminated in success stories for them.

Rashmi Bansal’s new book – Connect the Dots, at least in my opinion, is a sequel to her National bestseller in non-fiction category – Stay Hungry Stay Foolish (SHSF). There are many reasons to believe that it is a sequel:

  • Connect the Dots caters to the aspirations of budding entrepreneurs like SHSF.
  • Both the books have classified the entrepreneurs into 3 categories.
  • In both the books, after each story follows the advice to young entrepreneurs.
  • Connect the Dots has a similar cover design, page design, layout and typesetting as that of SHSF.
  • Even the website layout and design of Connect the Dots is same as that of SHSF. (Browse and to know more)

Connect the Dots covers inspiring stories of 20 non-MBA entrepreneurs unlike Rashmi’s first book which had stories of 25 entrepreneurs who did their post-graduation from IIM-A. When you see the cover of the book, the first thing you’ll notice is that the title of the book has been written upside down. The one who hasn’t read the content of Steve Jobs’ speech or hasn’t gone through the below note given in this book, fails to understand as to why the book’s title has been written upside down.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust… in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”

~ Steve Jobs, Commencement Address at Stanford University (2005)

Rashmi herself mentions as to how she connected the dots in Author’s note section in the beginning of the book. She was passionate about writing from the very beginning. During her course of study, she often asked herself during her miserable first year at IIM-A as to why she came to study there. After around 14 years of passing-out from IIM-A, one fine day she got the opportunity to write on IIM-A entrepreneurs and she grabbed it which later became a bestseller in the form of SHSF. She was on campus for her 15th reunion in Jan 2009 when sale of SHSF crossed 50,000 copies. To celebrate this, the dean of IIM-A presented her a silver plaque in the same classroom where she occupied a seat during her first year on campus. That day she was able to connect the dots!

The book has a diverse and interesting mix of entrepreneurs. The age was certainly not a bar for choosing entrepreneurs (for the fact that book covers people as old as 56 years old and as young as 25 years old) as long as they could fit into one of the three categories viz. Jugaad, Junoon and Zubaan of the book. One of them-Raghu Khanna, with whom I have personally interacted also, is even younger to me.

Some of my Supply Chain concepts of Postponement and Modularization got revisited when I read Prem Ganapathy’s experience of offering 108 dosa items in menus of Dosa Plaza using mix-and-match of 5-6 sauces, 5-10 chutneys and vegetables. These entrepreneurs know by virtue of their real life experience many things which are taught at the B-schools today.  As correctly outlined in the book, whether you are selling tea or servicing a Fortune 500 client – the principle is always the same.

All in all, the book serves a wonderful means for anyone interested in pursuing entrepreneurship as a career option.