Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Book Review: The Habit of Winning by Prakash Iyer

Prakash Iyer’s new book is an interesting read for all those keen to develop themselves as successful leaders and managers. The author talks about several contemporary real-life stories from diverse areas including those which made a huge impact on his personal as well as professional life. The book is divided into 11 sections and each section has a number of well-written inspirational and motivational short-stories ranging from perseverance and self-belief to leadership and team-work.  Each of the stories culminates in a new lesson.

Prakash has used the simple language which makes the book easy to read. The author’s 25-year corporate stint has come handy while carefully choosing the enriching stories to demonstrate the lessons and get them registered in the minds of the readers. The way he has put-forth his learnings and ideas through awe-inspiring stories really deserves appreciation. The analogies drawn from the stories of people and other living beings to one’s personal and professional life fit really well. Being an avid Cricket fan, Prakash has cited several stories from the game of Cricket and explains how we can learn lessons from some of the Cricket players who have demonstrated their capabilities and attitude in the tough and demanding times. Needless to say, Cricket fans will like the book even more.

I found section-I of the book amongst one of the most interesting parts of the book. It talks about as to how one is made to perceive his role in an organization – Being just limited to his set of responsibilities (e.g. stone-breaker) or extending to help build the organization (e.g. builders of the world’s tallest cathedral)? This is of vital importance for an organization to tread on the path of achieving its vision and goals.  The section goes on to talk about the importance of setting goals by citing that even the best mountain-climbing equipment is of little use if you don’t have a mountain to climb. Then, it calls for being focused and persistent to achieve these goals. The section ends by outlining the lesson that in one’s pursuit to achieve his goal, he should change his tactics, but shouldn’t change the goal itself.

Before reading the book, I was inclined towards the view of one school of thought that leadership can not be learnt. However, after carefully reading through the book, I now feel that leadership can be learnt provided one follows the lessons outlined in the book by Prakash. I firmy subscribe to the author’s view that there is a genius inside each one of us and it’s just a matter of setting this genius free to evolve into a winner. Personally, I have gained immensely by going through the stories put forth by the author. I commend him for coming out with this book which, I am sure, will benefit the readers immensely.

All in all, the book serves a wonderful means for anyone interested in bringing out the  best in himself by shaping up his managerial and leadership abilities.

PS: For knowing more about the author, you may go through his website at URL: www.prakashiyer.com

Note: This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com.

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 www.stayhungrybook.com and www.connectthedots.in 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.