Stay hungry, Stay Foolish

The title of the book was possibly inspired by the famous Steve Jobs Stanford University speech. I would have like to see a little more creativity in the title, instead of an insipid verbatim copy of the speech’s title. That doesn’t reduce the content of the book to anything less than it is, but it is an observation.

So, what is the book about ? The book chronicles IIM-A graduates who did stay hungry and may be a tad foolish too. These are the graduates who decided to be entrepreneurs and persevered to make it big. They made a big impact not only to themselves, but also to the idea they were pursuing.

First things first – this is not the usual serious business story chronicle. This was the opinion shared by someone else I know who is an avid reader. The storytelling doesn’t have the usual seriousness of books of this genre. I think this is a a good thing as this makes the book a light read but with a strong message in the content. A message that sticks !

The author of the book, Rashmi Bansal is an IIM-A graduate and an entrepreneur. She interviewed IIM-A graduates (graduates of the PGP program) who are in very successful positions as entrepreneurs. And that is where the kicker is ! It is not about IIM-A graduates who are earning crazy money as salaries, but those people who decided to try something on their own.

The book has 3 sections and in each section, the author tackles a different kind of an entrepreneur. The 3 sections are

  1. The believers – people who knew entrepreneurship was the ‘Chosen Path’. They got into this straight after their MBA or may be after working for a couple of years. And they held on, till they made it big.
  2. The opportunists – these entrepreneurs did not plan to take this path but then opportunity knocked, they seized it. An insight into those people who seem to prove that you don’t have to be a born entrepreneur.
  3. The Alternate vision – these are individuals who are using entrepreneurship to make a social impact

Each of the above has a lot of interesting stories. Stories of people who believed that they could succeed, sometimes failed, but still persevered.

My favourite stories are of Venkat Krishnan of GiveIndia, Vijay Mahajan of Basix and that of Sunil Handa of the Eklavya foundation. The first two are in the alternate vision category, having tried to use their skills from IIM-A to create a platform to further social impact and the last one is in the ‘believers’ section.

I would suggest this book. It beats the oft-treaded path of (mostly boring) entrepreneurship books. It doesn’t tell you how to become an entrepreneur (nor can any book of course). By chronicling the stories of various entrepreneurs, Rashmi Bansal has enabled people to learn from their stories. It is no secret that an IIM-A graduate has a huge advantage because of the educational pedigree, but that doesn’t mean that others don’t have a chance to be successful entrepreneurs by learning from them. Also, the book is priced INR 125, which makes the book a steal. So, go grab a copy. It might cost you a lunch and a dinner, but you can stay hungry but definitely not foolish after you finish reading the book (ok, yes, that was a last minute cheesy line added for dramatics. Happy ? ).