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BW Businessworld

'What You Don't Learn In School Or College'

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Why this book? And why should a reader pick up this book?
Education has hardly changed from the time I studied more than 2 plus decades ago. Most of what I was taught has hardly been used, although the growing up was quite painful thanks to the poor marks I got because I could never figure out why I should find the value of “X”. Life has taught me that finding out the value of so many simpler things is far more important than figuring out 'X' and 'Y', like managing relationships, learning to be a good follower, learning to simply learn, keeping an open mind, etc.
Out Of Syllabus was a result of this experience and learning of mine that what actually helps a person to be successful and more importantly feel fulfilled (not only happy) is never taught in any school or college. It is quite simply out of syllabus. The book captures the learning from my personal experiences, the generous inputs given by my mentors and also the unwitting lessons learnt from the 'University of Hard Knocks'. I wanted to share these inputs and hope that it helps the reader get clarity with regard to their career and in a manner of speaking also what they seek in life.
This book is like an actionable primer for anyone who seeks to be successful and find fulfilment in their career pursuits and also life. One of the best compliments was the feedback by a reader, “For those who are not fortunate enough to have a personal mentor, this will be a guiding light.” This summarises my intent and objective to write the book and validates that the job has been done.
How difficult was it to put the book together?
Quite frankly it was not very difficult putting the book together. Organising the flow was a challenge as I wanted to share so many things and sequencing them to make it simple was important. The challenge was the editing part (given my academically challenged background). Since, the inputs in the book is all based on my personal experiences, it was a matter of collating my learning and the inputs I have picked up over the years.
The book was not written to be a literary piece and I am glad that the consistent feedback about the simplicity of ideas and actionable inputs validate that the book has turned out to be as intended.
What does the book mean to you?
This book means a lot to me personally. My first book The India Retales was like a walk through my retail experience and was somewhat edu-taining in nature. It was educational about retail while also entertaining because of the numerous anecdotes and stories about consumers, shoppers, Indian retail, etc.
This book is almost like a personal mission. As I teach Retail Management in several B Schools, I see firsthand the plight of students. They are stuffed with information with no inputs about how to use the same. As a person who used to recruit these young adults during my corporate years, I have seen the same and then used to fault them for their lack of employability skills.
Having interacted with so many young adults as their teacher and mentor, I realise that a majority of them are quite simply lost. This lack of inputs and subsequent lack of clarity extends to their career and unending sense of frustration.
Out Of Syllabus
Out Of Syllabus 
By V. Rajesh
V&S Publishers
Pages: 106
Price: Rs 120
I hope that the book makes a meaningful difference to reader in charting a more holistic and fulfilling life. In that context I also conduct workshops based on the book. There is also a Facebook group named after the book where such mentoring inputs are shared. The feedback and comments from readers across age groups has made this book very special to me and the effort of spreading this message so very meaningful and worthwhile.
When and where do you write?
I wrote this book towards the end of 2011 in Chennai. This was after I had taken a sabbatical from corporate career to pursue my passion of sharing my learning through teaching, training and writing. My home office was the setting and needless to say my family’s support, especially my spouse’s help in my weak area of editing has been tremendous.
Our dog is named Shifu after the character in the film Kung Fu Panda. Similar to master Shifu of the film, shifu’s presence was a great motivation and also inspiration, especially when writing the last chapter.
Where all did this book take you?
In my mind, I visited all my learning experiences in so many different places, settings, contexts and in the company of so many people including my mentors and gurus.
The revisiting of all these memories was sometimes quite awkward when I realised how young and foolish I had been. It made me thankful for all the inputs I have got which helped me tide over so many situations.
Can you suggest another title to this book?
If at all I were to look at another title it would be 'Creating Meaning in your LIFE'.
What’s your energy drink?
Tea, or more specifically chai made the typical road side tea stall way.
What makes a book a really good read or a bestseller?
It should engage the reader. This could be in terms of imagination, fantasy, inputs, education, etc. The fundamental thing is about engaging the reader and leaving them with a sense of having had a great meal, for the mind and maybe also the heart.
What's the hardest thing about being a writer?
I think it is largely the sequencing. With so many ideas floating around in the brain invariably one idea branching off into myriad new thoughts and related ideas, putting it all in a proper, coherent sequence is a challenge. The next big one, at least for me, is the editing part. As the writer one tends to overlook the spelling mistakes, grammar, etc., as the idea holds centre stage in my mind. Another person’s objective critique is definitely required at this point.
What are you reading now?
I just finished rereading The Eleventh Commandment by Jeffrey Archer. Planning to start the Bond book Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver. On a parallel plane, I keep reading a few pages of Bhaja Govindam’s English translation and of course the daily Calvin & Hobbes strip.
So, what’s next?
A whole series of similar books which can add tremendous value to a person. One idea is about communications in the SMS era and will start work on it once the sequencing of ideas gets sorted out in my mind. I also entertain hopes of trying my hand at fiction someday.
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