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BW Businessworld

Book Review: Young Achievers

The author touches on a variety of aspects, from the hardships to the joys, from the desire to take risk to the point of walking away and more.

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No doubt entrepreneurship has caught the fancy of many in India today, particularly the youth. The success of new age entrepreneurs, and the media articles and accolades showered on them have inspired many. There is still, however, a dearth of success stories of young entrepreneurs who have started their own venture while in college or just when they have graduated.

The Underage CEOs: Fascinating Stories of Young Indians Who have Become CEOs in their Twenties (HarperCollins), by Ganesh V., fills this gap. The introduction mentions that the author is always on the lookout for unusual stories and the 11 young entrepreneurs featured are testimony to this. The entrepreneurs are a diverse set of persons, from different backgrounds, states and regions. Dance artist Avik Bhattacharya of CentreStage, 22-year-old Saurav Karmakar, who experiments with ethical hacking; and iKheti’s Priyanka Amar who introduced urban farming to Mumbaikars are some of the entrepreneurs the author has profiled. What they have in common is the grit and enthusiasm for what they are doing.

The author touches on a variety of aspects, from the hardships to the joys, from the desire to take risk to the point of walking away and more. Some practical points and good practices in entrepreneurship such as the importance of market research, understanding the customer segment, how team hiring is critical to growth, the art of pricing which is beyond cost plus profit, strategic thinking, the benefits of getting mentored, etc., have been brought out well. As an entrepreneur, teacher, mentor and consultant, I find some nuggets of wisdom coming through in the stories.

Entrepreneurship is not an easy journey. While the stories did touch upon difficulties and some failures, the author could have spent some time by delving into these situations of struggle in greater detail. The picture presented by these successes may result in readers assuming that the entrepreneurial journey is much easier than the reality, which is, that 90 per cent of businesses do not survive beyond the first three years of their life. This is the flip side of any such book on entrepreneurial success stories; they may inspire some persons to take to entrepreneurship without adequate thought and for the wrong reasons, such as fame and/or money. Just as the author has given a chapter on funding, a section on the key reasons for failure would have been an useful value addition.

This book is inspiring; it showcases the amazing power of youth in this country. Their spirit, social responsibility and maturity is a joy to read about.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Anjana Vivek

The author is Founder-Director, VentureBean Consulting

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