Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Next Adventure

The response to Stay Hungry Stay Foolish has been overwhelming, to say the least. So, what next?

Well, I have more than one idea in my head. And another in my heart. So which one will it be? I've decided to share my thoughts with you... seeking I know not what. But knowing that I shall get it! Here goes...

When I was 7 years old, I knew I was born to be a writer. Yet it took me 30 years and many other hats (MBA, brand manager, entrepreneur, youth expert, journalist, blogger) to actually get there. To accept, and to express, my true calling.

What is a true calling? I think it is a vocation or a way of life that feels like your life purpose. It is something at which you excel without effort. An activity or pursuit in which you are 'in the zone', a part of something larger than yourself.

So my idea for a next book, in a simple sentence, is to seek out the stories of 'people who shine in all walks of life because they've found their true calling.'

How do you recognise your true calling? What if it isn't practical to embrace it? I completely believe that finding your true calling is the highest form of 'personal entrepreneurship' possible. It takes guts, it takes vision, it takes perseverance.

And my contention is that you can pursue a calling and get rich and/or famous out of it. It's not an either/or but a case of having your cake and eating it too.

So, in a nutshell, I am looking for people who have found their true calling. This exercise is a little more complicated than finding entrepreneurs from IIMA. Obviously the subjects should believe that yes, this IS my true calling.

If you believe you fit the bill, or think you know or have heard of someone who does, please write in to me. I am especially interested in people who have switched careers at some stage, in pursuit of this calling but as such I am open to any and all suggestions!

The id is rashmi_b at

While the heart wants to explore true calling, the head says: be practical! So the other interesting thought I have is to do a follow up to Stay Hungry that looks at a diametrically opposite profile of entrepreneurs: men and women who've made it business without a fancy degree.

Of course we have Dhirubhai Ambani, Karsanbhai Patel and Lakshmi Mittal. But I am sure there are many more contemporary stories worth telling.

Incidentally by 'fancy' degree I meant no IIT/ IIM.

So if you know/ have heard of folks who fit this profile please feel free to drop me a line with a brief description. The id remains rashmi_b at

Lastly I wanted to profile '30 under 30' ie 30 young people under the age of 30 who are different/ are making a difference.

Yes it is 'vague' but I truly believe there are young people out there who have energy and passion for things other than CAT/ JEE. They may be entrepreneurs, they may be pursuing other dreams. But they each have a story worth telling.

Agar aap aise kisi bande/ bandi ko jaante hain to bhi mujhe zaroor likhiye!

Maybe one or all or a combination of ideas - I don't know! That's why it's a 'new adventure'. Send in your thoughts, your nominations, and join me in spirit. The 'stay hungry' spirit.

Look forward to hearing from you...


  1. The first idea. People who have found their true calling !

    Since you mentioned the 'zone' have you seen this video on the Flow?

  2. First one is going to be most exciting and readable. 30 under 30 appears like many lists magazines publish every year. And do diversify your field to beyond business. Scientists, social worker, politician, sports personality, philanthropists...

    And opposite of "stay hungry" is not those without degree but those who tried entrepreneurship and failed. And their will be many as they say only 1 in 10 ventures works. But that won't make good headlines, will that?

  3. I've heard. When you have a choice - choose both. In this case, all three. Keeps your heart and head happy.

    It might be strenuous but, it'd be much more of an adventure. Doing one thing at a time is so 20th century.

  4. Have you read "What should I do with my life?" by Po Bronson? Read it - it sounds a bit like your first idea but may help you make up your mind. Cheers

  5. I'd look forward to read idea2. Thats because I found Stay hungry, stay foolish really inspiring and would relate myself even better with a book documenting non-IIM/IITians.

    However, idea1 also would be an inspiring one. In fact, I was a great deal influenced by Po Bronson's "what should I do with my life".

  6. Hey Rashmi,

    I would say why not write a book about unsuccessful attempts at e'ship. what went wrong - decisions, insights or anything else.

    there is a lot to learn from failure than success, though its different that success sell!

    do let me know what you think - viralinc AT gmail DOT com

  7. hi,
    I just bought your book and am going to start reading it...Personally, I like the second idea the most..

  8. I have heard of an IITian, Shreesh Jadhav, who was a gold medalist of his time, renouncing all lucrative offers to go teach Comp. Sc. at Vivekananda mission at an obscure place near Calcutta. He would be a great fit for Idea 1.


  10. Rashmi,
    I would like you to write a post on how financial implications influence us to take up a profession. Let me explain.

    Teachers are not paid well. Which means that its highly unlikely that kids of teachers can aspire to costly vocations(Modelling, Pilots, Formula-1 driver etc).

    Is it ok to choose your " calling" at the cost of future generations? Will it amount to insentive selfishness ?

  11. Hey Rashmi, Every Entrepreneur u hav written bout in ur last book, all r from IIM's. The book is offcors inpirin, but cant we explore MBA grads who are not from IIM's and dat will great boost to those who want to be entrepreneur but are not in IIM's.

    Comments welcome at : pranavgupta98 at

  12. MAN!! your hindi commentary between the text is SO annoying, what purpose does it serve? Distinctive writing style eh? I picked up the book from crosswords yesterday after one of my "Would've been" partner at the next big thing after google suggested me to read for "The Dark Sides of entrepreneurship" and I am like 60 pages done,but BOY that hindi ramblings that pops up is SO Annoying!! Aaargh I'm really in pain coz of that. Your "Dreamers" are kinda phony, but thats acceptable. Yeah more about the dark sides later, we r kinda weird.


  13. The first idea sounds the most audacious. Fortune favors the brave!

  14. shresh yadav as mentioned as mentioned by suryansh is the gud example. i hav read about him in TOI soul curry. he fits for ur idea 1.

  15. I'd prefer the second idea. That is read about people who have managed to make it without the fancy degrees, contacts in the industry, people who are perhaps first time businessman in their families.

    I've always wondered what drives a person from a middle-class background with parents coaxing them to become a doctor/engineer/IAS to take that step of starting his own business, take that kind of risk when perhaps he could have easily chosen the "safer" option. Because I'm one of those people who opted for the "safer" option of working for someone else for a good salary instead of taking risks and making something for myself.

  16. all sound good but they have their own complexities

    1. The true calling idea - problem with this is that you never know what is your true calling. Most of the entrepreneurs you are going to encounter are going to say that whatever they are doing or whatever they are successful at is their true calling. There is an internal bias on part of your respondents which you may not be able to counter.

    2. The fancy degree idea - Here problem is that how you define what is a fancy degree. For your convenience you say it is IIT/IIM but then it varies from business to business. For some even a BE from anyplace may count as fancy degree. Secondly, what degree might have been fancy once may not be so now.

    3. The third sounds interesting to me but I feel that success or difference is a very vague idea. Test of success is that it lasts. Just achieving peaks is no measure. There are lots of people who may find themselves at dizzy heights at early age, but you never know what the future brings to them. Just to put it in perspective, how stupid would it look if one of the people profiled in your book has a fall tomorrow, think of it.

    If you ask me to suggest an idea then I ll say that why don't you consider profiling people whose first venture failed, what went wrong, in hindsight what could have been to correct it, what they learned from it and how they made it in life.

  17. For idea one, you should read Po Bronson's "What should I do with my life?" It is about people who had found their true calling or at least tried to. They gave up great jobs, seduction of money, fame - only to do what they thought they should be doing.

  18. i think i have found my true calling after 4 yrs of engg and 3 yrs of it job i.e film direction but unfortunaltey i didnt get thr ftii or sftii in 2 attempts and dont have money to go to nyfa or some hi fi stuff like that but i have a feeling that i ll make that movie

    so as of now i cant be in ur list,i have realized that it is my true calling but havent done anything worthwhile to show for it ,may be 5-6 yrs later ,i ll make the cut

    also,i think u r the best blogger of india ,i have been follong ur blog for 3-4 yrs but this is my first comment ,u r simply the best
    waiting for some more books from u

    keep the price same

  19. Hi
    I have just finished reading SHSF and I must congratulate you for a very well written book.

    I believe the second idea would be the best among the three because :

    1. There are a lot of people who want to pursue the enterpreneurial path but, take up MBA from because of peer pressure, parental expectations etc. We do not as such have a lot of personalities to look upto other than the likes of ambani, mittal etc who made it big without"fancy degrees". The highlighting of a few more names will convince a few more people that the risk reward is not as obscene as it seems (ban gaye to ambani varna life mein fight hai). So please try to clear this misconception that "life mein bada banne ke liye/dhandha karne ke liye IIM jana jaruri hai .

    2. it will act as an eyeopener sort of a stuff for a lot of IIM/IIT junta who believe that all great stuff in business are their domain only. ( Sorry to be politically incorrect but being an IIM alumni I realise how snobbish we guys can be at times. )

    3. There are a lot of success stories in the family business domain where in the entire family has worked hard to create great businesses without fancy degrees. those businesses while often shunned by a lot of us as "lala" run businesses, the fact remains that a lot of them are quite inspiring.

  20. I thought this sounds like a crazy idea. We have the general elections in India coming sometime next year. Should there be some kind of a campaign to mobilize Narayan Murthy as Indian Primeminister. We may get a breadth of fresh Air & may be we move from the corrupt & dirty politics. I know it will be an epic proportion for him to win the elections but he will be a powerful voice & can really make a difference to this country.Lot of people will be excited when you work for someone who stands for meritocracy,intellect,Integrity & is oriented to really uplift the poor.We should also be able to run one of the best campaigns in the world with money pouring in from common man for this cause.

  21. The first one, of course....just don't mention it to anyone who's read Po Bronson's 'What Should I Do With My Life'

  22. I don't know why you consider IIT-JEE as a monotonous career but let me tell you it takes a lot of perseverance to reach IIT.
    let me share my personal experience with you.

    Let me share my story with people who are unaware and you ofcourse!
    I wanted to be a doctor till I was at my class 9.
    Once I saw something about IITians in a news channel to follow it I read about IIM also and the very fact that these two type of institutes used one of the world's toughest exams to eliminate( not select!!) the candidates inspired me to think of IIT.
    I was always an average student and never thought that my life is so purposeful and all but some incidents happened with me made me feel that their should be a reason to live life.
    I searched everything but only 1 thing caught my attention, IIT. I fell in love with IIT.
    I still remember that I was never ever a strong contender for an IIT seat for my teachers and people who knew me less but for me the only aim in life was IIT and I couldn't think of anything except IIT.
    And I got 57.6% in class 11 way below what an average IITian gets in his/her class 11.
    Though my results weren't that good but there was a fire which kept burning inside me and left me with sleepless nights for preparing for the IIT-JEE.
    In my first attempt I failed to clear the IIT-JEE and I was broken. I cried and cried very hard. It was like a girl rejecting you. I'd never felt so bad before, that was the only moment I thought of ending my life and committing suicide but from somewhere the love for IIT stopped me and I rose from the ashes as a phoenix with a new rigor and energy to sustain the pressure of my friends, relatives and teachers. I would like to say that IIT was never a burden for me. I loved IIT. I didn't wanted to talk with a girl at my school or tuitions because I didn't wanted to give any girl the position I had given to IIT. I love IIT
    I wish you ,"BEST OF LUCK".
    In life have your goal fixed and never lose hope.
    "Destiny is one thing and honest attempt is another you can create your destiny with your honest hardwork and determination but vice-versa is not true."

  23. real great ideas!
    Just got hands on 'Stay Hungry Stay Foolish' and its really inspiring esp. at the point I am, needing to switch careers....
    yaa..i would also say the first idea should be the first you should go ahead with, will be on a lookout for some such people...who I think should be credited through this idea of yours.

  24. I feel 2nd idea is pretty amazing, bcoz without a degree how they made it up to that level will create some enthusiasm in the readers and it will be more inspiring to all non MBAs as well. What do u think? Coments welcome for vvgopal4u at

  25. Two guys from IIMK started a company called Yellow Food; It is into food processing and exports premium quality banana chips to Middle East. That might interest you.

    IIMK E-Cell Testimonial

  26. hiiiii....... i like first & second one............. second one a little more........


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  28. I have to say the second,with so many ppl commenting i hope you don't confuse yourself ..keep the books coming

  29. i know of this social entrepreneurial thing : . I think it is something really great!

  30. So, you have written a book...I just came to know...from the best selling list...I'll have to read it...will write more after reading it...Congrats .....Good work done...

  31. I liked the first as well as the third idea. I would like to read about the third idea first as I'm aspiring to become an entrepreneur aftr graduation. 30 undr 30 would me much more inspiring to young minds.

    I have jus' bought 'Stay hungry stay foolish'. My mum said the book is too good. I'm waiting for my exams to end to catch up with it.

  32. Given the economic condition of the masses, don't you think that "finding one's calling" is still a luxury in India.

    I personally think that an India-focused book with case studies on how people have _thrived_ 'within the system' (but coming from tough backgrounds) is long overdue in our country.

    A great starting point would be Narendra Jadhav (the Hon. Vice Chancellor of Pune University).
    (This was a personal project that I've never managed to really get off the ground.)

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