The best books on the essentials of entrepreneurship

Who am I?

I left the corporate pigeonhole in 2015 and flew out into the Great Expanse. Ever since, I have been a catalyst for people’s self-expression across different media and formats. My work is a direct consequence of this motivation. I am a person branding coach, writer, editor & book coach and voiceover artist. I prefer depth over width, silence over noise, calm over chaos. My thinking is a blend of structure and free flow. My work is more than just work to me: it is a core part of my being. Being of a contemplative nature, I often ask myself big questions about value- creation, impact, empathy, collaboration, etc. I live in the Indian city of Bangalore (Bengaluru) with my family.

I wrote...

The Underage CEOs: Fascinating Stories of Young Indians Who Became CEOs in Their Twenties

By Ganesh Vancheeswaran,

Book cover of The Underage CEOs: Fascinating Stories of Young Indians Who Became CEOs in Their Twenties

What is my book about?

The Underage CEOs tells the stories of eleven youngsters in India who became entrepreneurs right after college/university, thereby becoming CEOs in their twenties itself! They rejected conventional career paths, fought off pressure from society, peers and parents, and took charge of their destinies. They have changed the lives of several people through their ventures. What's more, they are having a lot of fun!

These young men and women are not exceptions. Today, the business climate in India offers multiple opportunities to those with good ideas. If you have a strong vision, drive and patience, you can make a difference in your chosen field. The Underage CEOs is a call to action to take a leap of faith and rewrite your destiny at a young age!

The Books I Picked & Why

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On Entrepreneurship and Impact

By Desh Deshpande,

Book cover of On Entrepreneurship and Impact

Why this book?

I love this book because it nails the essentials of entrepreneurship. The author is a serial entrepreneur, venture investor and philanthropist who has set up and scaled up enterprises in Silicon Valley and India. He presents a set of principles, values and strategies to help entrepreneurs gain a lasting advantage – as opposed to a temporary one. He writes in simple English without resorting to jargon. The fact that he delivers his wisdom in nuggets makes it engaging and useful for the reader. At a time when most of the world merely skims the surface of anything, Desh Deshpande advocates depth — a philosophy I follow, too.

Deep Work

By Cal Newport,

Book cover of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Why this book?

This book advocates a way of life I took to a couple of years ago – and have tried to stick to, ever since. Across the world, we professionals find it a big problem to focus on something and get it done. Distraction — especially the online kind — has become the bane of our life, making it almost impossible to go deep into any one activity or project. This book comes as a welcome departure from the current norm and tells us how we can avoid flitting from one thing to another or being pulled in different directions by different priorities. I am the kind that likes to take up just one or two things at a time and finish them well before moving on to something else. This is the only way I can create something of consequence, something of value. If you too think this way, you’ll find this book damn useful.

Zero to One

By Peter Thiel, Blake Masters,

Book cover of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Why this book?

It is easy to duplicate something that’s already out there in the market, or create something similar to it. It is when we try to do something absolutely new — create something original — that several stiff challenges arise. Noted entrepreneur Peter Thiel’s book throws some light on how we can tackle these and create an enterprise of consequence. He lays out the digital business landscape well and gives us strategies and ideas to set up something new and grow it in the new-age economy. I like how he draws unconventional references (e.g. The Mechanics of Mafia, Follow the Money, Late Mover Advantage) to make his point. And, of course, his no-fluff approach works, too!

Be Your Own Brand

By David McNally, Karl D. Speak,

Book cover of Be Your Own Brand: A Breakthrough Formula for Standing Out from the Crowd

Why this book?

I am a person branding coach. I help people build their person (aka individual) brands. I know that the single most potent asset of every entrepreneur is their person brand. The more distinctive this is, and the more convincingly the person communicates it, the better for them and their business. Your person brand signals who you are, what you do, your core values, and why someone should work with you, instead of with someone else. David McNally and Karl Speak examine this concept threadbare and, in simple language, explain how you can build your brand as an individual.

When to Jump

By Mike Lewis,

Book cover of When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn't the Life You Want

Why this book?

I was thinking of writing a book like this when I saw it in a bookstore! Someone had already written it! It tells us how various people from diverse backgrounds chucked their profession or job (because they didn't like it or didn't find it suited to themselves) to do what they really wanted to do. 

I can relate strongly to this book because this is what I did too, a few years ago. The chapters are written in the first person by the people who jumped. This gives the reader a greater sense of live action. 

Each story has a lesson or two. Read a story, mull over what you learned from it, and then move to the next one. This book should help you set the "caged bird of your heart" free. 

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