08 April 2013

Book Review - My Life, My Rules: Stories of 18 Unconventional Careers

Photo Courtesy : Google
Author : Sonia Golani
Publisher : Westland
Publication Year : 2013
Pages : 240
Source : Personal Copy
Rating : 3/5

Rahul Akerkar has a Masters in Biochemical Engineering from the US but is better known as a celebrity chef and owner of Mumbai’s fine dining restaurant, Indigo. Manohar Parikkar went to the prestigious IIT, Bombay but makes headlines as the honorable Chief Minister of Goa. Harsha Bhogle is alum of IIM Ahmedabad but is a world renowned cricket commentator and Rashmi Uday Singh was once the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax but is widely known today as Indias famous food critic.

These and 14 other fascinating stories feature in this book, My Life, My Rules: Stories of 18 Unconventional Careers, exploding every conventional myth about professional choices of a cross section of people. From a Doctorate in Environmental Toxicology who chose to be a musician: Rahul Ram of the Indian Ocean; an alumnus of IIM Calcutta with a successful corporate life who was inspired to write and became one of India’s bestselling authors with the Shiva Trilogy: Amish Tripathi; to a woman who gave up a highly paid and exciting life in advertising to work with an NGO: Ingrid Srinath. This book seeks to inspire every working individual from young professionals to senior level managers to opt out of the rat race, chase their dreams and pursue a profession of their choice for inner happiness, success and a long term career.

This book is Sonia Golani’s second attempt after “Corporate Divas” and has done a reasonable job with the theme. All 18 accounts in the book are brought up in a narrative fashion to the reader. Written in a simple manner, the author’s narration can be comprehended with much ease even by a novice.

Each story begins with a short description of - the author and the subject meeting at a place that apparently turns out to be one of The Taj Hotels each time, making the attempt of promotion (though accidental, if it is, in the very first place) starkly evident and a little awkward. Following this brief starter, author begins with unfolding the early childhood of the individual, family backdrop, formal education and moves on to describing the professional life, unhappy realizations and quit-the-glory-and-chase-the-dream routine.

Although, subject of this book demands the above mentioned clich├ęd arrangement of depiction, author could have portrayed her attempts in a better, alternative way. At first, the book did well to grab some interest; however, after a couple of stories, the pattern became much repetitive and I completely lost it. It took a little struggle for me to reach the end of the book; partial reason being the essay style of narration that grows dull eventually. As a reader, I would have enjoyed to read the journey as a dialog between the author and the person along with some photographic illustration to hold my attention.

The book does offer some fresh insight into the lives of people who one is already so familiar with. I, personally, was fascinated by the stories of Harsha Bhogle and Rahul Ram. Also the conciseness of the accounts is a relief with so many of them to read. Though similar, the stories of their journey do inspire to an extent that you would want to look back over your own life and dwell on those dreams that have taken a back-seat.

Overall, the book seems to be out of a similar factory as that of “Connect the Dots” or “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish”. A lot of justice could have been done with the theme. With not much novelty to offer, “My Life, My Rules” is an average read for someone who is seeking inspiration to chase one’s dreams.