I was listening to Ronnie Screwvala talk about his debut book, Dream With Your Eyes Open, on the radio and was very impressed and wanted to read it. And when I hear the name Ronnie Screwvala, what comes to my mind is the TV screen with black and white UTV written in capitals and its three coloured line being dragged by three fingers.
As luck would have it, I received a mail from Rupa Publications asking me whether I wanted to review the book, and I agreed. I would like to thank Richa Pathania of Rupa Publications for sending me the book.
In the introduction, he mentions that this book is for everyone: for someone who has ever had an impactful, disruptive product or business idea, been curious about owning your own business, or have already taken the first steps on his entrepreneurial journey; for someone who has been running his own company for the last seven-odd years, and scale, brand and value-creation are some of the crossroads for him; for someone who thinks that his parents or family would freak out if he dared to suggest ditching his professional job to pursue his dreams of owning his own business. He also mentions that this book is also for an experienced professional ready to take the plunge into starting his own business or committed to growing into an effective leader in the company he works for.
Ronnie Screwvala starts the book by mentioning that he is sharing his career arc in headline form and also that the stories have not been presented in a chronological order. The stories mentioned as illustrations of his entrepreneurial journey are very interesting.
He starts the book with his low middle class childhood when he used to stay with is joint family in a three room apartment in Mumbai and how he along with other children would host programmes for the people in the complex and even sell them tickets which they would buy because their children were participating. He mentions that his first earning at ten years of age started it all. He also mentions how he sold tickets for seats on his balcony to people who wanted to see the filmstars at movie premieres at Novelty Cinema which was next to their apartment complex. And then how he organized a rock concert at eighteen with his friends and went bankrupt. He also talks about the risks taken, his setbacks and failures.
I was impressed at the young boy who ventures into the business world, with two toothbrush machines waiting to be picked up from London, with no company of his own asking for orders from toothbrush companies ready to outsource orders. He also mentions that he never felt shy to ask questions along the way and was prepared for all kinds of answers that he got, learning in the process. He describes his journey from toothbrushes to owning a pro-kabaddi team and the failures that went along with it. He talks about his belief in Plan A and not Plan B and his mantra of Focus, Choices and Empathy.
The last line of the books sums it all, “Just dream your own dream- and when you do it, dream with your eyes open”.
The book has been written in a story form making it easy to visualize the scenes. Each chapter ends with bullet points summarizing it. What I loved about the book was the questions and answers at the end as an annexure.
A must read for everyone whether you want to be an entrepreneur or not.
Book Source: Rupa Publications
Publisher: Rupa Publications