12 February 2019
Alok Kejriwal’s inspiring, insightful page-turner is a must-read
Why I Stopped Wearing My Socks by Alok Kejriwal is a rewarding book that entertains as much as it inspires.
So let me get this out of the way first: Why I Stopped Wearing My Socks by Alok Kejriwal is an excellent book. So good, that it belongs amongst the better self-help books out there – as a guide for the average or audacious entrepreneur, a manual for the new-to-startups person, and also as a page-turner of an entertaining book. If you haven’t read it, buy it.
Why I Stopped Wearing My Socks by Alok Kejriwal is also a collection of intriguing, exciting reminiscences of the milestones of Alok’s professional career – from age 16 or so up – and very conversationally, simply, pithily told; hence, an entertainer too. So what is this? A self-help manual, or a gripping story of a young man’s career? It is both, and more.
Why I Stopped Wearing My Socks is the coming of professional age – and great success and the lessons therefrom — of a young Marwari ‘çhhora’. Blessed to be born in a well-to-do, educated and forward-looking family, young Alok is encouraged to try out different things as he goes about ‘checking things out’, trying to create value for himself by creating value for others.
Navigating the rough and the smooth as he attempts to familiarise himself with the intricacies of businesses and of making money from each experience, Alok keeps moving forward with invaluable learnings. Till he decides, fairly early in his career, that he will not ‘wear’ the socks of his family hosiery business, and takes the visionary decision of setting his sights on a completely different career path to become India’s first true visionary entrepreneur in the internet.
And so, passionately convinced and extremely well informed, Alok embarks with single-minded focus upon creating, growing and building contests2win.com and Mobile2win.com that, in a remarkable endorsement of his vision, sweat, strategy and blood, he finally sells to none other than The Walt Disney Company.
Why this is a great read is the interesting story line of each brief chapter, the learnings of a respected, experienced leader of stature who disarmingly speaks with and doesn’t talk to his reader. The conversational, simple and smooth writing seal – if you will pardon the cliché – the deal. No wonder it is the #1 book on entrepreneurship on Amazon
I see that Why I Stopped Wearing My Socks appeared on Amazon in September 2018, and since then, has been amongst the Editor’s Picks, garnering much praise from reviewers. Of around 278 buyer reviews till about a week or less back, 90% have given it five stars, and 9% have given it four stars.
The book defies you to put it down, or to not highlight and mark out the scores of nuggets of insightful, actionable wisdom on its pages. Little gems that are worthy of becoming mottos for anyone who wants to be not just a good professional, but also a good human being. But don’t get me wrong – even though it is full of invaluable advice, nowhere does this book become preachy or didactic; instead, it works under the radar and keeps you engaged, entertained and inspired.
One of the numerous learnings Alok shares in this book is the importance of great storytelling, and Alok’s smooth, Orwellianly simple writing with short sentences and short words, has you hooked and happily hurtling along a roller-coaster story.
So to my mind, this is definitely the best self-help book by an Indian or any author in the last year – an arresting and inspiring story of beating the odds and keeping up the passion with unwavering motivation and smarts. Equally, this book is an entertaining page turner. And also a book that’s a how-to of good written communication, of simple and effective storytelling, and of creating content that is engaging and meaningful.
Together, all these ‘books’ in Why I Stopped Wearing My Socks will inspire you no end.
Why this is a great read is the interesting storyline of each brief chapter, the learnings of a respected, experienced leader of stature who disarmingly speaks with and doesn’t talk to his reader. The conversational, simple and smooth writing seal – if you will pardon the cliché — the deal. No wonder it is the #1 book on entrepreneurship on Amazon.
Each chapter ends with some important learnings Alok gleans from its events.
Some 'learnings' that make this book a great read:
‘If you get used to cheating and manipulating people and businesses for quick, selfish gains, it quickly becomes your nature… I have realized that by pursuing pure, unadulterated businesses, an entrepreneur can get the best out of himself and his team and the goal of the enterprise then becomes the search for excellence, not the management of lies.’
I firmly believe that entrepreneurs and professionals must meet at least one new person daily in their lives. It does not matter what the agenda is or how the discussion pans out.
A young colleague taught me what I refer to as the ‘creativity of naivety’. The concept is simple: when your mind is pure and not clouded by any preconceived notions, you have amazing clarity, and breakthrough ideas emerge.
I have learned that for a successful sales person, sacrificing profit margins, underselling, competing blindly (often to prevent someone else from getting an order) should never be an option. You must boldly say ‘not interested’ and move on. Trust me, if your product or service is valuable and will value to your customer, they will call you back.
As a seller, I have learnt that come what may, I will never lose or compromise my self-respect for anything , leave along a business deal. Losing dignity means stooping below the threshold of purpose, intent, and effort.
The lessons from each entertaining story written with remarkable simplicity and directness make this one of five books from 2018 that you absolutely must read.