Book Review - Superwomen

This is the fifth book in my focus on Indian Business related real stories and case studies; and it ranks right alongside the top 2 in terms of influence on me as a person – perhaps even at the very top. Other books have provided deeper insights, have been greater in their absolute knowledge quotient {if, that is, knowledge can be quantified, which I seriously doubt}; have given deeper and more detailed Marketing and/or business details, that I grant. But in terms of impact on my mind & soul, this book ranks at the very top. My personal congratulations and gratitude to the author for penning this wonder.

Superwomen - By Prachi Garg


THE PLOT
The book is a series of short stories – I don’t want to call them case studies as it would give an incomplete picture of the nature of these stories and this book. These stories are all about women who picked up the challenge and made it in the world of the business of start-ups through sheer dint of effort. Unlike an earlier effort by another author on women, it doesn’t take the route of famous women; it gives stories of unknown ladies, people very much like the ladies we meet neary everyday. That is what makes the content 100% relatable. It tells their stories, of their business ideas and startups, and how they went about bringing them to fruition

THE REVIEW
In 2 words – 5 stars. End of Review. But, acting on the premise that some of you might want to know why I rated it as 5 stars, read on for the explanation. I could go on indefinitely here – so let me try and summarise the main points that hit home in my head, heart and mind. The first point – it represents a cross-section of society & disciplines. You have A Mumbai, A Bangalore as well as A Bhopal represented here. Second – it is 100% Indian – Indian people, doing business in India. Not only that, it also has MBA, plain Graduates, people educated in The Developed World as well as Tier – 1 and 2 towns in India. The selection of stories  represented here deserves a standing ovation.

Second, it has a cross section of disciplines in terms of business, online as well as offline, though the majority are online or have a significant online play. The Businesses represented are an eclectic mix of sectors,  from hard core IT domain to social sector to hard core consumer oriented. That is another point that deserves a round of applause : the adequate representation to social sector entrepreneurs through several real stories contained herein are a standing lesson to many who would want to, and indeed are, desirous of doing something on the social themes.

This point is what impressed me the hardest, the most deeply – the selection of off-the-beat themes, and how business sense can be welded into making a difference to society makes for a moving read for people like me – who are beginning to question the selfishness of Corporate Life, and are hunting for either solace, or the chance to make a difference. This lights hope in people like us, it lights a fire, enables us to keep looking, for surely, surely – life will present the chance to make a difference to society if only you have the will and the genuine desire for it. The fact that it can make economic sense is the best aspect!

Thirdly, it offers a look at the startup environment in its initial stages – much unlike another equally good effort by Anuradha Goyal {The Mouse Charmers – Digital Pioneers of India, reviewed here}, which  looked at the most successful and pioneering brands. That approach had its own lessons; true – but this approach offers a completely different and equally educative look at the business of actually setting up a start-up company; contained in these 20 stories are deep learnings on what makes a successful startup actually start up! It underscores the need for the fundamentals, the basics as taught in marketing and management books – passion, finance, product, market relevance, consumer centricity et cetera.


Fourthly, it looks at and details the struggles women have to go through in this man’s world, of the issues small and big that crop up if you are a woman – just because of your gender, which has absolutely nothing to do with your skills sets and your innate and learned abilities. It looks at the challenges a woman faces on the home and societal front just to do something on her own; but it does all that in a very invigorating and positive light, shorn on value judgements and giving tremendous hope. Not only that, this is perhaps the first book that shows the man of the house supporting and further enabling the lady, at least in some stories. For these reasons – this book scores 5 stars. It is a must read for anyone related to startups… as well as for our entire society, which  needs a decided change in outlook! 

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