Irrationally Passionate – Book Review
Book: Irrationally Passionate
Author: Jason Kothari
Reviewed By: Deep Jagdeep Singh
Publisher: HarperBusiness (11 March 2020)
Pages: 269 (Kindle ebook)
Price: 99 INR
ISBN-13: 978- 9353572655
My rating: 3/5
Let’s start from the end. In the epilogue of his book ‘Irrationally Passionate: My Turnaround from Rebel to Entrepreneur’ author Jason Kothari notes:
“Entrepreneurship won’t make you better than other people, but it can make you a better version of yourself.” (p 242)
Let’s see through this book review how and to what extent entrepreneurship put into this book helps you to make a better version of you. A note about the book highlights, “Jason’s inspiring journey across countries, industries and companies has something for everyone, right from students to entrepreneurs to corporate CEOs to even parents of students and entrepreneurs.” I will be trying to contextualize how the book caters to these segments of readers.
I have divided the book into three segments based on the different narrative style used in the book.
The first segment of the book is written in biographic memoirs in loose chronological order spread through chapter one to six, the Second segment follows a style of a research thesis based on the case study methodology encapsulating chapter seven to chapter ten, third and final segment have chapter eleven in somewhat a fusion of the blog posts written in list articles and how-to guides style.
In the first segment, the author chooses a narrative style like Steeve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg telling his adventurous rags to riches life story. This comes out to be an interesting roller coaster nail-biting ride keeping the reader engaged and constantly looking for what happens next. This segment has the ability to capture the attention of students and youngsters in the very beginning and is very relatable to its target audience. As a passionate and young boy of Indian, origin grown up in Hong Kong, the author takes the young readers to the real-life journey of his childhood adventures and passionate high stake experiments as a youngest college-going entrepreneur. From the first bargain on a street in Agra for chessboard to jumping into the auctioning for one of the biggest (bankrupt) corporate houses of United States, layer by layer, he unveils the anecdotes about his strides to be one of the youngest entrepreneurs of his times. Nonchalantly revealing the dark side of his personality he goes a step ahead to underline his fears and blunders of life. From there he sets a tone to project himself as a most sought after hotshot turnaround man of the corporate realm. If I am allowed to derive a metaphor from his passion for superhero comics universe I find ‘I am the Iron Man of Corporate Universe’ written in glittering neon all over ‘Passionately Irrational’. Just for the sake of MCU fans allow me for a minor digression, “We miss you, Iron Man.” Now back to the book, This part of his memoir cum biographic non-fiction narrative gives a gripping read to young and budding entrepreneurs. It gives enough fuel to the younger lot to get inspired and think big. It reminds me of the Hindi film Guru based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani. Further, this segment takes the reader on a voyage to the philosophical interpretations of mistakes, limits, the importance of abundance or lack of money, the relationship between business and life, love and relationship. This gives enough food for thought to address their inner and social conflicts contemporary enthusiastic young minds. Definitely, this segment can change the perspective of the parents and inspire them to help their growing up kids in their initial inexperienced entrepreneurial adventures.
The second segment of the book is more synthetic in terms of narrative liquidity. It is more like case studies deconstructing the discourse of corporate work culture and mindsets from top management to corporate CEOs, human resource management and down the line till ground work force. It goes on elaborating the processes of decision making, crisis management, creating a sustainable, profitable, and valuable business model, internal and external communication during the crises and winning the investment deals through real-life on the job personal experience of the author.
It vividly explains about ‘Mr. Corporate Iron Man’s’ magical style of anchoring the sinking big corporate ships tagged with the big brand names like Housing.com, Snapdeal and Freecharge. No doubt his magical style evolves through his first-hand experiences of working with the global who’s who of the corporate world. These chapters might hold the interest of some mid-career corporate executives and definitely will help them to be a better version of themselves, but youngsters and students would find it bit heavy, lazy and uninteresting due to its lethargic narrative style. True that reality is never so interesting but too much bitter. Though the Turnaround Man mentions that he has kept the vocabulary simple and comprehensible for laymen, but in this segment, he could hardly and inevitably turn around the subject’s demand of jargon, even on his calculated and well-researched plans. Neither I am turning around on using corporate terminology in this review.
In the third segment in chapter eleven, he lists down the ‘SEVEN golden pillars’ and ‘FOUR mental concepts’ to be a successful entrepreneur in ‘Wikihow’ kind of step by step guide manner. These are very brief and uninspiring and seem like hurriedly appended at the eleventh hour just to turn the book into a self-help guide on ‘A Turnaround Man who ‘sold’ his sinking businesses after turning them around.’
As a common reader, if I will draw a graph depicting the ‘entrepreneurial energy invested in the writing’ in correlation to ‘each segment’, the curve will look almost similar to the curve of Covid-19 positive cases in India in reverse. As a reader
I feel that the investment of energy curve translates into reading interest curve for a reader. To put in simple words initial chapters are written with full energy while as the book progresses to segment two and three; invested energy starts diminishing. This clearly manifests in the style of writing, length of content and formatting. In the acquisitiveness of targeting too many audiences by using three different templates, the author has turned a most promising work into three different genre booklets; i.e. Memoir, Case Study Essays and How to Guide; bound in one cover. If he would have stick to the memoir template and have used the back and forth technique to interject the professional story with the personal story at well-thought intersections of the entire narrative, it must have turned out to be the most interesting book written in this genre. Unfortunately, he fed the entire relishing stuff to the first six chapters and left the rest of the book to stale case studies. Ironically, the author specifically and philosophically emphasis on the idea of ‘Life and Business Aren’t Linear’ (Title of chapter six), but after thrusting his entire personal story into the first segment he practically departures from his very idea of juxtaposed personal and professional life in remaining two parts. Editors must be considered the partner in this crime.
I am still pondering why the parents of students and entrepreneurs would be inclined to read these segments. But the bigger question is, who thought out the idea to target parents even after knowing that the two-third portion of the book is about data-mining and corporate research.
Final Verdict: If you are young undergraduate and dreaming to be an entrepreneur or to start a startup to help people in this pandemic charged atmosphere then this book is for you with conditions applied. And if you can cope up with the shifting narrative style to gain invaluable firsthand knowledge from ‘Mr. Corporate Iron Man’s’ (with due regard to English grammarians and of course horses) mouth then this book is definitely for you. I have given my cover to cover shot to this book because of my philosophy to juice out what you need and dump out what you don’t care about.
How Irrationally Passionate can make you a better version of yourself?
1. If you read only thoroughly interesting books and ignore real stuff based on facts, you will learn to read real books.
2. The inspiring journey of Jason Kothari will help you to cope up with your fears and guide you through the tough times
3. His advice on entrepreneurship when used carefully with your own experiences, skills and experiments can help you to achieve success in your entrepreneurship journey?
4. if you are a mid-career corporate executive and want to learn how top guns make decisions and how numbers work this is good help-guide.
5. if you are CEOs or in the process of becoming one this book can give you insights to cope up with tough situations.
Caution: If you believe that you have reached beyond the point of learning and experience you can ignore this book.
If you have read this Irrationally Passionate, let me know about how fair I have been with this book?
If you have not read it yet, would you like to read after reading my review?