Dear Reader, While aboard the HMS Beagle, young Charles Darwin wrote, 'The race is for the strong. I shall probably do little more but be content to admire the strides others made in Science.' Years later he noted, 'I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.' If as a youth Darwin feared the possibility of his own insignificance and then went on to become one of the most influential thinkers of modem times, there is reason for optimism that our age will also produce great thinkers and doers.
It is this transition from self-doubt to optimism that inspires The Captainship. The Captainship is a collection of first-person narratives of nine first-generation Indian entrepreneurs, among India's most respected for their value-based approach to organization building. The purpose of this collection is to share the journeys of the entrepreneurs as ordinary youths, with all the normal joys and insecurities of childhood and adolescence. The title The Captainship is inspired by the famous line from William Ernest Henley's poem 'Invictus': 'I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.'
Each interview began with a question about the entrepreneur's first memory. One man's first memory is of falling into a septic tank in a village in the days when he and his family lived in a house without an indoor 100. His family would run out of money around the twentieth of each month. Another speaks of violence and dowries. Accompanying these early memories of want are also many happy memories. One man and his friends used to race on their bikes to ogle girls in the local bazaar. Another remembers the glory days of Batman and Amar Chitra Kathas. We've got a skating champ, a horse-riding champ, a cricket champ, and even a carrom champ in our midst.
And over the years, these kids from middle-class homes became the founders of India's new economy. These are stories of victory in their own words.
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