Rahul Akerkar has a Masters in Biochemical Engineering from the US but is better known as a celebrity chef and the owner of Mumbal’s fine-dining restaurant, Indigo Manohar Parrikar went to the prestigious IIT, Bombay, but makes headlines as the honourable Chief Minister of Goa Harsha Bhogle is an alum of JIM Ahmedabad but is a world renowned cricket commentator and Rashmi Uday Singh who was once a Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax is widely known today as India’s famous food critic.
These and 14 other fascinating stories feature in this book, My Life, My Rules: Stories of 18 Unconventional Careers. Each story in turn explodes conventional myths about the professional choices of a cross-section of people, proving that switching careers mid-stream is not a bad idea at all.
There is the doctorate in Environmental Toxicology who opted for a life in music, Rahul Ram of the stellar band Indian Ocean, the first of its kind. Then comes an alumnus of lIM Calcutta with a successful corporate life, but was nonetheless convinced that what he wanted to do was write—and write he did—the Shiva Trilogy, a consistent chart-topper by Amish Tripathi. Similarly, Ingrid Srinath, swapped a highly paid and exciting life in advertising to do hands-on—and more rewarding—work with an NGO.
There’s more to come. And the list of people with second thoughts about their jobs or degrees will grow and grow. This book seeks to inspire every working individual—from young professionals to senior level managers—to opt out of the rat-race, chase their dreams and pursue a profession of their choice for inner happiness, success and a long-term career.
Sonia Golani has a BA (Hons) in History from Lady Shri Rant College and a Masters degree from the University of Delhi. An entrepreneur, she manages her firm, Management Consultants Group which specializes in recruitment of professionals (MBAs and CAs) for Banking, Financial Services, Insurance and FMCG sectors.
At school, in Jaipur, she had the distinction of securing a second rank in Rajasthan State in class X Board exams. Later while pursuing ISC from Maharani Gayatri Devi Girl’s School, she topped her school. In college, she was elected as Treasurer, Students’ Union.
Her first book, Corporate Divas was published to much acclaim in October 2011. Passionate about life and its nuances, she plans to write several more books, play golf, help people make better careers for themselves—and hopefully do all of this with equal fervor.
‘The language is crisp. Golani’s prose is almost journalistic reportage punctuated with personal recalls and hard facts, which virtually speak to readers from the pages—The Times of India.
Those wishing to attain success in their own lives should buy the book and get acquainted with these women, usually seen and talked about on TV channels and in top business magazines, seeming normal as the girl next door, but with that little extra foresight and fortitude, aid that willingness to strive for what they have believe in or envision for the larger benefit of the organizations they work with or head. ’Afternoon Despatch & Courier
‘The book is an instant resource. Ambitious Indian women—either rookies or in their mid—careers can always learn a few tricks from it on their paths to the top—The Times of India
‘Their achievements in the corporate sector have only gone on to prove how these determined women have balanced the home and the boardroom with equal aplomb, setting standards for all to follow. A new book ‘Corporate Divas’ by Sonia Golani offers inspiring insights into what motivates and sustains India’s 18 leading corporate women. Through a series of in—depth conversations, this book deals with the unconventional styles and the secret mantras they use to achieve phenomenal success in their professions:
The Financial Express and The Indian Express ‘They feature on the Forbes “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ list”. They are dynamic and determined decision makers. They sit pretty at the top of banks,, business houses and corporations. And most important, their rise to fame has inspired many to follow suit... Meet some of the most powerful Indian women in this compilation.’—The Hindu.
Here’s to the billion dollar ladies Corporate Divas, takes an insightful look at 18 women who have changed India’s business landscape.’—Hello!.
I am delighted to present my second book, My Life, My Rules: Stories of 18 Unconventional Careers, Let me make a disclaimer right at the beginning. It is not a book that tells you how to take up offbeat careers or become successful entrepreneurs. Nor will it provide you with mantras for “instant gratification” or of any such nature. This book is essentially a celebration of work and life.
Work fills up a large part of our lives. To he happy, it is imperative that we like what we do. Most of us are guided into a career by our parents, families and surrounding environment largely on the basis of time—tested conventional careers. Some step out of the charted path along the way and choose what they want to do and there are some whom the work chooses, what is usually termed as destiny by people. This book is focused on those who listened closely to the bidding of their heart and set sail on that path, freeing themselves from the shackles of clichéd social parameters of success, etc.; choosing inner peace and happiness over what others expected of them. This book is a celebration of that independent minded attitude. As it were, for all the people featured in this book, the maxim “fortune favours the brave” has proven to be true.
Interestingly, most of those featured in this book have impeccable educational and professional qualifications from reputed institutes in conventional areas like engineering, medicine, management, arts, architecture, etc. hut chose to pursue professions very different from what they had trained for. Also, all of them were the first ones in their families to venture out on their respective paths. Today, they have carved out a niche for themselves and are currently leaders in their chosen fields which are not considered conventional careers in our society.
Through their stories, it is only endeavour to challenge the idea of choosing conventional careers as a measure of success and happiness in our society. Without internal happiness, success does not mean much. Happiness eventually is more than a career, money and fame and is different for different people. What works for an individual can only be ratified by him or her and after thorough soul searching.
I believe that stories of people within our milieu have a wonderful way of exerting huge influence in shaping the thoughts and values within our society and communities. It is my attempt to broaden the way our society thinks by presenting diverse perspectives through these success stories. Such stories, I reckon, liberate the mind and free the human spirit, the state in which we can best enjoy this beautiful gift of life. They give us insights into human minds and hearts, learnings about life so profound that no school can impart.
My books (the first being Corporate Divas) focus on such socially relevant information weaved into the lives of people with a particular emphasis on the environment in which they he grown, their thoughts, attitudes and decision making process. That context alone, 1 feel, brings forth the complete perspective and success story of any individual. At another level, the book is more than people’s stories for me. It is a medium for me to capture the ethos of our generation which hopefully will be relevant for current times as well as for future.
I cannot conclude the note without giving due credit to the fabulous person with whom the idea for this book originated. It is my husband Dilip who came up with this concept and had the conviction that a book on this theme was timely. Besides being the originator, he has, with his invaluable inputs and immense proficiency in time management, driven the whole project towards completion on time by getting inc to have the meetings lined-up in advance to avoid any lull and helping me to move steadily towards the goal. My son Varun contributed significantly by keeping my enthusiasm high throughout by way of providing encouraging feedback and youthful perspective on each story His personal favourite stories happen to be Rahul Akerkar (partly influenced by “Master chef Australia” which is one of his favourite shows!) and R Madhavan’s.
While selecting people to feature in the book, I have tried to be as diverse as possible. So, the book has participants with varied qualifications and experience in different walks of life. Through both my books the more I got to know the minds and emotions of people from our milieu, the more snug I felt in my environment. The overwhelmingly impersonal character of city life started to seem less cold to me and this factor is personally, besides the pure joy of working on a creative engagement, the most fascinating aspect of writing for me. Every wonderful note I get from my readers, who find my books informative, inspiring and or entertaining, my joy multiplies and my satisfaction deepens with the realization that my work has been able to make some meaningful contribution.
Each of the participants in the book opened to me a new world of thoughts, information and insights about life and living, making the last one year of working on the book one of the most amazing years of my life, Thank you, Rahul (Akerkar and Ram), Rashmi, Rajeev, Aditi, Madhavan, Ashish, Praveen, Nalin, Harsha, Latika, Kris, Amish, Ingrid, Minal, Nikhil and Mr. Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar for being a partner in this vision and for your wholehearted co-operation without which this book could not have been possible.
I hope the readers have as delightful an experience reading my life my rules: Stories of 18 unconventional careers I had writing it drawing their own insights as they read through these stories of enterprise passion and providence.
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