24 Mar 2012

Book Review - Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul At Work

“There is no traffic on the last mile.” – Prashant Jaiswal.

This is one line that sums up what ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul at Work’ is all about. Stories of people (Indians) who have made it through tough times at work; who have been in circumstances when all seem lost but came out on top; who have not known what giving up is however hopeless the situation. These people made work their lives rather than harping on the work life balance.

The book has been jointly authored by Juhi Rai Farmania (who has also narrated some stories of her own), Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Juhi Rai Farmania is a networker building an e – commerce platform in India and UK. She is fond of e – commerce sites, something she confesses in one of her stories. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are #1 New York Times bestselling co – authors, professional speakers who have dedicated their lives to enhancing others personally and professionally. The stories and narrations in this book are aimed at doing just that.
Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul At Work

The book is divided into 13 sections which are:
·        From the CEO’s desk
·        Turning obstacles into opportunities
·        Changing Roles and Industries
·        Leading & Mentoring
·        Balancing personal and professional lives
·        Self – made and successful
·        On lessons learned
·        Humour and fun at work
·        Extraordinary entrepreneurs
·        Persistence and courage
·        Listening to the head and the heart
·        Business – The Hindustani way
·        A message for those starting out.

The end of the book also includes more about Chicken Soup and the contributors. Some of the authors are renowned corporate entities like Dr. Kiran Majumdar Shaw (Chairperson and MD of Biocon), Chitrangada Singh, Beerud Sheth (co – founder of SMS GupShup), the HR Head of Phillips India and others. The stories are heart rending and show us how much trouble some people have gone through to reach their existent position in society and life. The HR Head of Phillips narrates how he went to office one night to sort a union issue whilst his wife was on her deathbed. Mita Banerjee writes how Manjriben’s life fell apart when her husband’s shop was destroyed but she turned her fortunes around. The Leadership & Mentoring section has lovely stories on understanding bosses, whether their juniors were stuck in a traffic jam when it was time for an important presentation, or when the latter got emotionally carried away during a project. Extraordinary Entrepreneurs relates short stories of people who found an opportunity to plug some gap. As Richard Branson rightly says “Entrepreneurship is like a bus ride. There’s always another one coming.” The most touching story is about a Dad whose sun truly believes his dad knows everything, but is really busy. So when the son is asked what his Dad’s profession is, he writes ‘busyness’. When his dad reads the article, he understands he’s been neglecting his son.

On the flipside, the book could have done with better writing. There are many words which could be avoided, sentences which could be shortened and stories which could be reduced in length. That’s one of the 2 problems with us Indian writers; we use too many unnecessary words in our articles, write ups, etc. The other one is the excessive use of ‘I’. Too many stories are ‘I’ centric, something that successful people would desist from. Plus, some stories could be avoided as they don’t pack a big punch; not sure if they’re good enough to feature in a book on work life.

Overall, however, the book is a good read. A pleasant pastime and one that makes us understand how difficult life actually is for some people. But those people have come up trumps against all odds. This book makes a good read for those who have a job, run a business or a looking to start either. Thanks, Blogadda, for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at  Blogadda.com. Participate now to get free books!


  1. The son writing father's occupation as "busyness" is a touching story. Very balanced review as you have pointed out the shortcomings as well.

    1. Thabk you sir... Nice to hear you liked it...

  2. nice review Vishal.
    Agree with you regarding the unnecessary words in Indian writings. People forget that one word can create more impact then 10 worthless lines.

    1. Thanks, Abhinav :)

      Glad to hear you concur, which means (& it's evident from your posts) that you avoid committing the same mistake.

  3. I am very pleased to read this review. Thankfully, you have mentioned the short comings of the book which no one else seems to do. One reason I don't write reviews is I can't lie. I hated 'Holy Cow' and I can say that in person to the author.

    Kudos for writing an honest review...:)

    1. The essence of a review is in its honesty.

      Glad to see someone as accomplished as you also believing in the same thing; it means I'm probably on the right track. :)

  4. Awesome Review... Thorough and totally speaks volumes for the book! Kudos to you !

  5. Just how did I miss this book! (Even I am trying to be 'I'centric)

    Great review Vishal! You have clearly articulated the great and the not-so-great aspect of the book! Sign of a professional reviewer, I believe! :)

  6. hmmm..i signed up for the review on blogadda for this one...if i do get it..we can compare notes ...!!


  7. me first time here!

    liked your blog and the posts. subscribing you !


    btw, nice review about the book !

  8. Hi,

    I liked your blog. I thought that we could do a few cross blog things.

    Would you be interested in reviewing my new book "Love, Peace and Happiness:What more can you want?"

    I could do an author interview on yours. I could also post your review on my fanpage referenced below which has more than 10,000 fans giving you a whole new set of visitors.

    Let me know if this makes sense for your blog.

    Rituraj Verma, author

  9. Hey, beautiful blog, thanks - lets be in touch, can you mail me at juhi.rai@gmail.com with your fb ID?


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