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Book review: BOLD, by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

BOLD, by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, is a crash course on entrepreneurship for anyone who wants to be challenged.

BOLD: How to go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World
By Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
PAGES: 336
PRICE: $28
Simon & Schuster

I started reading this book with two disadvantages. One, I have a strong distaste for self-help books and second, I am a poor reader! BOLD helped me challenge both successfully. At a cursory look, BOLD seems like a guide book for technology start-ups. However, as you dive deep into the book, the concepts and ideas apply to entrepreneurship at large.

The book is well segmented into three sections. The first covers technologies that will aid entrepreneurs to be the next billionaires; the second shares psychological tools and attitudes that will help them achieve an ambitious goal; and finally, it gets into concepts such as crowdsourcing and crowdfunding that help convert potential ideas into successful businesses.

The first section starts with a "6Ds" framework, which in many ways explains how tech companies create multi-billion dollar value in a short span of time. The book introduces five technologies with highest potential - 3D Printing, Sensors and Networks, Robotics, Infinite Computing, and Synthetic Biotechnology. While all future success stories may not be limited to these five technologies, the book allows one to identify and isolate both the technologies as well as the right part in their evolution path to yield best investment results.

BOLD
is a good read for anyone who wants to be challenged and while some of the chapters do seem a bit long, a liberal sprinkling of quotes keeps the interest alive.

The second section which deals with the psychological lessons to "go big and create wealth" is the most insightful. It starts by introducing us to the Skunk concept of isolating teams that create big ideas. Most entrepreneurs reminisce about the times when they were still in a garage or a small business centre - the disproportionate success of that stage is explained by a phase of isolation encouraging autonomy and risk taking.

The last section talks about harnessing the power of people with ideas such as crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, building communities and incentive competition.

The book gives fascinating insights into the world of Silicon Valley, the mecca of billion-dollar entrepreneurial stories. Some anecdotes are fascinating and worth a try for every business and not just entrepreneurs. Take Google, for instance, which encourages its people to spend 20 per cent of their time on their own ideas, or what is known as the real 120 per cent time and the fail quick, fail often and fail forward encouragement given to every Silicon Valley start-up. The book encourages setting "bold" goals early on and to generate "super credibility" for such goals. The two combined together prevent businesses from being trapped in mediocrity and sub-optimal scale.

The book takes readers through the journey of some successful billionaires such as Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Larry Page and distils their wisdom. Concepts are linked with real-life successes. But this is the first place where one questions if there is any one recipe for success or is it like riding a bicycle - where each one of us have to learn on our own. Nevertheless, for every entrepreneur, reading the stories of superstars of the billion-dollar club will, perhaps, be no less fascinating than a six-year-old girl watching Cinderella.

BOLD is a good read for anyone who wants to be challenged and while some of the chapters do seem a bit long, a liberal sprinkling of quotes keeps the interest alive. My favourite quote: "Start at the top and then work your way up"!

(The reviewer is founder and CEO of SAMHI Hotels, one of India's fastest-growing multi-branded hotel asset company)

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