Mastery By Robert Greene : Reading Experience


“The problem with all students, he said, is that they inevitably stop somewhere. They hear an idea and they hold on to it until it becomes dead; they want to flatter themselves that they know the truth. But true Zen never stops, never congeals into such truths. That is why everyone must constantly be pushed to the abyss, starting over and feeling their utter worthlessness as a student. Without suffering and doubts, the mind will come to rest on clichés and stay there, until the spirit dies as well. Not even enlightenment is enough. You must continually start over and challenge yourself.”

Mastery is a book that takes a deep dive into the so-called “superpowers” of masters in various fields and connects it directly to the pillars of mastery like grit, dedication, patience, creativity and intuition.

It contains life studies of legends like Vinci, Darwin, Faraday etc to contemporary legends like Carlo Rodriguez, Santiago Calatrava, Paul Graham etc. And time, again and again, it stands upon elusive pillars like grit, creativity, patience, etc which drives one towards mastery, not just god gifted super powers.

The book condemns that people are not willing to do what it really takes to become masters in their fields and label it as something that can be only achieved by born geniuses.

It starts with covering the importance of the apprenticeship phase. The phase that constitutes the beginning of everyone’s career, even of true masters like Faraday, who did the apprenticeship  at a scientist’s lab for 7 years before going on his own to make history.

During the apprenticeship,  one should focus immensely on learning the vocabulary of the field in depth with patience. Then experiment with his/her own tastes.

Next, comes the creative active phase, where after learning the tools of the trade and becoming proficient in important skills, masters experiment. They mix and match things, blend various fields and concepts and bubble up ideas.

The book presents various strategies for the creative active phase like:

  1. The Authentic voice: Learn the vocabulary of the field first.
  2.  The Fact of Great Yield: Look for anomalies with profound ramifications.
  3. Mechanical Intelligence: Key to building anything right is repetition.
  4. Natural Powers: Enjoy the laborious process.
  5. The Open Field : Create space for yourself in crowded space.
  6. The Evolutionary Hijack: Creativity and adaptability are inseparable.
  7. The Dimensional Thinking: Feel the breathing element in your field.

My favorite quote from this segment of the book was:

Languages evolve in haphazard manner, influenced by the influx of new groups into a society and stages by passage of time. They are not mathematical formulas but living, evolving organism.

Next, the author puts the spotlight on the vitality of “the ultimate reality“. Life is interconnected and it all started with a single cell two billion years ago.

Mastering a field can not be done in isolation with other things. Any field that we are working on, it has been shaped by events, minds that have worked on it and time. It is simply not right to build artificial walls around subjects and study them in isolation.

Strategies suggested in the book to get the rational intuitive feel:

  1.  Connect to Your Environment: Become a consummate observer.
  2. Play to Your Strengths: Have a supreme focus on your strengths.
  3. Transform Yourself Through Practice: Get the fingertip feel.
  4. Internalize the Details: Have the patience to give attention to even the most minute details
  5. Widen Your Vision: Get the global perspective.
  6. Submit to the Other: Loose the sense of superiority when learning from someone.
  7. Synthesize all forms of knowledge

My favorite quote from this part was:

Things push and pull into each other and breathe together, and are one.

To conclude, Mastery is a great book to help people shape their mind in a way that knows what to expect and what it takes to travel on the path of mastery. And that mastery is not a destination but a lifelong journey. One should maintain a beginners mind as they grow old like zen masters.

When you read a great book at the right time, it can only go in the category of Supremely Fucking Awesome.






Marketing Your Retail Store in the Internet Age by Bob Negen : Reading Experience

This was the book that I knew prior to reading it that it won’t be too interesting and might even feel too slow. I searched it on the internet and picked it to read to get a perspective of a retail seller. As me and my team are trying to start a company that will work very closely with retail stores and their owners I thought this book will provide some value.

What I liked about this book how it delivers simple and effective tactics that a store owner can use to create customer loyalty, make lasting seller-customer relationships and compete against online retail giants.

It compares getting customers to getting a girlfriend. They are demanding and they want to feel special or else they’ll move on.

It brings focus on few very effective retail techniques like bag stuffers and doughnut marketing. It also covers basics of copywriting and its importance.

What I didn’t like about the book was that it was too slow and dumb at times. As a young person who is aware of technology world you’ll feel few things too stupid to be covered in that detail in the book. May be that’s a better fit for old shop owners.

Overall it was a good read. Not as per my expectations but still can give you an image of a mind of a retailer.

I’ll definitely use the concepts of this book in my company as me and my team too believe that the best shopping experience for a customer can be provided at a local retail store. All they need  is a power up and better tools now.

My next book is “How to win friends and influence people”. Will share my experience about that too when’ll be done.



Business in Boxers : 1 Month Into Running a StartUp

Why the Series? 

(Inspired by book : Business In Blue Jeans)

Hi! This is Priyank. This series is about me pen downing my start-up ride. Don’t know if it’s fast or slow, all I really know is I’m gonna enjoy the ride.

Why the name?

Boxers is what you’ll find me almost every time in and business is what’s always in my mind and thus the name “Business In Boxers”.

The Beginning

Last month on 15th Feb, me and my friend sat down seriously deciding on which business to start. The interesting thing was I did this with 3 friends. 3 awesome business ideas that are practical and scalable. Next, we 4 formed a team. A team with a vision to launch multiple businesses in a very short period of time.

Our first startup what we call as Pebbles Media deals with creating engaging applications for local business owners that can help them discover new customers in their locality. Cool idea that we all thought will get us many clients.

We approached 5 clients in different domains from food business to education to mechanical work. Two of them showed interest and we started working on their products.

15 days later one of our clients refused to pay the advance thus we dropped him. Other client wanted a custom product built for them at a very unreasonable price, again dropped him.

The Pivot

Witnessing all this, we all after 1 hour long discussion decided that it is the time for an early pivot. We never wanted to enter service based B2B sector.

The pivot that will need us to make products that will be used by multiple small businesses and their customers making us a product based company.

A pivot at this early stage raised doubts in our minds but I guess it was the red flag that we all managed to see and decided to pivot and not to run for quick money.

In Love With Business Books

lately I have been reading a lets of business books. Getting ideas and knowing how various aspects of a startup works. My favorite is The Lean Startup. A must read for everyone.

The Speed Breakers

No surprise here, first month has been filled with speed breakers. I was not expecting any smooth ride either. This month we have seen from clients saying no to all saying yes at the same time. Client giving us advance and then we turning him down because we wanted to pivot.

Wrap Up!

This month we dealt with real clients. Realized that we don’t want to go into service based sector.

For next month we are planning to get our MVP out in the market and test our leap of faiths. Too much action for next month. Let’s see what’s in the store next.

See you next time.


PS : It is fun to write blog when you are pretty certain that no one will read it 😀









Losing My Virginity By Richard Branson – Reading Experience

Oh, screw it, let’s do it.

That’s the philosophy of Richard Branson that has allowed him to start ventures in markets that no one dared to enter and even considered ludicrous to try.

Losing my virginity is the most unusual biography you will ever get to read. It looks like you are reading a biography of not a global entrepreneur but an adventurist.

This is the story of how Richard Branson started his entrepreneur journey by starting the Student magazine and strolled his way to opening more than 400 companies under the Virgin brand.

The book starts with him in a hot air balloon and soon dives into his early life and childhood days. How his sporting career came to an end, which planted the seeds of an entrepreneur in him.

Soon you will find him writing about opening Virgin Music and not very late Virgin Megastores. His fight with British Airways for Virgin Atlantic and how his airline prevails and continues to thrive.

Richard Branson shows a so much fun way living his life. You can find him crash landing his balloon in desert to buying islands to signing The Rolling Stones for his record label.

Later on his life he started businesses which looked altruistic to some, but for him was a great sustainable business model. For example Virgin Fuels and Virgin Unite.

Losing My Virginity is the ultimate tale of personal and business survival from a man who combines the business prowess of Bill Gates and the promotional instincts of P. T. Barnum.

This year I have challenged myself to read 15 books. This is my first of 2016. Next book I have picked is Contagious : How Things Catch on. Will blog about it too when done.


Outliers: The Story of Success : Reading Review

Outliers book cover


My 6th book of the year was a handpicked one “Outliers: The Story of Success”. This book was actually recommended to me by my cousin as a “must read”. And actually I was amazed how great this book is. It takes your intellectual thinking to a roller coaster ride.

As the book description says :

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

All the time we keep hearing success stories. We tend to see these successful guys as “lucky ones” or “smart one” or sometimes even as “self-made millionaire”.

This book will change your perception for success. It unlocks various not so obvious, highly backed with facts factors that actually make success happen.

When you were born to what you eat to what your ancestors used to do? It is pretty amazing how all of these can affect how successful you can become.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. A very good read.

Also as the 7th book of the year I have started reading “How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company”. It is also a fun book to read but not a serious reading.

Will post review when done.

Rafa : Reading Experience

Here it is. 4th book of the year Rafa by Rafael Nadal and John Carlin.

Being arguably the biggest Rafa fan on this planet this book was in my reading bucket list from a long time. Finally got the opportunity to read this.

This is great in both sense, it gives you a more closer look into the life of your idol and at the same time shows you what does it take to be a champion? What does it take to be the best in the world at your sport? Rafael Nadal has the answers.

Book being the auto-biography tells how a small kid from Spain transformed himself into one of the world’s greatest.

Reading this book you feel like you are inside Nadal’s mind. You feel connected to him. You can feel his nerves while he discusses those crucial grand slam matches specially The Wimbeldon. You realize that the great Nadal is still a human yet what makes him very different is his grit, endurance and will to strive.

Nadal mentions many time the importance on endurance. That is what he was taught by Uncle Toni right from very young age.

My most favorite quote by Rafa is when he says “If you flag once, you will flag again.”  If you go easy on your dream once, you will 100% do that again. One morning you want to miss morning training because you were on a night out last night, you do it once you do ti again.

This book will really leave impression on your mind. If you want to be anomaly you must behave like one.

The day I am finished this book, Nadal lost to Fognini in US Open 2015 3rd round. Being 2 set up he lost for the first time in his career. What a devastating loss? But I am sure Nadal being nadal will come back.

Vamos Rafa!

Next book I started is Outliers : Story of success. Which will be 5th book for the 10 book challenge. An awesome read on what sets a successful person a part.

MIT 11.133x : Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology – Week 2 Sum Up

Here is it end of week 2 of 11.133x. And we are back with the  sum up.

This week was about many aspects that one should deal with while implementing an education technology, like deciding education technology framework, how to analyse a ed tech, technology buying process etc.

This week started with TPACKWhat is TPACK and why does it matter?

TPACK is a framework which combines 3 knowledge. These are technological knowledge, content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge.

Content knowledge : 

It is the focus on the content that we have to teach and deliver to the students.

Pedagogical Knowledge : 

How to teach that content? What methods are we going to use to deliver that content to the students. For example using group discussions, debates etc.

Technological Knowledge  :

Decide what kind of technology support is required to achieve this. It can be a case that technology is not  the best solution. This aspect should be analysed very carefully.

Next was a video on logistical and instructional half of an ed tech.

Logistical and Instructional half to decide the use of ed tech : 

1. Logistical half : 

  1. Cost of that ed tech and funding available to implement that ed tech.
  2. Access of the ed tech to students and teachers.
  3. It should be equal for all. For example all must be using same tablet.
  4. Usability of the ed tech. How easy is to use the ed tech.
  5. Best ed tech is the one that students already know how to use.
  6. Flexibility. Multi-use of the ed tech is possible or not.

A great example on flexibility of ed tech is popcorn machine and chefs knife. Though popcorn machine is very good at making popcorn, but it can’t be used for other purposes. On the other hand chef’s knife takes some time to learn, but can be used in many ways.

2. Instructional Half : 

  1. Quality of learning. How effective that ed tech is in improving the quality of learning. How much does it help to deliver complex topics to students.
  2. Efficiency. How fast can students pick up the concepts by the use of the ed tech.
  3. Possibilities of creation of new opportunities.
  4. Collateral skill development.


Next in the course was a video on initiative on BYOD (Bring your on device) and and 1:1 student to device ratio in Maine.

In India, this can be possible by giving tablets, as Indian schools run on a tight budget. But 1:1 ratio is where the power lies.

Cloud based ed tech apps also have a great future and applications. Users can access all the information just using a website.

Each week brings new mind opening concepts regarding ed tech implementation. I am myself having some ideas on creating a ed tech. Will also look to connect to some open source ed tech organizations.

Let’s see what is in store in next week.