All Talk and No Action Thursday, March 24, 2011

You remember me mentioning various book reviews in the pipeline?

Below is the first one in the series.

Image Courtesy: Mridula V.'s blog

As the title suggests, Women Entrepreneurship is about case studies of women entrepreneurs from India, US & Germany.

Mridula Velagapudy brings to us, stories of 19 strong-willed women who run businesses in some very interesting industries.

Each chapter sheds light on the background of the specific industry, followed by Q&A with the business owners.

The book contains much information for wannabe entrepreneurs and highlights unusual sectors.

For example, MayaCare - a business that has developed a network of volunteers who help senior citizens for various activities like accompanying them to the market/hospital, reading books to them, helping them
with writing letters, emails, etc. The business fills the needs caused due to absence (physical and emotional) of children (owing to nuclear families/work/education). 

I found the case study particularly disturbing (for personal reasons). Nevertheless, it is a sector which will greatly expand in times to come and is up for grabs.

A quote by Russ Ackoff which was shared by Poonam Bir Kasturi of DailyDump and which I particularly liked :
"The righter we do the wrong thing, the wronger we become. When we make a mistake doing the wrong thing and correct it, we become wronger. When we make a mistake doing the right thing and correct it, we become righter. Therefore, it is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. Most of our current problems are the result of policymakers and managers (and designers) busting a gut to do a wrong thing right."

The book has several such delightful ideas packed into different chapters.

It was also interesting to read about various women entrepreneurs from the US & Germany. The businesses they indulge in are not tapped in India and hence provide good opportunities to entrepreneurs here. For this reason alone, we need more of such books in the market.

Mridula adopts a simple, easy to follow language throughout the book and maintains a consistent questionnaire through the chapters.

Having said this, I must mention that I didn't particularly like the Q&A format. It lacks creativity and since you (as a reader) already know the exact set of questions that will follow, there is no excitement of discovering new ideas.

At times, I felt I was reading through a reference book for an exam.

Another aspect that didn't go down well with me was how all the businesses covered had been self funded and were fairly successful.

All entrepreneurs were well supported by their families (no trace of any conflicts) and had enough savings to fund their businesses. Knowing these were women, and this being India, their stories sounded too good to be true.

Work life balance is an area working Indian women (infact, women worldwide) are often made to feel guilty about. Yet, the questions asked in the book do not probe the these women to bring out such softer issues.

For a first time reader or new enthusiast, this might send out wrong signals. There is much toil in any entrepreneurial journey. More heartbreaks than successes, atleast in the first 5 years.

Covering entrepreneurial journeys which sound "fairy tale" like lends a certain superficiality to the entire book - however interesting the stories be.

So, go ahead and buy your copy - some good stories have been captured in there. However, if you are an advanced entrepreneurial enthusiast, the book might appear limiting to you.


Sakhi Shah said...

Wow. This book seems great. I will definitely read it if I can get my hands on it. :)

All Talk and No Action said...

@Sakhi - Yes, hope the book helps :-)