There is almost always a great story behind every successful entrepreneurial venture, especially in the world of business. Arvind Kejriwal, whom I have the highest regard for, has had a rare entrepreneurial journey in the political arena. This book does a terrific job of capturing his meteoric rise from humble middle-class beginnings to social activist, then founder of a political party, and eventually the CM of Delhi, through the eyes of someone who has known him for several decades. Comparing AAP to a startup company, Pran explores key aspects that have driven AAP's phenomenal success like passion, commitment, inspirational leadership, technology and widespread NRI support. He also highlights typical management challenges that arise when simultaneously growing and managing an up-and-coming organization and sheds light on Arvind's management style -- facets that are often not apparent on the outside.
This book is a sincere and thoughtful attempt, laced with wry humor and analogies, that helps to better comprehend issues involving people, egos and ambitions related to AAP. What makes it especially interesting is that it provides, through personal anecdotes and various events widely discussed in the media, rare insights into Arvind's personal nature and mental makeup. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the rise of AAP and its leader.
It was in the summer of 2013 that I first met Arvind Kejriwal as a co-speaker at a TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) event on Political Entrepreneurship in India. He looked like RK Laxman's much loved Common Man, but his slight, simple demeanor radiated a burning intensity, idealism and fearlessness.
It is therefore fascinating to view Arvind Kejriwal through the lens of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Pran Kurup is widely respected as a mentor to the extraordinary and committed global group of AAP's NRI volunteers. He describes Arvind Kejriwal as a political entrepreneur par excellence and the Aam Aadmi Party as a successful political start-up, with an open source philosophy that relies on crowdsourcing, for not just ideas and money, but also execution and implementation.
Political leaders in India tend to be either idolized or demonized. It is refreshing to come across a book written with such candor and humor about someone who is growing to be one of the most significant forces in Indian politics. Pran describes his friend "Kejri's" journey from the hostels of IIT Kharagpur to the portals of the Chief Minister's office in Delhi. Who amongst us will not recognize the funda groups and gyan sessions that Pran brings to life in such a rib-tickling manner? Scratching beneath the surface, he presents an honest and critical analysis of AAP's roller coaster journey to political maturity – the mistakes made and lessons that must be learnt if the party is to grow.
For those of us committed to the idea of AAP – well-wishers, volunteers, donors, candidates, and Party members – this is a must-read book. Pran clarifies questions and addresses dilemmas that many of us have grappled with.
More importantly, it is a must-read book for all of us who are committed to the idea of India. Whether you love or hate the Muffler man and the Mango Party, they have altered the rules of politics in India forever, and for the better.
No matter what the future holds, their message that the Common Citizen can triumph over the politics of corruption, criminality, casteism and cronyism, is one that gives hope, to every Indian in the world!
This book brings together a heretofore unexplored combination of entrepreneurship, leadership and Indian politics in a unique and engaging manner. I have known Kejriwal and the author since our days together at IIT. This book brought back some delightful memories of life at IIT. Through very relevant examples, real-life anecdotes, and putting in context publicly known events, Pran provides rare insights into Kejriwal's unique qualities and what makes him special. It is a must-read for anyone interested in knowing more about AAP and its leader.
In "Arvind Kejriwal & the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP): An Inside Look," Pran Kurup provides a unique perspective on the founder of India's grandest startup. Pran is an entrepreneur comfortable with Silicon Valley's startup culture. He also happens to be Arvind Kejriwal's college buddy (I know Arvind Kejriwal from IIT as well, and can relate to those nuggets). From this unique perch, Pran captures the evolution of Arvind Kejriwal from just another student at IIT (one who vacillated between the "gol funda" and "poorna funda" factions) to the firebrand leader of AAP.
Pran's astutely describes the commonalities between AAP as a political startup and the technology startups in Silicon Valley. If you accept the premise behind this (and I do), then the success of the enterprise depends on the ability of the core team to learn, to stay motivated through failures, to evolve as the marketplace evolves, and to turn the corner before time/money runs out. Pran documents all of these factors with regard to AAP via personal nuggets afforded to a friend who is not directly involved.
This book is an excellent read for anyone who wants to understand what makes Kejriwal tick and take a deeper look at India's newest and promising political startup. It provides some key insights into leadership and entrepreneurship that could be beneficial to most technology startups.