The Captainship: First Gen Entrepreneurs

Anya Gupta, author and alumnus of MIT Sloan, has edited this book, appropriately titled, “The Captainship: First Gen Entrepreneurs” published by Bloomsbury.  The title is inspired by the famous line from “Invictus” the poem by William Ernest Henley which goes, ” I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” The structure of this book is unique in that nine first generation entrepreneurs speak in the first person narrative to tell their own stories. They speak of their childhood experiences which  helped fashion their thinking, the lessons they learnt from family and others, and how they invariably had to overcome adversity to achieve the goal they set for themselves.

Most of the nine entrepreneurs who have contributed to this book have become well -known names in modern India, at least certainly among urban professionals.  I am sure they have inspired many budding entrepreneurs to make the break and grab opportunities that come their way to become masters of their own destiny.

These path breakers are:

  • Sanjeev Aggarwal, co-founder and senior managing director of Helion Venture Partners.
  • Subroto Bagchi, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Mindtree
  • Girish Batra, founder, chairman and managing director of NetAmbit
  • Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder and executive vice chairman of Info Edge
  • Ashish Dhawan, co-founder ChrysCapital
  • Dr Ashish Gupta, co-founder, Helion Venture Partners
  • Zia Mody, founder and senior partner, AZB & Partners
  • Satya Narayanan, founder, Career Launcher
  • Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO, One97 Communications.

The book is attractively designed, simple to read, and comes across as being an honest effort to get the entrepreneurs to talk to you the reader. This does not have management jargon or theories for success. It has straight talking where some of the contributors share details of their lives which I suspect have never been so publicly shared before.

On reading this book, I was reminded of the lines from William Ross Wallace’s poem, “The hand that rocks the cradle , rules the world.” I felt most of the entrepreneurs featured here were influenced largely by their mothers. It appears from their conversation that they imbibed values from them that held them in good stead as they embarked on their entrepreneurial journeys.

Like any other book, this one too does not have any magic mantra to make you a successful entrepreneur overnight. It does provide immense insight into the kind of character and personality needed to be successful in a tough and demanding game, as demonstrated by the contributors.

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