Irrationally Passionate – Book Review
Irrationally Passionate – Book Review
Book: Irrationally Passionate
Author: Jason Kothari
Reviewed By: Manas Mukul
Publisher: HarperBusiness (11 March 2020)
Pages: 268 (Hardcover)
Price: 599 INR
ISBN-13: 978- 9353572655
My rating: 4/5
The Startup ecosystem of India is changing rapidly along with the global business landscape. A lot of startups pop up on the scene almost on a daily basis and they die out about at the same rate. As per a study, around 90% of the Indian startups fail within the first five years of their inception. Jason Kothari’s Irrationally Passionate is an autobiographical journey, where he bares all about his life from being a rebel to becoming one of the highest-paid executives that the country has ever seen that too in his 30s. Still, in doubt, read my book review of this self-made man’s journey before grabbing a copy of Jason’s debut book.
Biographies in general, including autobiographies, are usually bland. Non-fiction especially about a non-controversial figure seldom works or sells. There are very few autobiographies that one can recommend as a perfect weekend relaxing read. Irrationally Passionate tries to change that on every account. I would like to express my gratitude towards Blogadda’s Book Review Program for considering me this book review and giving me an opportunity to review this genre for the first time.
The cover page of the book is a thick paper cover wrapped on the hardbound base. It has a picture of Jason’s stubbly face with steal eyes. On the back cover, there are a lot of convincing testimonials by some of the tallest corporate names. The blurb and about the author are on the inside flap of the front and back cover respectively. The title of the book would seem pretty apt once you finish it.
The book is divided into eleven chapters where each chapter gives a peek into a different stage of his life. In every phase, he is gathering business acumen from real-world scenarios, which he ably uses in redefining destinies of many of the firms he has worked with. The title of the chapters are smartly chosen and they, themselves, can be treated as ‘mantras’ for business and life.
The book begins with an author’s note and prologue. Don’t evade them. In fact in the prologue itself, he discusses his first business negotiation when he buys a chessboard from a roadside seller. He gives an insight into his early childhood, his love for Valiant comics and his relationship with his parents, who have been a constant source of strength and support. Jason also writes about those days and years that he isn’t much proud of and doesn’t try to hide them. There came a point in life where he could have lost everything to drugs, booze and his reckless behaviour. It was a conversation between his parents that he overhears and decides to get a hold on his life.
You won’t believe where he learned the concept that creating a clear strategy is the most important thing before starting a business. It was at a Muay Thai training center in Thailand. (Yeah you read it right). He is popularly known as ‘The Turnaround Guy’ for his journey has always been about turning sure-shot dead businesses into successful profit churning ones.
The second half of the book is mostly about his application of the concepts he learned during his college and martial art days while working as a CEO after CEO after CEO in various organisations. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much this guy has achieved in such a short span of time.
Jason also discusses the toll that it takes on your mind and health when you have to let go of thousands of employees in one go. Many of the people who lost their jobs might not agree with him but in the hindsight, the number of companies that he has saved proves that those were right decisions, however difficult.
There was a particular chapter where it took me back my International Business class where my professor taught me that sometimes selling of your business is not that bad a strategy and less loss is also profit. We should also thank that young entrepreneur who persuaded him in coming up with a book about his life’s learnings otherwise Irrationally Passionate would have never seen the light of the day.
Some of the Best Lines
“My inner game rules my outer game.”
“Money will only make you more of what you already are.”
“If you are only in it for the money, you’ll never make it.”
“Smile when you are getting punched and keep fighting.”
Everything seems to be working wonders for the book. To begin with, it is not at all written in a biographical tone. To add to that if the book is about giving business transformation Gyan, it can become a little complex and at the same time boring, Irrationally Passionate on the contrary is written in lucid language with thriller pace. With only 223 chapter pages, it is unputdownable and one might complete it in a couple of sittings.
The use of business jargon is very limited and that definitely works in favour of the book. There are hardly any subplots other than Jason explaining his meteoric rise. The author keeps taking humorous pot-shots at himself throughout the book.
The book hardly leaves any scope to highlight any negative. But being a management grad, I would have loved a little more detailed insight on any of the turnarounds that he had done. There are only a couple of brush strokes in this huge canvas painting about his personal life. Being an autobiography it would have been wonderful to understand how a person this occupied with work, managed to strike any work-life balance, if any.
If you have an entrepreneurial itch and are embarking on your journey do not miss out on this one. It not only has some of the best lessons for business strategies but overall life – how to remain positive and focussed when the ship is already sinking and turn it around.
Some make decisions from heart, some by mind…Jason makes strategic decisions from his mind but by keeping the heart in the right place. I am going with four out of five for Jason Kothari’s Irrationally Passionate. Entrepreneurial mindset or not – grab a copy of the book right now. A must-read.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
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About the Author
Jason Kothari is a passionate entrepreneur and business turnaround leader. While still in college, he acquired the bankrupt US-based Valiant Entertainment and led its transformation as the CEO to the third-largest superhero entertainment company after Marvel and DC and a sale for $100 million, a record industry return. Subsequently, Jason was the CEO of Housing.com, where he led the transformation of the distressed company and a merger with News Corp’s PropTiger to create the $350 million industry leader. Following this, he was the Chief Strategy & Investment Officer of Snapdeal, where he played a lead role in transforming the distressed company from a monthly loss of over $20 million to a profit, the first for an Indian e-commerce company. Jason was also the CEO of FreeCharge, where he led the sale of the company to Axis Bank for $60 million. In addition, he has been a senior advisor to Softbank; Noon.com, a Middle Eastern e-commerce company that has raised $1 billion; and is a Board Director of Emaar India, which has over $2 billion in real estate assets. He is also an Executive Producer of Bloodshot (Sony Pictures) starring Vin Diesel. Jason holds a B.S. from The Wharton School and lives in Mumbai.
This review was done as part of the Blogadda’s Book Review Program. Please sign up if you are a bibliophile.
My side of the bargain – an honest review – Find the Book here on Goodreads and Amazon.
About the author reference – https://harpercollins.co.in/author-details/jason-kothari/
A well written review. The book sounds interesting and will try to read it.
Thank you so much for the appreciation Piya. Waiting to read yours 🙂
Though I don’t read autobiographies this looks interesting. Thanks for your in-depth review, will read it.
Same here. But this one is really good. Its pretty breezy as well. So will finish in no time.
That’s a great review that makes you curious to know more about the turnaround guy.
The best lines are noteworthy. Thanks for detailed review.
Thank you so much PraGun ji for reading and appreciating.