Top critical review
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Throughoutly enthusiastic, shallow and infuriating
on 8 June 2014
Let me begin by noting something I wish I would have noted before I bought this book. Many of the five-star reviews of this book both in Amazon.co.uk and on Amazon.com are written by reviewers having only reviewed a single book. In other words, these reviews look suspiciously like dishonest reviews. The first five-star review on Amazon.com was even written by the author's sister, who conveniently failed to disclose her obvious conflict of interest when reviewing the book. Not good signs, upfront.
That being said, what is the book actually like? I bought the book for opinions and advice on entrepreneurship and life with a startup company. The book does cover such topics. However, it reads a bit more like an autobiography than anything else. Basically, the book covers how the author, Miki Agrawal, got annoyed by her internship and quit, had a stint in investment banking and quit, and then decided to start up a company of her own (a gourmet pizza restaurant in New York). There's even some advice in the end on keeping fit and finding love.
The most glaring problem with the book is that the author comes of as ridiculously self-centered, boasting and even somewhat disparaging of many other people. The style of the book's writing is sort of teenage-y, with heads-up to friends, occassional references to her twin sister (Radha, or just Rads, as she refers to her) and frequent exclamation signs. For the first few chapters, it feels as if the purpose of the author mainly is to show off how amazing she is, how much energy she has and how easily she makes friends and gets stuff done. She seems rather eager to show how much she is one of the cool kids. I actually lent this book to a friend before reading it myself, and he gave it back to me after these first chapters because he simply couldn't stand it.
These problems apart, the stated purpose of the author is to write a guide for young entrepreneurs wanting to start a business. One problem in this regard is that most young entrepreneurs probably don't really start out with the same sort of resources as the author (Ivy League education, many resourceful friends and certainly not a poor family). The author doesn't really seem to reflect on this, and appears more or less to take these things for given, which doesn't come off as very sympathetic to the issues of the average person. On a more positive note, Agrawal actually makes some good points throughout the book. She is consistently very energetic and ambitious, and this is somewhat inspiring. Taking risks and not being afraid of making mistakes are certainly important skills, both for aspiring entrepreneurs and for living life in general, and Agrawal appears to have these skills in spades.
Still, all in all, I found this book rather disappointing. The author and her writing is annoying, and the advice and ideas presented by the book is not very impressive. The hype generated around this publication appears to be precisely that, hype. For a book with practical advice on entrepreneurship (less personal, admittedly), I'd instead recommend "The smart entrepreneur" by Bart Clarysse and Sabrina Kiefer.