With the near launch of his book, Mr Kaustubh Sonalkar, Author, Fetch Your Own Coffee talks about the time he took to complete it, the lessons that can be learnt, a memory with this book and much more.
Mr. Sonalkar is also the President-HR, Essar Group & CEO, Essar Foundation.
Here’s excerpt from his interview with QNA India:
What inspired you to pen ‘Fetch Your Own Coffee’?
Mr Sonalkar: I have always believed that there can be no template for good management. Yet, several books on management lessons lay down a uniform set of principles around innovation, thinking big, agility etc. These are absolutely invaluable lessons, but not the only ones. I primarily penned down ‘Fetch Your Own Coffee’ to share my disruptive views of being a top manager and a great human being.
Did you face any hardship during the journey of this book?
Mr Sonalkar:The best lessons are learnt the hard way. So yes, I tried and tested a fair bit and came to the conclusion that developing a customised style of leadership is the best way to achieve success. The book has lessons from all walks of life, some are heartbreaking.
How long did you take to compile the book and why?
Mr Sonalkar: These are lessons learnt over a lifetime but penned down over the last three years. I have travelled and worked across more than 48 countries, interacted with people across cultures including in sub-saharan regions with no access and massive language barriers. That’s what has helped me understand non-verbal cues and how to identify core human traits.
What is the genesis of Fetch Your Own Coffee?
Mr Sonalkar: Inspiration often strikes when you least expect it. For instance, when you’re doing mundane tasks like fetching your coffee or watering your plants. As an ardent proponent of empathy, human connections and the wisdom that lies in everyday experiences, I thought of putting it all down in a thoroughly enjoyable, engaging and relatable manner. That was the genesis of the book.
What message would you like to convey through your book?
Mr Sonalkar: I would like the next generation of leaders to read, absorb, observe…and then forge their own unique paths to leadership and success.
As an author, what are your thoughts on a paperback vs. Ebook?
Mr Sonalkar: Just like leadership doesn’t have a template, nor does readership. Some people can’t do without the smell of paper books – good for them. Others love the convenience of e-books. I believe publishers must make both available.
One memory with your book ‘Fetch Your Own Coffee’?
Mr Sonalkar: After I had completed the book, I asked Aditi (Dr. Aditi Govitrikar) to read it and share her views. She read it and said that it ‘nudges us to question ourselves’. I think that’s a huge compliment, and I believe that is the real value readers will find in it.
Teachers’ Day is around the corner, did you have any favourite teacher during your growing years? What did you learn from him/her?
Mr Sonalkar: This may sound cliche, but I have to say it because it is so true for me – life has been my longest-running teacher. In school and during my days at London School of Economics, I had several brilliant teachers who helped me discover myself.
How will you define the relationship between a teacher and a student?
Mr Sonalkar: The idea is never to make the student a version of the teacher – the point is to make everyone the best version of themselves. I think the best teachers and students learn from each other. There is a chapter in the book on the Dhoni-Virat relationship that explains my perspective on this.