What is common between Chanakya and Pt. Vishnu Sharma. Both provided rules that defined sciences in a manner that was understandable and relatable. Both these men were in essence – storytellers. While Chanakya was a teacher who provided the foundation for political science, Pt. Vishnu Sharma was a scholar who provided the basis for social behaviour. Anu Sadasivan is a manager, who attempts to recreate the same magic with his recent bestseller – A Million Leader Dream. The science in question is management and the medium is again – stories. And he does a great job at it. This is evident in the fact that the book has broken through top charts to become a #1 Bestseller on Amazon within the first week of release.
Anu Sadasivan is a leader with a voracious appetite for challenges and firm focus on overcoming obstacles. His skills are not just limited to propounding management sutras, or being a multifaceted telecom professional, or your next door geek poring over lines of code on green screens – he is a master blender capable of intricately coupling myth, fiction and reality. An alumnus of Army Institute of Technology, Pune and Indian Institute of Management, Calicut, his other interests include blogging, productivity hacks, script writing, yoga, strategy, coaching and mentoring. He is an avid reader of mythological and historical texts. Anu lives in garden city – Bangalore, along with wife Sandya and two children Aaryan and Aagney. We had a candid chat with Anu about his journey with A Million Leader Dream, which happens to be his first book as well. Here are some excerpts.
- Visit ‘A Million Leader Dream’ website here.
Tell us about storyteller in you, and what influenced or inspired you to start writing?
I have grown up hearing mythological stories from my grandmother. Ramanand Sagar and BR Chopra were a great influence as they topped my knowledge with their versions of the mythological TV serials, a first at that time. Stories from mythology fascinated me as child and continue to do so even today. I explored stage drama and theater during my teenage years and even made a comedy short film during my time in Cyprus, where I wrote and directed the film. To study film making more deeply I undertook a course on film writing from ‘Institute of Moving Images, Mumbai’. I have continued to write scripts for my short film since then.
What was the moment (or a series of moments) when you felt that you could pen down a book?
I re-started blogging when Medium became popular and I started putting down my thoughts in the form of blogs. I was able to attract readers who showed interest in the stories I wrote. I got in touch with friends of similar interest and founded an online magazine Niclemind. I continue to pursue my passion for writing, on Medium under the handle Niclemind. While categorizing my blogs, I realized that there was scope for an anthology. I contemplated writing a book; the first thing that came to mind was mythology. That is when I started writing my version of Ramayana. Once I started writing, I realized that there was so much more I could write about.
Tell us more about your first book – A Million Leader Dream. Who should read this book?
Though I work in the technology industry, I do not consider myself a great techie. I always felt that I have great inter-personal skills which I can use to coach and mentor my team members. I continue to do that in my professional work for my team members AND in personal life with my children. India is the biggest IT outsourcing destination for western countries; and in most of the cases, the leadership stays with them – the west. It’s the ground-level hard labor that is outsourced here, to India. This is good because it consumes the lakhs and lakhs of software engineers incubated every year by Indian universities across the sub-continent. These engineers aspire to grow into managerial roles. A Million Leader Dream is a hand-crafted recipe book designed for IT managers who are leading in the middle. Along with recipes, there are many personal stories included to understand the practical use of the theory. The book is an amalgamation of my personal experiences with timeless lessons that our mythology and folklore provide. Each chapter contains a story from my life; they are all written in the first person.
If you manage a project team in software industry, this book is for you. If you are an aspiring IT Manager, this book is for you. If you have just changed roles to become a Team Lead in software industry, this book is for you.
What are the topics that you prefer writing about?
Mythology, Social Issues, Leadership and Management, Filmy, Inspirational and self-help.
You continue to be in a full-time corporate job. How do you find time to write? Does it ever feel like sailing in two boats?
The golden rule I follow – prepare the plot in the morning, write down in the evening. Keep on scribbling down thoughts, as and when they come to your mind. Technology is a great aid, and I use Evernote in my phone to do that. Once you are sure that you have eighty percent of the matter prepared, sit down to write and complete it. I am not the kind who can reserve N hours every day to write. That is practically not possible in the current, busy corporate life.
Assuming that your boss is not reading this, will you ever quit your job to pursue writing full-time.
Even if my boss is reading this, my ambition is to do that in the coming years.
Is there any particular person or author who has influenced the stories you write?
Not specifically anyone in terms of my writing, but my life has seen significant changes after I read Stephen Covey and Prakash Iyer.
When do we see another book from Anu Sadasivan?
‘Jayaramji Ki’ – my version of Ramayana is planned for early 2018. ‘BOSS’, ‘72nd Virgin’, ‘War games for IT Mangers’ are in the womb.
Tell us something about your favorite books. What genres do you prefer to read? What are you currently reading?
Biographies and auto-biographies are my favorites. I like them, because they are real-life stories of people, not fiction. My favorites (and also the ones I recommend) are My Gita by Devdutt Pattanaik, Habit of Winning by Prakash Iyer, SimplyFly by Capt. Gopinath.
I read multiple books at the same time. Presently my reading list looks like this –
Leisure time read – ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Paramahansa Yogananda. I purchased this book after reading about it in Steve Jobs biography. As per Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs used to read, and re-read this book every 6 months. I started reading it and interestingly, I didn’t find anything interesting and stopped reading after a few chapters. Recently, I happened to see a tweet from Virat Kholi, that this book has changed his life. I have resumed reading, yet to find the interesting part in the book !
Drive time read – I read stuff on my kindle when stuck in Bangalore traffic. Now reading 10 Past Dark by Shanthanu Kulkarni.
Any suggestions to those who want to take up writing while keeping their jobs intact?
Keep collecting information, scribble in a notebook or on your phone. Make time to complete chapters. Commit to close friends that you want to write something – they will chase you to complete it.
You suggestion to our readers and other writers on how they can help in keeping stories alive?
Write, Write and Write.
Don’t Miss: We love all those who can tell a good story. On Tell-a-Tale, we’ve featured a lot of talented storytellers, in the past.
Are you an Author? If you’re an author who is actively pursuing writing and would like to be featured in this column, drop us a mail at editor AT tell-a-tale.com or reach out to us via Facebook.