The Dolphin and the Shark by Namita Thapar | Book Review

“I strongly believe that all of us have a shark in us representing aggression, ruthlessness and ferocity. At the same time, we also have a dolphin within representing kindness, empathy and vulnerability. We have to learn to balance both if we want to maximize our productivity and potential.”

The Dolphin and the Shark is born out of Namita Thapar’s experiences of being a judge on Shark Tank India and running the India business of the pharma company Emcure as well as her own entrepreneurship academy. The book emphasizes how leaders of today need to strike a balance between being a shark (aggressive leader) and a dolphin (empathetic leader).

The book focuses on various business mantras. The author shares personal stories, anecdotes about Emcure’s evolution over the years as well as learnings from entrepreneurs who have inspired her. The Dolphin and the Shark also includes references to pitches from Shark Tank India‘s Season 1. 5. The Dolphin and the SharkThe key theme of this book is understanding that entrepreneurship is not only a dream for those with education and resources, but also the ambition of anyone willing to bet their life on one idea. As Namita Thapar points out, entrepreneurship has the power to democratize wealth creation in our country, more so now when small businesses have mushroomed to fill in the gaps brought about by the erratic supply of goods and services during the pandemic.

With her experience as a Shark Tank investor, the author lays out the guideline to help you draw your entrepreneurial roadmap. This starts from perfecting your pitch, building winning teams, to cultivating a culture of dissent within your organisation, harnessing your networks, and identifying mentors. She uses examples of actual pitches to explain how one can identify blind spots and adapt your business to change.

I found a key takeaway to be how women can break barriers. She points out that female participation in the Indian workforce has dropped from 27% to 19% in the pandemic, owing to all the unpaid work women must attend to, before they can build their careers. She writes in detail on how not to limit oneself, instead make oneself heard, ask for help, get rid of guilt and challenge the stereotypes.

In drawing a parallel between the characteristics of a dolphin and shark, she emphasizes why vulnerability is not a flaw but the ultimate courage that shows the real you. Humility keeps you growing and learning. Being raw and honest in talking about your challenges and failures as opposed to be an aggressor, always in control, makes you much more relatable and inspiring. This, in turn, improves your prospects for success. 

Another feature that works in favour of this book is that as technical the subject may sound to the reader, the language is simple and easy to understand. It makes the dream of entrepreneurship much more real and within reach. All one needs is an idea that fulfils a need and is supported by a scalable business plan.

A handy guide for anyone looking to step into entrepreneurship or even to understand the basics of running a business, The Dolphin and The Shark is your go-to guide for everything you wanted to know about start-ups but didn’t know whom to ask.

The Dolphin and the Shark: Stories on Entrepreneurship by Namita Thapar. Published in August 2022 by Penguin Business, an imprint of Penguin Random House India.

Book 5 of 2023.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: Drawing from the book’s title, the dolphin and the shark were more than apt for this book pairing.
These are both made in origami using 80gsm paper.
5. The Dolphin and the Sharkb
About the Author: Namita Thapar is an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business and a chartered accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. She joined Emcure as CFO, after her six-year stint at Guidant Corporation, USA. Subsequently, her responsibilities grew to manage Emcure’s largest business unit: the India business. Namita is passionate about improving women’s health in India and promoting youth entrepreneurship. During the COVID pandemic, she launched a unique YouTube talk show on women’s health called Uncondition Yourself with Namita, which aims to provide authentic information and break taboos associated with women’s health. She leads Thapar Entrepreneurs Academy Ltd, an education company that teaches entrepreneurship. She is the founding partner of Thapar Vision Fund, which invests in start-ups.
Namita is a recipient of various prestigious corporate awards, such as the 40 Under Forty award by Economic Times and Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by Business Today. She has been a speaker at various prestigious forums, such as the Harvard Business School, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, ET Women’s Forum and FICCI, etc.
She lives in Pune with her husband, Vik, and two boys, Vir and Jai. This is her first book.
You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter.

*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.


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