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. The 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*.
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