CONCEPT: 4/5 WRITING: 4/5 RELEVANCE: 4.5/5 OVERALL: 3.5/5
The VUCA world
We live in a VUCA world; a world that is characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. In such a world, it becomes increasingly important for us to reskill and re-educate ourselves in order to better prepare for the demands of the present and future.
In a world that is constantly changing at an ever-increasing pace, it is imperative that we change and this need for growth-oriented change cannot be better explained than through the author’s own words,
“Sometimes we are stuck in a rut, not being able to evolve to the next state despite commitment, intention, and lots of hard work. We perhaps do not yet have the awareness, capacity, or the skill set to move to the next level.”
He explains this by the example of a caterpillar, reminding us that “a caterpillar is not meant to be a caterpillar. It is meant to be a butterfly. But to become one, it must evolve…”
And hence the importance of chrysalis. Now the first question that comes to our mind is what is a chrysalis? Well, Chrysalis is the form of an insect, a butterfly, or a moth, while it is transforming into an adult inside a hard case.
Understanding our development journey
Now, that the significance of bettering ourselves has been established, the next step is explained by the author as the understanding of the three basic states of our development journey. I like how the author mentions states and not stages because as he says, stages are hierarchical, but states are not. You can move from one state to another, in no particular order, and still learn a lot in the process.
The three basic states (in which a person exists) that the author mentions at the beginning of the book are –
- The waiting room – where a person is perpetually waiting for someone else to solve his problems and provide solutions. Here the person might have the intent to make things better, but that intent is never materialized as the necessary actions are never taken.
- Captain of the ship – in this state, the person realizes that he is the captain of his own ship and hence he has the necessary power to create the future that he desires.
- The higher plane – this is where the person becomes truly focused and is able to see things beyond his own self. This is where he truly expands and appreciates the diversity that surrounds him. In this state, he constantly seeks better alternatives and solutions even though they might not come from him.
Once the reader has understood these states, he next needs to ponder and question himself where exactly he stands, thereby defining his current reality as accurately as possible. For until that is done, the purpose of this book is not fulfilled.
It is only after this that the main text of the Chrysalis – 101 Anecdotal Stories begins, which is divided into 5 main parts. These sections are titled – The Mind, Self-Leadership, The Higher Plane, Leadership, and The Way Beyond.
Who can read?
Chrysalis – 101 Anecdotal Stories can be picked up by any reader, especially beginners, but specifically, it is meant for those individuals who are either working in corporates or as professionals and who are striving to improve themselves.
The book is easy to read and is not at all boring, unlike many other books that you will find in this genre. I say this because 1) the chapters are divided into very small parts. There are 101 such small chapters. 2) Each of these chapters talks about a specific anecdote, a specific skill, or even some stories from popular culture or the author’s own experience.
As the author says, the book is a collection of LinkedIn posts that he had posted over time. These posts reflect his learnings and observations from the 30 years of corporate experience that he has had.
The language is simple, the chapters and the concepts that they talk about are simple too, and they will find appeal to working professionals irrespective of their age, experience, or area of expertise.
Multitude of examples
The book makes use of many real-life examples which makes the concepts much more interesting and relatable. Some of these examples include the company Microsoft, the star swimmer Michael Phelps, the nuclear disaster at the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi, etc. Further, it also makes use of certain age-old stories, like that of a Chinese farmer who would always remain calm in the face of tough situations and that of the Cherokee American tribe from which we learn the story of which wolf wins.
What makes it different?
While many of the chapters talk about concepts that you might already know or relate to, others will make you ponder and will challenge many of your preconceived notions. Like the one about the quality versus quantity debate, and the other one which talks about the concept of failing fast. Another one explains to us why obstacles are better.
Snippets of wisdom
Throughout the book, you would also find a lot of wisdom from different quotes of some of the greatest thinkers in the world like Swami Vivekanand, Peter Drucker, James Allen, etc. This further adds depth to the text and helps to condense the wisdom of such learned people.
Many snippets of wisdom come in different forms – in the form of anecdotes and personal experiences, in the forms of success stories of different individuals and companies, and in the forms of different concepts.
An interesting concept to read was mentioned in Chapter 2 which talks of a 1972 study conducted by a professor at Stanford University. In this study, young children were offered a choice between consuming one marshmallow immediately or two of those, if they waited longer. 10 years after the study was conducted, the researchers tracked the children and saw that the children who could delay gratification and wait for better rewards turned out to be much better in terms of their educational attainments, health, BMI, and SAT scores.
And these are just a few things, there are many interesting and growth-oriented lessons to learn and imbibe in our real life.
In the end, Chrysalis – 101 Anecdotal Stories is a book that combines the genre of business management and self-help and specifically caters to working professionals and growth-oriented individuals.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Chrysalis – 101 Anecdotal Stories using the link below.