I will teach you how you can get what I got without you having to pay the price I paid…

I will teach you how you can get what I got without you having to pay the price I paid…

By Rajesh Setty on Mon 03 Sep 2007, 4:33 PM – 5 Comments

Don’t get me wrong. I read one or two books a week. I am happy about how much I read but I do get a complex when I read about how much my hero Tom Peters reads.

The topic of some business books are simple

“I will teach you how you can get what I got without you having to pay the price I paid in that journey…”

The story goes like this. A successful executive (today) shares his story of success. Just so that it does not feel like a fairy tale, the person tells about all the mistakes he made on the way to the top. He admits that he sacrificed his personal life (family, health etc.) in return for money, fame and other material things and now he feels guilty of those mistakes. He outlines his strategy with a series of tips and techniques of what YOU could do differently. He does not want you to pay the price that he paid. If you follow those tips and techniques you are guaranteed success without the side-effects that the person experienced.

I have the following points to make:

1. The above picture paints a guarantee of no guarantees. The analogy I can think of is this. You are driving and you see a fork. You take one road (Remember Yogi Berra – when you see a fork in the road, take it) and you went through an experience that led you to where you are today. You now write a book filled with tips and techniques that one should follow on the other road (at the fork) that you never traveled.

2. The book may really have good advice. But the author cannot provide proof points from personal experiences if the author didn’t go through that experience. However, if the advice is backed up by other ways it may make sense.

3. When you read a business book, you have to look for the proof points and the applicability to your current situation. Not every advice is applicable to everyone. Otherwise it will be physics book.


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5 Comments so far, Add Yours

Aditya Kothadiya  on September 4th, 2007

Well said Rajesh,

But I think there is more to these “How To” books. Based on my reading experience, not all books talk about “Travel another path” thing. Rather they talk more about “Travel the same path which I traveled, but with these “smart how to” tips and tricks for better results!”. I personally found that these books are more about doing the same thing efficiently.

Also, about providing proof points, I have observed that most of the authors refer to other authors for proof points. Its just that someone has already proved one concept, and we are referring to that concept instead of re-inventing the wheel. Isn’t it then reasonable to provide some proof points based on other’s experiences than to provide based on only personal experiences?



Rajesh Setty  on September 4th, 2007

Hi Aditya,

I agree with your points. I have had problems with only a few books but when these books get popular, I get worried.

Ultimately it boils down to whether you can see the advice being ‘relevant’ to your specific case.

Thanks again.



Anthony C Mersino  on September 4th, 2007

Hi Rajesh, good post but I couldn’t get past your comment about reading 2 books a week and getting a complex about how much Tom Peters reads. I am striving to read a book a week, but your post has inspired me to step up my efforts. Keep up the good work with the blog Rajesh.


PS: At 2 books a week, I hope you get around to reading mine soon!

Dr.Mani  on September 18th, 2007

Interesting viewpoint, Rajesh.

While I agree to the extent that just because the path one trod is ridden with problems, one cannot suggest/advice that the alternate one would be less so, or lead to the same destination, I believe there is still a role for some lessons to be shared from one’s hardship – that others can hopefully avoid.

I published a blog recently based on something an influential online entrepreneur did – and that I know, from painful personal experience, would be harmful to anyone else trying to do it. And to that extent, the advice I shared is likely useful… because both cost and benefit are spelled out, leaving the reader to decide if the price is worth paying.

You can read the blog in question here:



Personal Growth  on September 20th, 2007

Hi Rajesh..!

The story that you shared with us is quite a good one obviously everyone would like it and the points you shared are really good. But there is one thing that i really want to share is that one must learn how to make choices and then never look back for instance. This successful man made the choice but did not overlook the after effects. One should know and be practical about the choices that he or she makes and must accept that you cannot get everything you want, for a choice that is made.

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