Prakhar Gupta and Mudit Yadav don’t want this book to live in fancy libraries or downtown bookstores. They want this book to find a home in your backpack. It is hardcover by intention, because it is meant to last you through adulthood. How to use this book? Read the chapter you need, prepare for that conversation and when the time comes, don’t shut up.
Prakhar Gupta took the internet by storm with his videos on philosophy, culture, and life. He quickly developed a social media following of half a million people who devour his many online courses on communication, confidence, and happiness. He graduated from Columbia University in New York City and is a regular speaker at top institutes including IIT, NLUS, SRCC, and more.
Mudit Yadav is a keynote speaker and executive coach on communication, leadership, and influence. He is the author of the book: Be Invincible The mindset, skills and habits for sustainable growth and success. He has coached global executives at Google, Caterpillar, Cisco, Siemens, Diageo, Autodesk, PwC, EY, and more. He is also a Chartered Accountant, CFA Charter holder, and ex-strategy consultant.
Tell us a little about your book.
This is a very new world we enter each year, and the fastest evolving currency is the rules of communication. An average 20-to-30-something year old encounters a very novel set of communication problems in our time. This book is an encyclopedia, a sort of compendium, that explores and then begins to solve the many different, but unavoidable, communication hazards that a young person faces in today’s world.The purpose of the book is to untangle what is inherently tangled up—our ability to communicate.
When did you decide to write this book? Any incidents in particular?
The better question here is why I decided to write the book. The answer is surprisingly the same for both me and my coauthor – Mudit. I decided to write the book when he and I would chat over the phone and find ourselves automatically gravitating to two different ends of the same problem. The problem, of course, is modern communication—the philosophy, the obstacles, the methods, and so on. I would find myself attracted to the more intimate and personal ends of that problem—friends, family, parties, and Mudit was always fond of the professional end of that problem—interviews, pitches, and presentations.
At some point during these weekly conversations, I think it must have been last fall (Sept-Oct), that we decided to pen down the first few chapters and see if we could communicate something in tandem. It has since been a delight to write this with him.
What makes this book different from others in the same genre
Most books in communication are usually principle-based. They lay out the broadest framework possible for communication, and then help people understand how that framework or list of rules could be applied to different circumstances. The other approach is philosophical. Those books purport to change something in your sub-conscious and the communication outcomes change massively. We weren’t interested in writing a book of that nature. We do not wish or care for the reader to read this book end to end. This book, in sync with our times, is supposed to be consumed in bite-sized pieces. We encourage readers to read only what interests them and applies to their lives right now.This is an instruction manual, where the method is broken in a very step by step format for each chapter, so readers dont have to burden themselves with the whole book to understand what they could consume and embody in one chapter.
Any reason you decided to self-publish the book?
We wanted complete creative freedom with our first release. Also, it gives us the leverage to keep up with the fast means of e-commerce, indicating that we are in tandem with content creation and the creator economy. I also like to have a little privacy in my creative work. Thirdly, the turnaround time with a publisher would have been too long.
It is not to say publishing with someone is pointless or that self-publishing is inherently better. Neither of those things are remotely true. We just ran an experiment, and we had fun with it.
Anecdotal memories while writing this book?
For me it was experiencing different writing styles. I am a nerd for these slivers of white noise between all the processes and outcomes that the world obsesses over. What would take him 5 days of focused work to do, and brilliantly so, would take me 5 hours of alone time in a room, but somehow I’d feel that spirit in my system only on Fridays. We would exchange notes about how that would create visible signatures in our drafts. Mine were always full of spelling errors, and Mudit’s drafts were formidable. Then we would spend scrupulous hours making mine sharper and better.
Writing, I’ve found, is a window into your own mind like nothing else. It’s like straightening the knots in your gaseous thoughts, thoughts that must now be solidified and then filed and ranked. I don’t know, it’s part of the white noise of doing something that I enjoy a lot—the journey of it. So I definitely remember the stuck ups and the blocks I’d encounter. It was quite something to be so deep into a thought and to have found a dead end that I could barely even verbalise what it was that I was looking for. Overall, a lot of fun.
Why should readers read this book?
“You are not being told how to prepare for what is about to unfold with each passing year of your life. You are being coddled and spoon fed. You are being bubble wrapped and pampered. You aren’t being told how brutal the world gets and how much opportunity exists in that chaos. You, without your awareness, are being slowly turned into a number and then, later, you are being discarded as a disappointment, a liability. To be able to talk properly, to be able to use words potently, is to be able to take on the world at large, untangle its complications, make sense of the burden of existence itself, and produce something beautiful out of that struggle. This is no trivial matter. Here are a set of tools on that journey. Take it.’
Tell us about your journey from a creator to an author.
This is a journey in reverse order of preference. I became a ‘creator’ first because the medium is more powerful than books in terms of popularity. It is a fact, whether one wants to admit it or not. What I have truly craved for a while is the depth of my intellectual enterprise. On the level of that, books are more powerful than videos. So I wanted to write more than I wanted to make videos, but I ended up making more videos. Now I want to write more and more as well, so let us see how these two parts come together in the future. That is a creative problem I still haven’t solved.
In a world where everyone is a creator, how do you carve your niche?
Do exactly what you like, how you like. Take market feedback for adjustment, but anchor yourself to your quirks, your idiosyncrasies, and your weirdness. People take the opposite route. They start with a pretence, a performance, and then work their way backward to authenticity. Start with authenticity, ignore the low numbers or the hate and resistance, and then slowly learn to admit good feedback and adjust towards what the market wants. It makes a huge difference in niche creation.
What’s next for you as a creator
Shh, no hints.
Share your thoughts on the future of the creator economy.
“Creator economy” is a buzzword. It is the artist economy dressed in a digital medium. I think the artist economy and the creator economy, though substantially different right now, will begin to converge as traditional artists (musicians, comedians, actors) realise how easy it is to do what they do on more independent digital distribution networks (like creators) and creators begin to realise that they are no different from traditional artists.
But who knows? I could be sharper with my opinion if I thought harder.