Name of Book:  I Will Survive: Comeback Stories Of A Corporate Warrior

Author:  Sunil Robert

Website: Sunil Robert - I Will Survive: Comeback Stories Of A Corporate Warrior

Publisher:  Westland Ind, Chennai

Year of Publication:  2009

Number of Pages:  191

Reviewed byDr. J.N. Manokaran

Sunil Robert has written his own story which could inspire thousands of young people to dream big, tap their inner potential and accomplish great things.  Sunil who had to face adverse circumstances overcomes those circumstances and emerges victorious.  As he journeys in life, he learns lessons from ‘school of life’ and move forward.  The condensed version of life lessons are put in boxes in each chapter that are very helpful.  The book is transparent bringing in the struggles as well as victories, fears and faith, defeats and success.

The Author Provides Four Tips To Beat The Odds. 

1.  If Life Throws Lemon, Don’t Rant And Rave.  Make Lemonade, Set Up Lemonade Stand, And Write About It.

2. Find Innovative Ways Of Turning Your Weakness To Strengths.

3. Or Camouflage Your Weakness By Highlighting Your Strengths.

4. Learn To Find A Glimmer Of Humour In Every Situation.

He writes these from his own experience.  He turns his ‘left’ handed to his advantage, turns chores into fun and get place in team for remembering the rules of the games rather than playing well.

It Is Essential For Each Person To Discover His/Her Potential.  He Suggests Three Steps:

1.  Go Back To Your Past And Plot Your Future.  Our Personality Is Pretty Much Scripted In Childhood.  So, Child Hood Experiences Are The Key.

2.  The Inherent Talent, What Comes Natural Or What Gives Adrenaline Rush.   What Other People Say As Compliment Or Complaint Again And Again. 

3.  Reach And Make More Friends.  When More People Are Included In Person’s Life He/She Grows More.  The More A Person Shares, More He/She Will Have.

Sunil’s father lost his job as the office was relocated.  The family of four children and home maker mother had to bear the brunt.  They had to change houses as they could not afford rent, children had to face the management of school as they were not able to pay fees, things in the house were sold for the sake of food for children.  One time Sunil got Rs. 200 for buying a cricket bat but his mother decided to buy food for family instead.  His favourite radio was also sold. 

He Provides Six Steps To Face Adversity:

1.  Choose Your Attitude;

2. Delay Gratification;

3. Keep Your Goal In Mind – No Excuses, Only Creative Solutions;

4. Get All Help You Can Get;

5. Keep Dreaming and

6. Aim High But Be Realistic.

As Sunil grew up, he was able to take tuitions for children and add to family resources.  When we are deprived of essentials, he says two things make us suffer.  First, we do not have what we need, which creates a void.  Second, we compare ourselves with others and have resentment.  His father did not want to take any job that would mean lesser salary.  So, the family continued to suffer.  He always wore dress that was altered or with a patch; so his friends named him ‘alter’.

He Provides Tips For Getting Ahead From Being Behind.

1.  Always Remember The Cardinal Rule – Life Can Get Unfair.  But You Have To Live It Anyway, So You Might Well Give It Your Best Shot. 

2.  If You Fight Adversity, It Becomes Your Friend.

3. You Can Either Prepare Kids For The Road Or Prepare The Road For The Kids. 

4.  Focus On Changing Yourself To Cope Effectively With The Situation.  Do Not Try To Change Others Even If They Are Reason For The Problems You Face. 

5.  Set Clear Goals For Yourself.

6.  Life Has A Script Of Its Own.  Never Underestimate Anyone, Or Assume Anything.

As young man, Sunil got into company of few bad friends.  Though warned, he did not heed.  He was craving for attention and love and did things which revealed that he was a rebel.  He was living like Jekyll and Hyde life.

He was always clear that he wanted to become a postgraduate. 

Sunil Robert Provides Tips For Making Dreams Come True.  

1. When Life Is Hard (Even If It Is Not) Reject The Status Quo And Aim Higher.

2. Dream Your Dream, Chalk Out A Plan Of Action, And Just Get Going. 

3.  Live As If Your Dreams Are Coming True And They Almost Always Will.  Follow Your Passion And Believe In Your Dreams. 

4.  Build Your Contacts And Turn Them As Your Friends.

Taking responsibility for our own life and helping others is the turning point of one’s life.  Chances and opportunities do not come with flashing neon lights, but camouflaged as problem.  Life gives us chances.  It is essential to think positive and find those chances.  Keeping eyes open to recognize those chances.  Then there is a need for courage to reach out to those chances.  Commitment plus hard work equals to success.

Sunil Robert Provides Four Steps To Build Network.

1.  Know What Constitutes Your ‘Universe’ Or Area Of Operation.

2.  Find The ‘Rendezvous Points’ Of Your Target.  Trail The Person In Whom You Are Interested In.

3.  Build Your Elevator Bridge – Who Are You And Why Are You Interested In That Person. 

4.  Follow Up On Your Meeting.  Call Or Email Him.  Keep The Heat On.

A Person Has To Reinvent Himself Many Times In Life.  Sunil Robert Provides Some Tips For That.

1. Stop  Whining, Start Winning. 

2.  Life Is Full Of Chances, Wake And Grab Them. 

3.  Choose Your Friends Wisely. 

4.  Find A Good Role Model; Then Be One Yourself. 

5.  Find A Larger-Than-Life Mission. 

6.  Go The Extra Mile.

Someone said; ‘There is no traffic jams on the extra mile.”  Life is like kite flying.  There are two important aspects:  Feel the wind and harness it.  Know the strength of the bamboo spine.

Sunil Robert Calls The Readers To Paint Their Own Silver Lining.

1.  When Life Gives You Lemons, Don’t Just Make Lemonade.  Put Up A Lemonade Stand, Then Write A Book And Give Lectures On How To Make Great Lemonade!.

2.  Whatever You Do, Be Motivated, Enthusiastic, And Passionate About It. 

3.  Start Building Your Skills, When You Are Young, And Cover A Wide Spectrum – Sport, Drama, Art, Social Work, Writing, Whatever…

4.  Learn Rules Of The Game.  Then Master The Rules Enough, To Start Bending Them.  If There Are No Clear Rules, Help Write Them. 

5.  Accumulate Little Trophies; They Add Up To The Big Ones. 

6.  Scrap The Safe Options.  Often They Inhibit You.  Be A ‘Positive Rebel’. 

7.  Learn To Ask For Help And Get All The Help You Can. 

8.  When You Are In Trouble – You Can Go Under Or Settle For Solution That Keep Your Head Above Quicksand Or Stare Trouble In The Eye And Don’t Give In.  Choose The Third Option. 

9.  Don’t Let Your Comfort Zone Become A Death Trap. 

10.  Build A Large Circle Of Friends. 

11.  Don’t Decide Without Considering The Trade-Offs.

Author comes to a place of fruitfulness and writes: “After years of humiliation, rejection and alienation for reasons beyond my control, I was now able to enjoy who I was, without being apologetic, about my background.” (p.131)

One Of The Keys Of Sunil Roberts Success Was His Network Of Relationships.  He Provides Twenty Tips To Build Great Relationships.

1.  Be Genuine.

2. Be Friendly.

3.  Disclose, Do Not Overwhelm.

4.  Ask The Right Questions. 

5.  Take The Initiative To Reach Out. 

6.  Find Common Interests. 

7.  Remember Names And Facts. 

8.  Build Relationships, Then You’ll Get What You Want.

9.  Ask For Help:  The Ones Who Move Ahead Gracefully Are Those Who Offer Help And Receive Help Equally Liberally. 

10. Offer Help. 

11.  Build Several Touch Points.  Read, Research, Ask Questions About The People Whom You Want To Get To Know. 

12.  Appreciate And Then Appreciate Again. 

13.  Network Furiously And Discreetly.  -  Life Can Be Lived To The Fullest If You Make As Many People As Possible Feel Good, And Allow Them To Be Part Of Your Life. 

14.  Connect The Dots. 

15. Use Technology To Stay Connected. 

16.  Sharpen Your Vision And Expand Your Outlook. 

17.  You Can Never Own What You Do Not Give Away. 

18.  Pick Yourself Up When You Are Dumped. 

19.  Always Apologize When The Need Arises.

20.  Think Flowers, Not Fists.

How To Climb To The Summit?

1.  Decide On Your Goal.  Michelangelo Said:  The Greatest Danger For Most Of Us Is Not That Our Aim Is Too High And We Miss It, But That It Is Too Low And We Reach It. 

2.  It’s Not About Earning; It’s About Yearning. 

3.  Get Busy Now, Wherever You Are. 

4.  Grab Every Opportunity That Comes Your Way. 

5.  Make Friends Everywhere, All The Time. 

6.  Never Take No For An Answer. 

7.  Find Inspiring Role Models. 

8.  Think Of Each Crisis As An Opportunity.  – Don’t Stop At Solving The Crisis.  See  If You Can Reap Any Positive Benefits From It For Yourself And For Your Organization.

In the last section Sunil Robert writes a letter to his son.  In that, he has several truths.  Some of them are:  Conflicts are inevitable, what matters is are we open to work through it.  You can only run as far as your shadow.  I cannot change my past, my identity and my roots and my nationality.  So embrace it.  Choice has consequences.  Based on prodigal stone parable Sunil writes to his son:  Every young man, I believe has to go through a journey of discovery away from home to find out who he really is, to test who his friends really are, and to uncover the love and legacy of a father.

This book is fabulous with lot of lessons for young people.  My wish is that every young person in India should read this book.  It would change a person drastically, dramatically and decisively. 

Book Review by Dr. J.N. Manokaran