I met serial entrepreneur, Rajesh Setty about two months ago as a result of an introduction from a friend. I went into the first meeting with Raj cold, having been referred in the morning and meeting in the afternoon and we hit it off straight away. After 30 minutes of intense conversation, I felt like I had know Raj for years. In that meeting, Rajesh demonstrated his new product to me, and after we were one minute into the demonstration, I had an Ah-ha moment and Rajesh had an OEM partner in me – I could use the technology he and his co-founder had developed to solve a messaging development problem I was working on.

I’m Upbeat about Upbeat

During our second meeting, he gave me a copy of a little yellow coveredupbeat book, which he wrote in 2009, called “Upbeat: Cultivating the Right Attitude to Thrive in Tough Times“.

Prior to our the second meeting I checked out Rajesh’s personal Web page and read his extraordinary story.

If you haven’t seen the movie “Slumdog Millionaire“, it’s a wonderful story about the experience of an Indian boy who escapes the desperate poverty and circumstance of being born in the slums of Bombay. His story is told through his travels and his life is enriched by his experiences (good and bad), where he acquires a general knowledge well beyond his station that he ultimately uses to complete the journey of a hero and win a million dollars TV show quiz game formatted on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. That is fiction, but it’s a good story.

Rajesh Setty writes fiction and he writes a good story. His own story is a worthy and compelling read. Rajesh had read several hundred books by the time he was 9 years old, when he decided to try his hand at writing his own book. I know people who have read hundreds of books in their first 10 years, but I don’t know anyone who wrote their first book at 9 years of age and despite 150 rejection letters, finally got it published at age 13.

Rajesh has written dozens more since in both a serious business tone, as well many fiction books in the crime mystery genre, however the fiction works were written in India and have not been translated into English.

A Small, But Powerful Gift

When Rajesh gave me his little book, I thanked him, put it in my bag and opened it in bed that night for a quick read before going sleep. That quick read turned into an hour and a monologue with my wife, punctuated with quotes, exclamations and references to particular insights and points of brilliance.

I have reread it twice since and feel compelled to write this review. Even though this book was written and published in 2009, as a shot in the arm for the general population feeling shell-shocked and helpless in the recession,
timeless and relevant now, as it was then.

“Upbeat” is a slim volume of 90 pages, you should be able to read it in an hour or so, but don’t let size fool you, it’s packed with practical wisdom from someone who is in the field and current, an entrepreneur taking risks in the arena and relishing the spoils and disappointments that life brings. If you’ve read Viktor Frankl and like Seth Godin’s writing and thinking, you’ll like what Rajesh has to say.

Rajesh suggests “For those of you who are thinking about doing something and you have been sitting on the sidelines, here is my $0.02 – if you want to grow at breathtaking speed and become someone that you will be proud of, the marketplace and the World has provided an opportunity again. Get off the wall and jump in.”

The book is about personal growth and the daily decisions and attitudes that we take that determine our short and long term future. Broken into 5 main chapters; The Trap, The Discipline, The Network, The Strategy and The Actions, each section has subsection headings like; The Daily Conversations, I Need a Shortcut, Be Accountable to Yourself, You Better Get “Better” Help, and Spend Less and Spend More.

The nuggets of wisdom in these paragraphs can only come from reading widely and playing the game at the highest level and they inspire you to think hard about some of the choices you make every day.

Rajesh writes, “I Need a ShortCut, – The paradox in life is that shortcuts always take longer and or/cost more – though it has not prevented people from trying them all the time.” How true this is… in our popular American culture, we are taught winning is everything – no prizes for second, (what happened to being in the arena and playing the game with a straight bat?).

This distorted thinking creates a “do whatever it takes” approach to winning. What comes from this thinking is an inevitable fork in the road; the hard way or the shortcut – one of my former hero’s Lance Armstrong is our current poster-boy for the short-cut….who’s next – everyone’s favorite runner?

Rajesh Setty’s little yellow book “Upbeat” is a timeless tonic for anyone interested in playing the game (of life) at a higher level than they are currently and is highly recommended. You can order it here.