Book Review: Give To Get By Vishal Agarwal

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The author of Give To Get, Vishal Agarwal has seen and been in the full cycle of the corporate world. Starting off as an intern then working his way up in one of the big four firms and he is now currently the CEO of his own firm. In his book, he talks and gives tips suitable for those in managerial positions in their firms or even those that are planning on expanding their careers upwards.

Reading books that are full of personal experiences have a way of illuminating the reading experience. There is truly something inspiring about reading someone’s story involving the ups and downs and in this case, of the corporate world. In as much as one person’s story is not everybody’s, we sure cannot deny the words from Vishal Agarwal who has had 24 years of experience in the corporate world. He writes on means and ways of surviving and climbing the corporate ladder. In as much as his experience is with top-tier corporations, his sentiments are to be valid and extremely across the board.

Vishal has a perspective that I believe is useful for anyone seeking the ropes of the corporate world. Experience is the best teacher and Vishal has lots of it that he is sharing in this book.  What stood out for me was this passage:

While the strategies and information in this book are equally effective for executives of both genders, I also recognize that there is an additional layer of complexity and nuance that women executives must navigate and manage throughout their corporate careers. Being a man, I realize that I can’t begin to address the topic without sounding patronizing.”

We live in a world where everyone needs to start recognizing their privilege because this is the only way we will be accepting of others and quite honestly, letting them tell their stories for themselves. Vishal recognizes that his book is useful to every executive but admits that, there are things he cannot address.

The book tackles various significant corporate issues that are not usually commonly addressed. How to overcome burnout is extensively discussed in this short book. Vishal starts off with an illustration that he is an involved father in his children’s lives which does send a message to the top executives that it is possible to try and balance both work and family. What’s better than to show by example?

From the title, one might assume that it is a book teaching you how to manipulate your way up but it isn’t. This is a book focused on the social aspect of how one can successfully personalize their work such that it is mutually beneficial for both parties. Vishal addresses his ideas humanely from dealing with who takes the credit to when one is feeling underutilized. Ladies and gentleman making your way up the corporate ladder or those that are already up, I believe you will find a bible in this book. Incredible stories are told and shared of various corporation heads and how they made it there. Vishal’s examples are inclusive and well thought out hence incredibly relevant

In my head, I am pretty sure when Vishal was writing the book he also understood that his target audience has very little time to spare as the book is short, brief and interesting. My e-book version is only 148 pages so it is easily squeezable into your tight schedule. It will be worth your time and to use Vishal’s example, you will Give your time and you will Get insights valuable for the better part of your career. His voice and ideas are worth your time for many reasons but most importantly because of his experience. GE and PwC are multinational corporations and he has navigated through them, he admits it’s not easy but it is doable.

 

Vishal Agarwal image from givetogetbook.com

Kelvin Karanja writes, “A book like this, you read with a curious mind, the mind of a child sitting on a grandfather’s feet by the fireplace listening to the wisdom of ages, tales of valour or mockery or experiences and experiences cannot be beautified, instead they are served fresh and reflectively, it is a narrative you cannot change. It is a lived story.” And I cannot disagree because it is definitely a book with nuggets of wisdom that takes all of us years to accumulate on our own but Vishal has already done it for us.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon in both soft and hard copies. It is also available on Jumia Kenya as a hard copy. Grab yourself one.

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