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Interview with Prakash Iyer

Post by: Deepti Khanna

For Prakash Iyer, the CEO of Kimberley Clark Lever, there is a winner inside every one of us. It is just a matter of realizing and acting upon. And to help Iyer share his experiences, he first began blogging and then contributing motivational and inspirational columns in Careers 360. Eventually, when Iyer realized that he was doing a good job at improving people’s success rates, he came out with a book titled The Habit of Winning that has some great stories on vision and goals, self belief, perseverance, winners’ mindsets, giving and hard work.

All the stories in the book are told passionately with an infectious enthusiasm that is sure to motivate you to get up and get going. Stories titled Anil Kumble; The Long Spoon and Short Of Life, Of Sharks, Pepsi and the Comfort Zone and Tyrone Bogues: Standing Tall impart very crucial lessons. Read on to know about this clear winner who believes in making others win too!

How did you think about writing a motivational book to help people succeed? Was it because you were toying with the idea for quite some time or was it a natural progression after the columns you wrote for Careers 360?
The idea of writing a book had been on my mind for a while. I was keen to write a book that could help people discover the winner inside themselves. I am convinced there is a winner inside each and every one of us - but he is hidden and suppressed! I started blogging, and then came the column in Careers 360. The response from readers was hugely encouraging, and it felt good to know that my writing was making a difference to other people's lives. That helped fast-track the book!

The stories in the collection are picked up from different walks of life. Be it business, cricket, balloons, kites, butterflies, you seemed to have picked a lesson or two from each one of them. How was this collection compiled?

I wanted to share key messages around themes like goal-setting, teamwork and leadership, hard work and perseverance and values and balance in life. I then put together stories from various arenas that helped convey the messages that I wanted to get across. I sometimes asked myself the question 'If I had  to share 50 stories with a young man - what would I tell him to help him lead a fuller, happier life?'

You have employed a very simple writing style. How did you develop it? What are the challenges associated with writing so simply.
I write the way I speak - so that might explain the simple style. I was keen to express my ideas in a simple uncomplicated easy-to-read way. The idea was to express my thoughts - and not to impress anyone! That might explain why there are no big words you need to look up in a dictionary. More importantly, I wanted this to be a book people would read - and not just keep on their bookshelf! I am not sure I can comment on the challenges asssociated with writing so simply. Even if I tried, I am not sure I could write any other way!

Making nonfiction interesting and non preachy is a difficult task. How did that come about?
I enjoyed writing The Habit of Winning - and I guess the enjoyment shows! The intention was not to write a book that says "That's the only way to do it!" I just wanted to share stories and ideas that made a difference to my life - and the hope was that they would make a difference to the reader's life too.

Have you begun working on your next? If yes, what is it about?
Yes, there are a couple of interesting ideas swimming in my head. They are in a similar space - intended to help each of us become the person we were meant to be!

Which is your favourite book? Why?
I read a lot of non-fiction - and almost always find something to like in whatever I read! Hard to pick a favourite - but I particularly enjoy books that draw lessons from sport for the larger game of life (like Bounce, Open, It's not about the bike...). And I am a fan of Dan Ariely and Malcolm Glawell and their research-led approach to understanding human behaviour. Brian Tracy's Maximum Achievement is an old favourite. And an aunt has been urging me to read the Bhagwad Gita and the Upanishads - so in a sense the best is perhaps yet to come!

Any advice to aspiring writers.

Get down to writing. Don't just think about it. Do it. Too many of us spend our lifetimes thinking about writing, wanting to write. That's a poor substitute for actually writing. Go on, start on that blockbuster book - today!

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