“The Winning Way” by Harsha and Anita Bhogle – Book Review

I have often heard people say that there needs to be a plan and one has to implement it, in order to be at the right place at the right time. I beg to differ what happened on 28th Dec 2015. We had completely forgotten that we had “planned” to visit V.J.T.I. for a guest talk. Before you get bored and hit the back button, the guest talk was from none other than Mr. Harsha Bhogle and Ms. Anita Bhogle. It was just one phone call from my friend, Rajat and his usual dialogue – ‘aaj nahi toh kabhi nahi’ (now or never) made me visit it, cancelling everything I had on my plate (workwise). Getting in and occupying a seat for the talk was going to be a challenge as we saw an unending queue to enter the Auditorium. But, thanks to our ‘Alumni’ status, and our friend, Mikin, we managed to secure a seat in the 3rd row. So finally, after all the years of hearing Harsha Bhogle on television, after all the cricket shows he was a part of and after all the years of hearing some mind blowing analysis of the game, here we were, witnessing Mr. Harsha Bhogle live!  Trust me; he is more awesome than we hear him when he is commenting on cricket. He has some kind of gift which makes the audience listen and understand in easy and simple terms. His witty and funny anecdotes made us enjoy as well as understand what he was trying to convey throughout his talk.

Bhogle at the talk at VJTI

Anita Bhogle and Harsha Bhogle delivering a talk on ‘ The Winning Way’ at V.J.T.I.                                 (Photo Credits: Jenil Shah, V.J.T.I.)

The Bhogles’ spoke about their famous corporate workshop called “The Winning way” and also a book titled the same. The day this talk was announced at V.J.T.I., I started reading the book which was sitting in my cabinet for long. Though I couldn’t finish the book before the talk, I completed it after getting inspired to finish it on the 28th itself and decided to write a review of the book.

The book is an expansion of what was covered in the talk. It is a marriage of learnings from sports and corporate (Literally, Sports – Harsha; Corporate – Anita) life coming from their experience. I have heard about many books on winning, read a couple of them too, but rarely has a book discussed the dos and don’ts after winning. This book being the sole exception for as it smartly puts across that ‘winning once’ is not enough. Winning is like a cycle where the eventual milestone is nothing but ‘win more’.

I, like millions of Indians, hate the Australian way of cricket. We hate that they almost always win and their brash way to look at this sport (or any other for that matter). But this book completely changed my perspective on this topic and I actually admire their way of play cricket more than before. This book explains that the Australian attitude is a single factor which has led to their rise in the late 90’s and their domination in all formats of the game. One has to accept that it is their way of playing which has worked very well for them.

The book is filled with anecdotes and the one I particularly liked is – ‘Successful people discover they have more relatives and friends than they thought they had’. Another one which had to make the cut was ‘Sachin Tendulkar should run a course on how to keep your feet on the ground and focus on your work. Perhaps it should be made compulsory for young managers as well’.

Towards the end of the book, type of leaders are beautifully explained by studying the pattern of the Indian Captains for last the 15 years. Sourav Ganguly is called as the war-time captain where he managed to pull the cricket team from the match fixing crisis and make it a force to reckon with, especially overseas. When it was peacetime in 2006, Dravid, who is called as the peace-time captain took over. This specific example reminds me of The Batman series by Christopher Nolan which has exceptional dialogues and the last installment has the dialogue – “Gordon is going to be fired because it is peace time in Gotham and nobody needs a war time leader around”.

This book really shows the rigorous research and reading these two authors have done before writing it. They have skillfully used the quoted multiple sports authors. This certainly gave me a list of my future book reviews. In books like these, there is a lot to learn for the readers from the experience of the authors. Similarly, every chapter has takeaways which are listed at the end in form of a list. This will definitely give the readers higher retention in terms of recalling and implementing them in our life successfully. ‘The Winning Way’, a collection of short cases linking corporate world and sports is truly recommended for the sports loving or business minded people.

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