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How To Become A Billionaire By Selling Nothing: Book Review

Whoa! Did I read the title correct? Sell “Nothing”? Definitely the name caught my imagination sooner than I’d thought.

How To Become A Billionaire By Selling Nothing (HTBABBSN) is a piece of beauty by Aditya Magal aka the Fake Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Try googling this name and you’ll find a Wikipedia page stating RJ is an equity investor in India, who manages his own portfolio as a partner in his asset management firm, Rare Enterprises. But wait! You find out about a parody blog which will greet you with the message – “I always knew I was going to be rich. I never doubted it for a minute”

The minute I sat down to start HTBABBSN, I was blown away by the exotic and overweening introduction of the man himself – the creator, the sustainer, the destroyer – RJ! Pardon the superlatives, but this book is full of them and yet somehow, it feels right to have used them in wholesale.  The entire euphoria of the book revolves around the man whom the world worships and the “awesomeness” that is the larger-than-life brand RJ.  The course of the book is set towards an exhilarating ride into the amusing and beguiling world of RJ and the chain of events that follow which will leave you in splits.

The story starts with a bamboozled RJ trying to figure out the investment proposal of a cocky and insane Ramakant Shastri – a man with a plan to sell “Nothing”. RJ quickly writes him off with a cheque of Rs 1 lakh for psychological treatment. But he soon comes to know that this money has been already investment in the production of “Nothing” and RJ already has a stake in it. The story that unfurls thereafter, sends you tizzying into the realms of lunacy of this business and the wild chase to validate the existence of such a product. What’s more hilarious is that company selling this god-product gets sued by another one who think it is a stark plagiarism of their idea. Insane!

In this chaotic perplexity of the book about a product called “Nothing”, the reader finds a strange method to all madness. How people get the drive to sustain a business – at any cost, the value of a nonexistent commodity which has sent the market into frenzy and the human nature of being opportunistic at the drop of  hat is captured beautifully. Ego, deceit and lies – is it really necessary after all? Well maybe a good dose of sarcasm and a handful of spoofs will try to help you decide. Some real life personalities too take a mild blow of the medicine the author has prescribed in his book.

Overall, this is a book that can be taken up, read and you’ll probably say to yourself while turning to the next page – ‘Well, this is interesting…’ It is laced up with good humor, although a bit redundant sometimes, but still makes up good with the plot. I still think it a quite a big read for a parody (370+ pages), but then – Hey! Keep it coming as long as it is interesting. You’ll probably get a few gems in one-liners here and there, which has been the trademark of Aditya (followed his blog 😉 )

Don’t miss this book if you really need a day off from that busy day at the office or your college

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