Somehow, in today’s technology-ridden fast-paced world, the value of perseverance and integrity has become diluted. The worth of simple hard work gets eclipsed. What’s important is following through with what one believes in, even if it means taking “the road less travelled”. Michael Phelps’ No Limits: The Will to Succeed and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand have unsuspecting yet definitive ways of reminding us of these simple truths.
No Limits… gives an insight into how Phelps became an Olympic legend. At 23, he achieved an eight-medal, record-breaking performance at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. What I took away from this book was the importance of focus. The only attitude to have towards a goal, I have come to find, is pure determination. Phelps highlights the sacrifices, each of which emphasise the fact that the road to one’s goal may be a rocky one.
The Fountainhead is one of those clever books with a host of revelations. This book helped me realise that in order to truly find success and happiness, a rare combination, it’s important to stay true to oneself. The protagonist, Howard Roark, also struck a chord with me, especially his determination to create something of his own.
There have been other books, perhaps those more topical to my work, that have had an impact on me. But these two books left a lasting imprint that hold me in good stead, both in my professional and personal life.
Harshal J. Shah is CEO, Reliance Venture Asset Management
(Coordinated by Abhishek Raghunath)
(This story appears in the 28 January, 2011 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)