Book Review: DareDreamers by Kartik Sharma & Ravi ‘Nirmal’ Sharma

Rating: 4/5

I’ve found this book to be unique in many different ways. Firstly, it has been authored by a father-son duo but nowhere in the book do you find any disjointedness that would make this fact apparent. Secondly, the book deals with the theme of “following your heart” in a realistic manner without taking unusual flights of fantasy.

Sure, the idea of a “startup of superheroes” is the stuff of fantasy. But the Sharmas go into great length to detail the growing pains of establishing a startup — finding the funds, pitching to clients, scaling sustainably, remaining competitive, and negotiating talks with bigger players who try to intimidate the upstarts.

I understand Ravi Sharma is a serial entrepreneur, so he knows the ropes better than most of us. I’d like to thank him for teaching us some stellar lessons about entrepreneurship through this book. It will surely be useful to people who can’t quite get themselves to plod through heavy business tomes.

The prologue sets the tone for the rest of the narrative and it made me look forward to what the “rabbit” decides to do instead of mindlessly run the race. At that point, I was wondering if it was going to be an imaginative story about a group of people pretending to be “superheroes” or if “startup of superheroes” was a metaphor for a rags-to-riches story.

Anyhow, I was hooked from the first page and I felt my emotions rise and sink with the fortunes of Rasiq and his team of “superheroes.” While the stunts performed by the DareDreamers is best confined to the pages of a book or the 70 mm screen, the underlying lessons were important.

How does one deal with constant rejection by potential clients?

How does one prop up the flagging morale of a team?

How can one scale without compromising on quality?

And so on…

Rasiq’s father adds moments of much-needed humor in the narrative and I found myself breaking into smiles despite the tense atmosphere. He often reacts like the typical Indian middle-class father–horrified at his son quitting a high-paying job–but he also has his inspired moments, such as when he offers to fund Rasiq’s startup by selling his property although he doesn’t quite believe it will work.

Also noteworthy is the detailed description of life as an investment banker at a prestigious firm in Mumbai, which is, no doubt, enriched by Kartik’s real-life experience.

The first few chapters are a study in contrast–the all-welcoming nature of Mumbai city with the nastiness of mentors and bosses and the never-ending grind of a newbie investment banker who struggles to juggle work and social life with the more relaxed life of the childhood sweetheart who prefers to spend more and more time with her friends and less with Rasiq.

In fact, “Rasiq” is derived from the names of the co-authors Ravi and Kartik.

The rest of the book follows the entrepreneurial journey of Rasiq who teams up with a bunch of talented people to offer safety solutions for corporates and other organizations. In the process, the DareDreamers, as they call their startup, have a run-in with the dominant player, G-force. The owner of G-force, Rakeysh Aurora, also has an unpleasant personal history with one of the DareDreamers, which makes him malicious and he nearly succeeds in destroying Rasiq’s life.

I could go on and on but I don’t want to give away any of the plot points and ruin the book for you.

Do get yourself a copy from Amazon and enjoy!

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