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Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life Hardcover – December 28, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on the course Creativity and Personal Mastery that Rao teaches at Columbia Business School and Long Island University, this Buddhism-inspired self-help book promises readers the tools to effect fundamental life changes and find inner peace. At its heart, this is a case of Eastern philosophy leading Western MBAs along the path to self-improvement and corporate enlightenment, with a kinder and more productive working world as the ultimate goal. Rao narrates with waves of parables ("When you have one eye so firmly fixed on the goal, you have but one eye left to find the way") and introspection exercises—all designed to help executives find "effervescent joy" and discover their "purpose in life." Rao's techniques require an open mind and a belief in a "benevolent Universe" and in the notion that the negative things that happen to people are more often a matter of errant mindset and misinterpretation than reality. Will any of this actually lead readers to a higher level of self-enlightenment and make them happier at work and in life? As Rao writes, regarding the possibility of a universe that looks out for the well-being of its denizens: "Maybe yes, maybe no. Who knows?" (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"It is a forum for self-exploration, meant to help future business leaders define their personal ethics and goals." -- New York Times

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition edition (December 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401301932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401301934
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Srikumar Rao is a speaker, former business school professor, and head of The Rao Institute, based out of New York. He created the singularly powerful course Creativity and Personal Mastery, which he has taught at a number of leading business schools, including Columbia and the London Business School.

Creativity and Personal Mastery (CPM) is based on ancient wisdom traditions, which Dr. Rao has adapted for modern-day business executives and corporations. He states "CPM can be a powerful transformative experience, and it works because it's based on the ideas of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of the world." The course is designed to change lives, promoting contemplation, self-inquiry, fulfillment, passion, and joy. The unique approach of CPM is unlike typical corporate/business course offerings, and the rewards are deeply meaningful and enduring.

Hundreds of professionals across the corporate world have been altered by CPM; alumni include executives from Google, Microsoft, Merrill Lynch, McDonald's, Chubb, IBM, United Airlines, Allstate, Johnson & Johnson, and others. CPM has had a thriving alumni association since Dr. Rao taught the course at Columbia.

Dr. Rao has authored two books, Are You Ready to Succeed and Happiness at Work, as well as the audio course The Personal Mastery Program, both of which are bestsellers and have been translated into a number of languages. He has received wide media coverage and acclaim, including features in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The London Times, The Independent, Time, Financial Times, Fortune, Business Week, The Guardian, and Forbes; he has also been a speaker for TED, Leading@Google, and Thinkers 50 interview. Dr. Rao has been a contributing editor for Forbes and a featured author for many other publications.

Dr. Rao received his Ph.D. in Marketing from Columbia University, and worked as an executive for Warner Communications, Continental Group, Data Resources and McGraw Hill.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Peele on January 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It will be fairly difficult for me to give an unbiased review of Are You Ready to Succeed, as the course on which it's based set me upon a path of growth and self-discovery and allowed me for first time to know true fulfillment. For this, I feel immense gratitude, incapable of expression with words. I'll divide this review into two parts: 1. The effect the wisdom and exercises within the book had on my life and 2. My feelings about the book itself.

Prior to taking Creativity and Personal Mastery, the course upon which the book is based, I was an obnoxious, mechanistic, sociopathic prince of capitalism. I viewed wealth as a means to exert dominance over others, as well as a vehicle to procure hedonic bliss. I found a happy home for this way of thinking in the world of investment banking, venture capital and startups. I drank, drugged, womanized, broke the law; I created a world in which those without a similar plunderer-type mentality were weak and destined to be dominated. At the beginning of the course, I had been fired twice, totally four cars, been arrested in five states and inflicted emotional harm on countless females. I didn't read; I thought introspection was for meek, those incapable of enjoying the finer things in life. In short, I was miserable - a gerbil on wheel of chemical and emotional highs, a slave to the influence of my fellow "pirate" peers. You could say I was ready for a change.

The course had several effects upon me. There are too many to list, so I will detail only four.

The first is the notion that the universe is benevolent, a partner in creating not only fulfilling personal endeavors, but a brighter future. The second is that I have an opportunity to be truly happy, i.e.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Josh Klenoff on January 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was "ready to succeed" but didn't have the tools. My ivy league schooling and decades in the school of hard knocks failed to give me what this book did: tools that INSTANTLY took me from where I was to where I wanted to be.

I went from stress to bliss, from taking for granted to immense appreciation, from nervous to confident, from unhealthy to in shape. Most of all, I went from from total confusion to my dream job.

I always wanted to be able to give speeches in public. There was only one problem-- my greatest fear was public speaking. In the book, Rao offers an exercise called "As-If's."

Three days afer stumling upon this exercise, I had to give a speech. I felt amazing. People complimented me left and right. To make a long story short, I'm now a corporate trainer and executive coach. I'm living my dream of traveling the globe speaking on topics I'm competely passionate about.

On every level, this book can and will change your life. I'm so grateful for the author's wisdom, I'll PERSONALLY offer a money-back guarantee for anyone who doesn't love this book!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tricia Molloy on June 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are so many wonderful "aha's!" in this enlightening book. These profound concepts, intricate stories and thoughtful exercises will change the way you look at life. Some were new to me and others were good reminders.

Here are a few of my favorites.

You can cultivate a Witness to help you objectively observe your life and break free of bad habits, replacing them with ones that serve your highest good.

Everyone acts in their own self interest. Understanding that at a deep level is liberating.

Surrender is a good thing. Once you give up the illusion of control and detach from the outcome, remarkable things transpire.

Srikumar Rao is a wise man with a big heart. He sees us at our best and supports us on our journey to succeed.
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Format: Hardcover
"Life is short. And uncertain. It is like a drop of water skittering around on a lotus leaf. You never know when it will drop off and disappear. So each day is too precious to waste. And each day that you are not radiantly alive and brimming with cheer is a day wasted"

Who wouldn't be interested in what this man has to say, right? You'd have to lack a pulse not to want - better, profoundly yearn for - the life affirming perspective and deep joy in being alive he describes.

But have you or I got the vision, guts and discipline to commit to what it's going to take? That's the central question this book poses on every glorious and uplifting page.

Like Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits", Rao proposes that meaningful change happens from the inside out: You'll recall Covey's first 3 habits are about "Personal Victory".

This book is more powerful because it doesn't deal with practices - "habits" - for cognitive behavioural change, like Covey. No, Rao challenges the fundamental fabric of our life experience: our very consciousness.

In one sound bite, the rallying cry of this book is: "live a conscious life".

I'm excited by this. As someone who has lived in a coma - mindlessly propelled by the "conveyor belt of life" - and has jumped off, this resonates very deeply with me.

But this isn't a quick fix. Rao invites you on a very tough spiritual journey that will last a life time.

Brutally simplified, he invites you to become conscious of your self-limiting, self-defeating models of the world, your judgmental critical dialogue, and to develop insight to shift these, partly using the meditative practice of mindfulness.
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