Arise, Awake Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Arise, Awake will inspire you to move forward with your entrepreneurial dreams by sharing the inspirational stories of six Indian entrepreneurs and the lessons they learned on the path to success.

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Economically, the center of gravity in the world is changing eastward. India is one of the champions of this change. The country has 1.3 billion people and an economy that’s growing at over 5% annually. These results are due in large part to a growing new generation of entrepreneurs in the country. 

While numbers are impressive, stories are what truly motivates people to action. And what better way to find that inspiration than hearing the stories of six young Indian entrepreneurs? This is what Rashmi Bansal’s Arise, Awake: The Inspiring Stories of Young Entrepreneurs Who Graduated From College Into a Business of Their Own is all about. 

You’ll be impressed to learn the many innovative ways these individuals started and grew their companies. Along the way you’ll also learn a powerful lesson or two that will help your business efforts as well. 

Here are the 3 most motivating lessons that I learned about entrepreneurship:

  1. Pay attention to serendipitous experiences, they are great sources for your entrepreneurial desires to flourish.
  2. If your first business idea fails, don’t give up, your experience is vital to making your next venture succeed. 
  3. Determination combined with thinking outside of the box will help you start your business even when it seems impossible to do. 

Get your business ideas ready, because after this you’re going to want to go out and make them happen! Let’s go!

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Lesson 1: Dream big, work hard and pay attention when luck comes your way.

One day, in a dorm room in India, a few college students found themselves discussing what they’d do with their lives. Sourabh Bansal excitedly wrote 50 billion rupees on the wall. He exclaimed that was the amount his business would be worth someday. 

As luck would have it, Bansal’s dad was the owner of a factory. They manufactured a substance called quicklime that was part of concrete blocks. Looking for business opportunities while helping at the factory, Bansal one day saw a large order for a special type of block. After some research, he found that this particular product was larger and lighter than standard concrete bricks. The only problem was that it was really expensive. That’s where he got his idea. 

Bansal knew that if he could find a way to lower the cost of the blocks he’d be well on his way to 50 billion rupees. After starting his company, experimenting, and receiving a 100 million rupee investment, he finally discovered a way. His process cut costs by 60 percent and the company grew consistently. 

After just six years the company, now called Magicrete Building Solutions, was making 1.5 billion rupees per year. Bansal was well on his way to his goal because of his willingness to accept an opportunity when it came his way. You never know where luck may come from, so keep your eyes and ears open!

Lesson 2: Although failure is bitter, it holds the seeds to future business success.

Have you ever heard of lassi? It’s a special Indian drink with yogurt, spices, salt, and water. In 2009 a new kind of flavored lassi popped up. Prabhkiran Singh felt inspiration strike when he tried his first flavored lassi, and started his first business selling them. 

Singh was a student at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay at the time. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. But he did know that he wanted to work for himself. Khadke Glassi, which sold more modern versions of lassi, was his first go at being his own boss. 

The business saw some success and even opened a second location. It was all going well until the company went from selling 50 glasses a day to just five only because of the weather. Khadke Glassi closed in September 2010, just a few months after it began. Little did Singh know how much this failure would impart critical lessons for his next venture. 

Still in the process of closing his first company, Singh noticed a friend of his working on a website he called Bewakoof. Deciding to partner with this buddy, he started selling t-shirts to promote the website. Wanting to sell more shirts, the pair needed capital, but investors were wary. Singh’s first failed attempt gave him a thick skin, which helped him persist after a lot of rejection. It all paid off in the end when the company got their funding. By 2014 the company, now called Bewakoof Brands, was making over 500 million rupees!

Lesson 3: Utilizing unconventional methods will help you persevere through challenges to get your venture off the ground.

When Anurag Arora began studying at ICFAI Business Schoole in Pune, Maharashtra, he found his accomodations lacking in many areas. The building was run-down and the hot water didn’t even work! The man was fed up with the situation and moved into an apartment with some friends just three days later. 

As Arora continued his schoolwork, he noticed would-be students asking questions about their living quarters on the Facebook page of the university. Knowing that they’d be just as frustrated as he was with the poor quality of the dorms, Arora decided to open one of his own. His efforts at school to be a good student helped as it gave him credibility when he pitched his idea to the school.

With the green light from the school, he enthusiastically began his efforts. He worked hard getting in touch with apartment brokers and looking into possible locations. The only problem was that Arora didn’t have any money to get his first one. Thinking quickly, he set up his own residence to show off how nice the living accommodations would be for students. 

It wasn’t until after his first client committed and paid the 56,000 rupee annual fee that Arora purchased his first five apartments. With more places to sell he made more money, which he reinvested in purchasing more rooms. His business quickly snowballed into a huge success. Be a fast and outside of the box thinker and you will find similar results in your ventures as well.

Arise, Awake Review

Wow, Arise, Awake has some really interesting and inspiring stories! I really enjoyed hearing some of the experiences these Indian entrepreneurs had starting their businesses. This is a great book that I think is a must read for everyone that would like to be their own boss!

Who would I recommend the Arise, Awake summary to?

The 22-year-old college student who is fed up with the ineffectiveness of their classes, the 45-year-old who’s itching to try out their new business idea, and anyone who wants to work for themselves.

Last Updated on August 25, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.