He is a prominent educationist, management practitioner, motivational speaker and a writer with various books under his belt. He writes on topics like motivation, leadership, success and his books have been translated in more than 8 languages. He has also written a series of school books on the topic of Emotional Intelligence and Value Education which are being introduced in schools this year. He has also started a PG Management institution in Pune called MILE (Management Institute of Leadership and Excellence) with the aim of developing next generation managers with excellent leadership skills for our country. It is our pleasure to present an interview with Mr Virender Kapoor.
Please tell us more about the kind of books that you write.
Writing is my Passion and I love it. I started writing on technology and did one book on Information systems and another on telecom. I then shifted focus towards human behavior I have written books on motivation, success, work life balance, passion, Emotional Intelligence, Jugaad attitude and leadership. I am lucky that my books are now available in seven regional languages and a foreign language- Vietnamese. Japanese, Chinese and Arabic are on the cards.
Do you also write books for school children?
I have very recently developed a school books series on Emotional Intelligence published by Macmillan. It is titled “I can and I will”. This is being introduced in schools from the academic year 2013. It will take care of the modern day problems of Suicide, depression and juvenile crime that we are all struggling with. Let me clarify one thing for the readers that EI is a superset of Value education- which means it includes all the aspects of Value education and delivers much more than what is covered till now in the Value Education curriculum as we see it.
You are a man who wears many hats. You are into education and management and you speak and write on various subjects like motivation, leadership, success, emotional intelligence etc. How do you manage so many things at the same time?
I feel passion drives you and that is the bottom line. I chose education, though corporate world was also a viable and well paying option for a person like me. Subjects listed above are actually closely connected to each other and all deal with human excellence- and that is what I love to experiment with. In my opinion, a writer is like an actor. If you are a good actor you should be able to switch between negative and positive roles easily. You should not be type casted or genere-ized (let me coin a new word) as in genre. In fact if you are serious about writing and committed towards creating good content for the sake of posterity then it becomes very easy to do several things together.
You have degrees in various subjects like management, computer science and International relations and strategic studies. How is it that you are interested in so many varied subjects?
As I said earlier- I experiment. Most people go for technology and management combo. I took an extra step and studied humanities or social sciences as well. You know in the western education system, they make every student go through some credits in Liberal Arts- especially engineers. That is nothing but humanities and softer side of human knowledge. It makes you a more wholesome person. I found this subject very fascinating as it exposes you to an area you never had a chance to visit. Now in my institute MILE, at PG level Management courses, I have introduced liberal arts which every student has to go through. This kind of exposure has helped me improve my writing style and helped me improve my books in terms of content.
What got you interested in a subject like emotional intelligence?
Frankly, there was no one trigger as such. About fifteen years back there was some mention of Emotional Intelligence in and around management studies. I started reading about it and found it to be all encompassing- a subject we all need from KG to PG. Today there are suicides, divorces, stress and lack of resilience and even emotional disconnect between people. This allows you to delve into all these areas of concern. In addition there is no doubt that EI is more important for success than any other competence. There is still so much to be discovered about Emotional Intelligence and that makes it more exciting.
Have you always been interested in writing? When did you decide you wanted to write books?
I started writing some good stuff from the beginning of 90’s when I started writing short articles called “ Middles” for Times of India and Hindustan Times. This was very reassuring and I realized that my style of writing has been accepted by the people. I started writing books in 1993 when I wrote two books on Technology. I shifted my focus to motivation, success and Human behavior by the end of 90’s.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I mostly read fiction and self help books. I have read History and Philosophy but not much.
Are there any particular writers that have inspired you to write?
I have read a number of authors who write in different styles. I feel one learns from every book one reads. I have read Lee Iacocca, Dale Carnegie, Arthur Hailey, Ken Follet, Fredrick Forsyth, Dan Brown , Jeffrey Archer , Ayn Rand and even Ian Fleming or James Hadley Chase and many more. All of them inspire me.
Your last book was called “Rise and Rise of Jugaad” published by Matrix Publishers . What exactly are you trying to say through the book?
Jugaad is an ‘attitude of survival’. As Indians, we got our freedom in very peculiar circumstances- the country was divided into two. There was chaos all over. Each individual or a family had to learn to survive! As they say survival of the fittest- Nah- it is the survival of the smartest. Jugaad has two aspects- the physical manifestation ie making physical things through contraptions like a make shift tractor. There are some articles / material on this but I am talking of psychological manifestation of Jugaad which is to do only with your attitude. Infact this book MUST BE READ by all MBAs or people getting into jobs. This is nothing but “Street Smart MBA” kind of an approach. How else do you survive in a chaotic, unpredicle world of today? Last but not the least I am talking about Ethical Jugaad- there is nothing unethical about what approach I take. It has about fifty plus jugadoo ideas which are just ready to be used on day to day basis.
You have written a book on Leadership and you have also started a management institute for leadership and excellence. According to you, how important a quality is leadership for success and how do you develop leadership skills through your institute?
In fact leadership is more to do with collective success than individual success. Leadership implies a group of people. You must have people else whom will you lead to a goal or success? Also leadership is an art and not a science, it can be taught in a class room at a very basic level but you must practice. This book has 55 leadership lessons- each very practical and doable. At MILE- Management Institute of Leadership and Excellence we have taken several concrete steps to give students the feel of ‘hands on Leadership’. This includes induced stress, guest lectures, Out bound programs and much more. This helps in building tremendous confidence, bonding and ability to work under stress as teams. Team work and sometimes being the captain and on other occasions being a team mate is something one must learn so as to become a part of the DNA. We are making lot of efforts towards reading habits. Of course there are leadership subjects which are taught by very seasoned faculty from the industry covering the basic tenets of the subject.
Any motivational tips you would like to leave our readers with?
Books actually empower you to build your intellectual capital. All those who want to do well in life and need to improve their communication skills must read books regularly. No crash courses will ever get you there .Books will. Read all types of books, develop your taste for fiction, mystery, thrillers and history… it pays in the long run. Invest in books and make a small personal library- will reward you more than an investment in a wardrobe!
We would like to thank Mr Kapoor for taking some time out of his busy schedule for this interview with us and we wish him all the best for his future endeavors.
His Works :