Business Reviews

‘Spring: Bouncing Back from Rejection’ review: With a spring in his step

Tomes have been written on how to make yourself successful, how to be a great leader or be stupendous at work and so on. But how many volumes are there on rejection and how to handle it, bounce back, face life with greater equanimity and resilience? Author Ambi Parameswaran had his moment of epiphany when he addressed a university audience in Bhopal. While the students were rather unmoved by his talk on leadership lessons and how to be a successful marketer, a young girl piped up that it was all very fine, but the students were more worried about rejection in the big wide world and how to handle it.

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Teaching resilience

That sparked off an idea for a book on rejection and failure and how to spring back from it as a better individual or at least better equipped to handle it. For Spring, Ambi delved into many books on resilience, on optimism and winning habits, apart from a whole host of articles and research papers that he quotes from to buttress his points. The book is interspersed with engrossing stories and anecdotes from his own working career, as well as from myriad other people from all walks of life — from Olympic athletes to retired IAS officers to reputed academics and veteran CEO coaches, and makes for compelling reading, without being weighed down by the gravity of the subject.

As Ambi admits, while there is no magic potion to handle rejection, as each individual is hardwired differently, he says everyone can develop an inner mechanism, akin to a spring, to bounce back and face adversity. The book is organised in three parts: anticipating and facing rejection; processing and recovering and learning and progressing after rejection. Ambi talks about many famous personalities who faced innumerable rejections on the road to fame. Writer J.K. Rowling is one such, who was rejected by 12 publishers. When Rowling was writing her first Harry Potter book, she was divorced, bankrupt and on welfare. Finally, when she found a publisher, she was told that she should get a proper job as there was no money to be made in children’s books. Of course, she’s now a billionaire.

If you would expect an IIT Madras-IIM Calcutta educated topper like Ambi to sail through life and career, he disabuses you of the notion by cataloguing the numerous rejections he faced throughout as an adman. The blue chip education, he says, only lets you get a foot in the door and after that it’s the rough and tumble of corporate life.

Ambi writes about how his agency, FCB Ulka, blew the pitch for Hyundai’s new car account for Santro’s advertising. Learning from that debacle, Ulka did some deep research and some smart tactical moves to bag Tata Motors’ account for its new car, Indica, and came up with some memorable advertising. It still handles the account 22 years later.

The end of each chapter has a takeaway for the reader, encapsulating a learning. To end this one, he says, ‘every rejection is a learning opportunity; don’t let a rejection destroy your enthusiasm. Learn from the rejection and get better the next time’. Or, as Ambi says, learn to spring forward!

Spring: Bouncing Back from Rejection; Ambi Parameswaran, Westland Business, ₹599.

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