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Book Club Reviews

By julierl

Atul Vir’s Underdog Thinking is about a true character building throughout every stage of life. To have a good character, you must often have integrity, honesty, courage, persuasion, loyalty, and other important virtues. Perhaps someone will say that they already built their character but wait till you’re in a dead-end road and no escape circumstances. What will you do? It was tested time and again how the destiny of Atul Vir’s successfully molded from the surmount series of rejections, misfortunes & betrayals. Clearly, he is a man with a strong character. About the stars & constellation, I liked most how the author magically relates all these celestial creations to his vision. Very seldom we never recognize how the unknown forces around guides us and move us from one situation to the other. When you are ready, there’s always a universal force that will do everything – connecting the dots in the stars and connect it directly to you. No such thing as accidental success or bad luck. It is a part of the numerous dots that connect through the end of all the dots to your vision and dream. The glimpse of an Entrepreneur work-life environment is an unending pushing & pulling off so many things. It’s how you juggle the balls with the right weight and balance. The book clearly stated that parents & family are the basic foundation of having a good relationship. Building one, entrepreneurs must possess unique skills and a lot of patience as well. It was not built overnight, it’s continues to practice both in mind and habits. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars . The book is about being a fragile human being. It’s about the slipping, the falling, the climbing again – and slipping again. It doesn’t matter really how many times you fall, don’t count it – what matter most is for every rising is a result of a better version of yourself. A truly recommendable book for mostly early adult and yes, even the adult – who are still looking for inspiration in life, chasing their great dreams and a must feel & live the true to life experience of achieving your dreams no matter what. The book hypothetically is a roller coaster life crossroad. There are very minimal typos but almost negligible and frankly doesn’t affect the story at all. I still rate this book a perfect score with extraordinary combos of selected text and circumstances that were carefully described.

By RahulAnand19

“What a breeze this one is. If you ever wanted something to fuel your desires to throw a punch back to the world, this is your read. A story of euphoria, sadness, and sheer determination. The book also takes you into entrepreneurship journey and sacrifices one makes to sail over all the tides threatening your existence in the world with cut-throat competition ready to drown you. If ever you thought that an entrepreneurial plunge is a piece of cake ready to be gulped, think again. This Underdog Thinking is one to embrace if you plan on getting into an entrepreneurial adventure. It also gives you a detailed account of the journey you will set into and prepare you for the long haul you are about to enter. Life throws unexpected events at us. Sometimes we duck while at times we steer clear out of situations. Business is all about the combo of both. Sometimes it’s about waiting for an opportunity and striking at the right time while sometimes it’s about a clear path. Just like the super combo machine, this is life’s super combo that keeps you afloat in this game called life. Just like the fiction novels where you are glued to the last word and continue reading in anticipation of the next twist. Only this one is real. A story of grit, determination, and perseverance. A detailed insight into a comeback story like no other. What clicks with the reader is the human side to it. Everyone loves a comeback story but do you have what it takes to make a comeback when the odds are against you? The book takes you from rags to riches to rags and then pinnacle story. A feat rarely achieved, for a comeback story may enthrall but the toil and hard-work are the real takeaways. Once you immerse yourself into the breathtaking journey of Mr. Atul Vir, there is no looking back. You tend to believe that everything will fix its course because you imagine yourself in Atul’s shoes. Such is the human craving for a good fight that we tend to believe that everything will be fine and the triumph is just around the corner. Read this one if a fight is your life game. In the end, life is not about surviving but thriving even if you are down and out. Clear intentions, a noble cause, honesty, and perseverance is all it takes to come out as a winner. A wonderful read for:
• Budding Entrepreneurs
• People wanting to put up a good fight
I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars because of tight editing and reading experience.”

By kval3nce

Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir is an autobiography book that also teaches us a lot about business, life, technicalities, and even a bit of history. I was excited on reading this book. From the title itself, it gave me giggles by knowing that I will learn another life lesson from a great person. As expected, I did! This book let us know how the author built his own empire from a scratch. The author has been into challenging jobs in Europe and Africa until one day he started to migrate in USA. Surprisingly, no one wanted to employ him. Because no one wanted to hire him, he created his own company— Equator Advanced Appliances. It was never an easy feat for the author. He encountered a lot of challenges and betrayal. But the author never gave in. He kept on fighting not just for his family, but for contributing something worthy to other families. For the effort, I would really love to mention that the author provided diagrams and illustrations to easily understand the business management. There is also a certain portion on the book that indicated all of the most inspiring quotes you can find within the chapters. I totally liked how the author tells every story of the book. Maybe because it was a real-life experience that is why I also felt what he had written. You can feel the emotions and to be honest, I also got mini-heart attacks in certain plot twists of the story. The twists here are really something! I cannot stop myself from turning pages because I want to know what will happen next. This autobiography will prove that entrepreneurship has never been so easy. This book makes me respect the courage in which our entrepreneurs do every day. What I dislike about the book is the technicalities. I mean, it is normal for a business-related book but being not business-minded person made me bored reading the technical words even though the terms are explained very well. Nevertheless, I am giving it 4 out of 4 stars. The book deserves it. I have seen no errors in spelling or grammar. Proofreading and editing were done excellently. Hoping the book will be adapted on cinema later on. The book is perfect for those people who are starting-up their own business. Established businessmen and entrepreneurs can also learn a lot from this book. If you are not interested in business yet, like me, you can also appreciate the book. It teaches ideas on how to deal with different nationalities and life lessons, too. Who knows, you might be so inspired that you will build your own empire eventually.

By Chantel Biyela

“With the world changing and everyone working from home, innovation might just be the one thing that will last for generations. Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir is a non-fiction book that captivated me immediately after the first page. It is a book about entrepreneurship but it mainly focuses on Atul’s journey and rise to the top, maybe better described as a fight to the top. In saying that, it is also an emotional journey where you get to experience what he went through and how he dealt with every situation. What I enjoyed most about this book was the relationship between practical and theoretical concepts. Simply meaning that when Atul told his story, he was not shy to mention his shortfalls so that you as a reader or future entrepreneur could avoid and better handle similar situations. While some people might not enjoy being taught a lesson, I personally enjoyed the approach this book had with revealing the reality of what truly goes on in business dealings. Even though Underdog Thinking might be seen as a book that mainly targets entrepreneurs, I believe that no matter what role you play in a business, the lessons taught can be applied by all. The biggest lesson I took away from this book, is that your customers are key and it doesn’t really matter where you work, we all have to deal with customers one way or another. It teaches us about trust and that even though you as a person are morally based, not everyone is to be trusted or rather that people change. It’s also important to be mindful not to let the same mistake happen twice, you need to look back at what made you fall and learn from it. Atul also gives practical advice on how to go about doing business, with some clearly laid out steps, sometimes graphics included, to be mindful of. I can honestly say reading this book was a humbling experience, knowing how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur. Reading this book also made me mindful of the business world, and what it actually takes to be “the boss”. This book was very well edited, with chapters broken down into Atul’s experiences, it made for a very exciting read and because of this, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. If you are looking into starting your own business or becoming an entrepreneur then this book is something I believe you’ll connect with. Lastly, I think every person who enjoys stories with twists and turns, stories about real people who have suffered actual losses and had the courage to share their experiences, will appreciate a read like Underdog Thinking. This book is a testament to the fact that there will always be ups and downs in life but it’s important to remember why you started what you started so that you are able to pick yourself up and try again. If you aren’t a fan of real-life stories and prefer fiction, then this book might not interest you. With all this being said, I did love reading Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir and would recommend that you give it a shot, especially if you think the ‘underdogs’ never make it to the top.”

By Yahya Dalal

“We witness a beautiful journey crossing continents. We first see Atul Vir’s story unfold in India where we are given insight of tales and stories like “king Solomon’s mines” that attracted Atul to venture across the world in pursuit of economic opportunities. His journey and time in Africa becomes a roller coaster and is nothing short of fascinating. As events unfold, and as Atul starts a family, he is pushed to leave Africa.

He decides to ensue America, In the hope of finding a job instantly because of his past ventures but later realises that it wouldn’t be as hopeful as he once thought and it is at this moment where the underdog mentality truly begins. As he settles in America, and begins travelling the world to spark the product of innovation, he successfully began his vision. But the execution of this, bought many risks and wasn’t easily maintained by any means.

The book, Underdog Thinking, by Atul Vir is 343 pages and 20 chapters long and each one begins with a powerful maxim that helps captivate the reader. These absorbing sayings at the beginning and endings of chapters help beam a light of hope on the dark reality of the business world. Personally these are some of my favorite things about the book and it really enhances the journey from the reader’s perspective.

Throughout each chapter are scattered tips and motivational statements that are highlighted in bold. Statements such as “”Persistence is power”” and “”The higher you climb the harder you fall”” are beautifully written and each statement is perfectly placed; setting the stage for upcoming paragraphs. The chapters are structured simply and flows harmoniously making it easy to follow. Foreshadowing is also wonderfully used and imagery is used well.

The author also constantly bombards the reader with questions, using it rhetorically for the most part, to both motivate but also intrigue the reader constantly. Questions like “who will you be when you come out of the fire” help keep the reader engaged and eager to learn from what is in no doubt a mind of resilient entrepreneur.

The book has many themes including uncertainty, which is present right from the beginning. Themes like trust and betrayal are also present. We learn the reality of trust in the business world, with what the reader would perceive as loyalty can be completely dissuaded by money. But it is this very same trust that can revive a company from the dead. The book illustrates this concept of trust well and the drama of it, brings a melancholy feeling to the reader.

Underdog Thinking, as shown in its name, is a story that progresses into one of an underdog; battling massive companies in courtrooms to withstanding treacherous insiders, making it a true “”David and Goliath”” spectacle.

With this comes lessons. Lessons that encourages empathy weather explicitly (“use empathy to bring more innovation into the world”) or implicitly. Moreover, we learn about the sophistication of entrepreneurship, and the whirl winds of relationships and acknowledgement of economic industries across the globe. History is integrated into his story as well as cultural background, whether it be Yin and Yang to American philosophy, it kept a healthy dose of dynamics and sub-secondary genres within the book. With this comes my overall rating. I rate it a 4 out of 4 because this book stands for more than just an autobiography but a life lesson, and within it contains pieces of wisdom that is applicable to all genres of life. It is also exceptionally written and flawless and I didn’t stumble on any grammar errors or typos.

I recommend this book to all people, irrespective of interest to the entrepreneur world, whether young or old, it is greatly benefiting.”

By Pra+13

“””A smooth Sea never made a skilled sailor””.

This is the first thing that came to my mind after reading this book. Through this book Author is taking you on a journey of self made businessman through ups and downs.

‘Underdog Thinking’ by Atul Vir (an Indian immigrant in U.S.A) is about how a naive makes his way in the cruel business world through his ethics and innovation. His life is not like a smooth sea which results into making him a skilled sailor. The text in the book is written in simple to moderate language divided into 20 chapters further into sub-titles. Each chapter contains 20-22 pages on an average. Real life examples, diagrams, and suggestive titles of chapters will keep you engaging in this book.

‘Never Give In’, Author is abiding by this quote all his life which he learned in the school proving to us that foundation of anything specially life should be strong. In my views this book is not only for those who want to step in the business world but for those too who thinks ‘why life chooses me for disppointments or failures’. You will not only derive ways to become an entrepreneur but also little life lessons that came as a bonus in this book. Author really impresses me by his work ethics that is really difficult in times of crisis, specially when you have no other choices, except to move forward. Book is tastefully written, Author really brings best to the table through his innovative ideas in the trade market and it tells the importance of having a clear vision and mutual trust with business partners to reach your goals despite of difficulties.

One thing that really awestruck me and left me thinking was that one line whose summary I am giving in review. “”It is really easy to work for others, but it is difficult to do the same work for yourself””. I think this one line sums up the definition of business. But still I would like to give this book 3 out of 4 stars because one thing that really irks me was same old repetitive stories he was telling in each speech making me like ‘here we go again’. Rest it was professionally edited, no typos or errors. If you are looking for how to move forward by keeping your failures aside then go for this book no matter if you are a student or an adult looking forward to enter in entrepreneurship.”

By insightsormaybenot

Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir is an autobiography of the author’s life as an entrepreneur. Vir immigrates to the U. S. and dives into starting his company after too many rejections from the American HR. His journey skyrockets as he applies personal experience to establish his business idea. With carefully followed ethics and absolute customer satisfaction, Vir works his way to the seamless ends of success. But it doesn’t last long as he encounters unforeseen circumstances that plummet his company’s reputation. From reaching an enviable level of success to facing the toughest betrayals, Atul Vir portrays his struggles as he manoeuvres around the commercial world. Atul Vir gives a deep insight into the aspects of entrepreneurship as he recounts his experience across various continents. The first-person narration allowed me to connect more personally with this book. Further, it has some quotes in between chapters, which related to the circumstances and had profound lessons. The thing I liked most about the book is his contemplations. As he travels through different countries, he reflects on its traditions and how it affects the ways of business. This cultural perspective gives a deeper dimension to the commercial world as it explores the emotional aspects of trading. Another thing I liked is the story’s build-up to the climax. There was a level of uncertainty, fear, and suspicion as the plot advanced to its reveal. Moreover, some of the legal proceedings of business were well-explained, which helped me understand the scenes. I disliked some of the quotes in the book. As the chapters progressed, the quotes became more redundant. They were neither informative nor relevant to the plot. Also, the story seemed to drag in the last third of the book. I believe readers who look for lessons alone won’t find this book too appealing. Underdog Thinking is a very inspirational story. Atul Vir evaluates his mistakes and those of others to derive thoughtful lessons from them. Further, his realistic approach to tackling problems delivers profound messages. The book seems to be professionally edited as well. But although I enjoyed the first half of the book, the last third made me lose interest in the story. In the 5-point measure, I give it a 3.5. On the official scale, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. The book belongs in the non-fiction, autobiography section, and it is suitable for people of all ages. This plot would particularly appeal to those readers who look to read a good story while learning.

By Divine Patricks

The book, Underdog Thinking: A Bold Idea, A Business Adventure And 101 Lessons Learned Along The Way is as the title describes. It is an adventure that was taken by Atul Vir, the writer, into the world of entrepreneurship. The book takes you on a journey around the world, showing us that there are a lot of opportunities that have always been there, but we were too afraid to grasp it for fear of failure. It tells us how he started without anything but the drive to build his own company from his experience to building Equator Advanced Appliances. Atul Vir had a humble upbringing in India where he attended a military boarding school. Fresh from college, he decided to come to Africa and see how much opportunities it held, economically. His first job was in an import-export company with offices in Nigeria, Ghana, etc. In that company, the boss wasn’t so keen on receiving advice from his employees which this led to the company’s fall. As Atul left Nigeria for America, looking for greener pastures, he didn’t know that getting a new job wouldn’t be so easy. After searching for a while without results, he decided that if no one would hire him, he’ll start his own business. He needed money for his family, and he needed it fast. That was how Equator was born. At first, it was an import-export company, but it later became an appliance company because of the one time he couldn’t find the combo washer-dryer that would make life easy for his family. This combo was the starting point, taking him round the world, just to find a manufacturer willing to produce it for the American market. It was no easy feat, because he didn’t have the money to finance the whole thing. Even after finding the manufacturer, the people of America weren’t willing to let go of what they were used to. Ten years later, he made his name in the American appliance industry, while trying to satisfy his customers and learning from the mistakes of his former boss. I learnt quite a lot from this book. Like about sacrifices to be made to achieve your goals.. It tells us that betrayal from friends isn’t always our fault. We just must move on, forward. Even when it looks like there’s nothing to move forward to. I really admired how dedicated he was to Equator. He was determined to save his company, no matter the cost. Even when it hit rock bottom, he was able to revive it by putting it out there once again. He upheld values that I feel are necessary for business growth; trust and teamwork. And always putting the customers’ needs first. His mode of writing appeals to both normal individuals and businessmen and women alike. I believe the writing style would draw people who aren’t all that business-oriented, like me. I really learnt from his experiences. I couldn’t find any spelling errors because it was professionally edited. Because of all the book’s features, I would rate it 4 out of 4 stars. This is because while it was fun to read, it has lessons that applies to our lives. I would strongly recommend this book.

By Sarah Dsouza

In a world where it’s trendy to “Be your own boss” and display a fancy work title like “Entrepreneur” next to your name on social media, Underdog Thinking gives you a reality check of what it’s like to be in it for the long haul. The author, Atul Vir, packs a wealth of insider wisdom in this comprehensive read, as he candidly drives us through his very own professional journey of over 30 years in the industry. Born into a minimalistic Indian family, Atul attended a military boarding school, where the adage “Never Give In” was thoroughly instilled in him. Formerly fascinated by African culture, it was a dream come true when he received an opportunity to work, as a financial auditor unraveling ongoing embezzlements, for a London-based company with offices on the African west coast. As he settled in and things started to progress, he soon found himself unemployed due to a violent coup. Resorting to start afresh, he migrates to the USA with his family, in hopes of achieving The American Dream. Insecurities plagued him as he was laughed out of interviews, and told he knew nothing about the American business. Soon, he takes the entrepreneurial world by storm, facing a deadly combination of economic doldrum and unforeseen stings of betrayal head-on. Although I sincerely admire his perspective and bold venture into the cutthroat sphere of business, I believe this book’s writing style did not do justice to his legacy. As a reader, I was disappointed to encounter prolonged and tangential descriptions in many instances, disrupting the fluidity of the text. I refer to occasions, such as the “caste-comparison”, where he goes off-track describing an unrelated concept for a whole page, until you lost interest in the original storyline. Many sentences appeared to be simply paraphrased and essentially repeated. I had to put in an extra effort not to snap out of my attention span while wading through excess words. I wish that he dwelled more on some areas that held more interest and required more information to fill in the picture. Some plots left me with more questions than answers. For example, how exactly did he structure his company? Using what parameters did he hire his employees? Those details matter. When he brought up the lawsuit against a top-dog company, the plot got intriguing. He then abruptly switches to his childhood memories, the history of Sir Henry Lawrence, and Offshoring 101. There is nothing wrong with these topics, but it should’ve been either positioned before or after the legal proceedings to retain curiosity. There was one specific issue that didn’t sit right with me. In the book, he mentions attending three tradeshows in search of a manufacturing company that could produce a peculiar commodity for his company. Coincidentally, there was always just one for every show, with the booth inconspicuously located right at the end when he was about to lose hope. Was it really a matter of chance, or merely a well-crafted situation to excite the reader? Also, whatever happened to the RV business he was handed? He left us on a cliff hanger with that! For all these reasons, I feel the need to deduct two points from the score. Nevertheless, I appreciated his transparency throughout the book. His resilient character was remarkable, seeing how he overcame his hurdles in business by trusting over and over again, which ironically was one of the reasons he lost ground in between. The ideology of a customer-centric enterprise makes sense and reveals the author’s empathy. Despite the superfluity of the content; Underdog Thinking is well-edited with the grammar, diction and word choices being mostly on point. Certain subjects, like his company product or customized building, were passionately elaborated; moving me to stop reading, look it up online to see the real deal, and then resume. Although the concepts were well-explained, I must compliment his schematic inclusions in an attempt to further enlighten the reader. His insights on the Yin-Yang philosophy in business were an eye-opener, and I have to give it to him, he generously divulges first-hand, thought-provoking life lessons. Despite the flaws, I feel his book is worth the read and suitable for readers who are contemplating career choices, regardless of the field they’re in. His integrity and futuristic approach inspired me, and I’m sure it would positively impact other readers too. Overall, a score of 2 out of 4 stars seems fitting.

By WriterEd

Underdog Thinking is one of the most eye-opening books I have ever read. Atur Vir gives a behind the scenes look of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. He goes into the details of some of the not so talked about aspects of running a business.

Underdog Thinking gives an in-depth look into the struggles an entrepreneur has to be ready to face, to build a sustainable business that can thrive on its own. Atur Vir takes us on a journey into his life as an entrepreneur. You will get to see the grit required to build a successful business, the relentlessness, and most importantly the need for a strong support system.

What I liked the most was the openness to the writer’s life. Atur lets you into his darkest moments. Letting you see his vulnerabilities, shortcomings, and big wins. He has managed to capture his entrepreneurial journey with a cunning vividness. You will get to understand that to be successful you need to be more of yourself.

The need to exude trust and take a chance even when things aren’t favorable. Atur’s Underdog Thinking is flawlessly written with visceral details that help you to connect with him like you were there.

I rate Underdog Thinking at 4 out of 4.

This book will appeal to anybody who is thinking of, or currently running their own business. It will prepare you for what lays ahead, as well as help you shift your focus to what really matters.

By Farhana_1

Underdog Thinking: A Bold Idea, a Business Adventure and 101 Lessons Learned Along the Way by Atul Vir is the story of his failures turned into successes. The story is mainly set in America, and runs through India, Africa and China too.

This is a story of an individual who wants to live a simple and comfortable life supporting his family. But when faced with rejection and unemployment, he is forced into creating employment for himself and in turn for many others. He starts business, but as life has it, ups and downs are inevitable. After much deserved initial success, he faces betrayal, and failure and finds himself alone in the business world without any support and his downfall starts. Everyone leaves him one by one, his most trusted ones, except for his family. After losing everything, opportunity again knocks on his door and he builds his business again from ashes.

Before going to the good parts, let’s finish with the bad parts or let me say the bad part (singular) first. At one instance, the author mentions the caste system prevailing in India and seems to pride himself on being a Kshatriya, and defines particular jobs and characteristics for respective castes. I strongly believe that irrespective of color, race, caste, gender, etc., a person is defined by his actions and intentions.
Initially, when reading the book, I was ready to bash it in the review. But as I kept going, I found myself liking it more and more. After each chapter, I was eager to know, what happens next. So much so that I finished the book in two sittings. This is my first non-fiction that I’ve read all the way till the end. I find non-fiction books boring mostly, but this one is different. In fact, I had a novel of a well-known author alongside to read, but found myself wanting to finish this one first. It’s safe to say, I liked the book.

At some instances, I felt the story losing pace when the author started talking about the ins and outs of business. But that’s just me, because I was interested in the story part more. There must be others who are just as interested in learning business, so that’s okay. There were no cuss words or no graphic scenes or nothing of that sort so I think it’s safe to read for younger people too. Speaking of typos, there were none that I could spot so it must be professionally proofread.

I would want to rate this book 3.5 out of 4 simply because I think there’s always room for improvement, no book is perfect. But rating into decimals is not allowed so I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars . There are many reasons to rate this book excellent, one of which is that it changed my views about non-fiction. I’ll definitely be exploring more of this genre.

I would recommend this book to young and old alike, to those who want to learn business or who wants to just read a good story, to those who enjoy fiction or non-fiction, doesn’t matter, just give it a try. Happy reading.

By Chary1

Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir is the narration of his own life story about all the experiences he had as an immigrant entrepreneur in the USA. Atul Vir went to the USA with a dream but it was shattered by different hiring managers who rejected him saying he didn’t know anything about American business. He wasn’t ready to accept defeat, so he built his own company.

This book is about all the ups and downs he had to go through to make his company successful. He went from a success story to the brink of bankruptcy in a span of a few years. The author discusses all the mistakes and overlooking he made so that the readers will know what not to do. It is not only an adventure story but also a lesson book for future entrepreneurs. There are diagrams, flowcharts and at the end, he made an appendix of all the lessons he learned with page numbers to the chapters where he explains them. He gives an insightful perspective on all the challenges of starting a business and on how to keeping it successful over the years.

Atul Vir explains entrepreneurship as a gift that gives you the ability to see things that others cannot. He says that ideas are everywhere if we open our minds to the possibilities. His successful idea came from the need to reduce the workload for his wife. And that idea was the beginning and comeback of the author’s company.

What I liked about this book is Atul Vir’s way of storytelling. His writing is so simple but descriptive that you could visualize the situations and conversations. The book teaches that you have to be innovative, ethical, and true to your customers to succeed in business. There were so many parts where I empathized with the author. The author’s perseverance and determination that got him through difficult situations and dark times are inspiring.

There was nothing I disliked, but there were some parts where I wasn’t keenly interested in it because of all the business talks. So I recommend this book for all business students and people who are or want to be entrepreneurs. But it is not limited to them either. It is a good book for anyone looking for an inspirational success story. There weren’t any typos or grammatical errors. The book was well-edited and formatted. Overall, this book was a good read, and I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.

By Solemusketeer

When I first opened the epub for Underdog Thinking, I was a bit put off by the countless recommendations, some of which had notably non-American colloquialisms. But pressing on and reading the book itself was undeniably super rewarding, and it really opened my eyes to the reality of starting a commodity-based business in the United States, as well as the challenges one might encounter in sourcing reliable partners in manufacturing, innovation, distribution, and legal representation. As a result, I rate it 4 out of 4.

If I had to summarize Underdog Thinking, it is an autobiography of the Indian immigrant founder of a leading laundry machine company. But that would be selling the book short. Through its twists and turns as one follows the decades long journey that brought the Equinox company to where it is today, the reader learns about and sympathizes with Atul Vir’s challenges, from the rejection letters he faced when first trying to find a job in the United States, to the mundane bother of doing laundry and wishing for a contraption that would simplify the process, to the awe and joy of seeing a landmark plaza and building custom built to celebrate the achievements of one’s company, to losing it all to scheming local businessmen and an unsympathetic judge…

The lessons learned from this book are numerous as well. First and foremost would be the importance of honesty in ones dealings. This is the common denominator of all the challenges encountered by Vir – honesty is what gains his fledgling company an office, a prototype, initial distribution contacts – ‘Are you good for the money’ as Vir writes, is the question that must be answered for people to trust a new businessman. And when the trust is broken, as seen by the failed machines following the buyout of his manufacturer, and the legal tricks pulled by his lawyer to swindle the settlement funds and when the banks foreclose on his beloved tower – we see firsthand the impact of having trust broken. Another lesson is the importance of humility – this is evident from even before he started his own company, when in Africa, as his boss’s arrogance directly blinds him to the shifting political environment there.

These are just a few of the many lessons in this book and I thoroughly enjoyed learning from Atul Vir’s journey.

By ChangedJA34

Atul Vir answered the call. It all started in Nigeria where he climbed the ladder of success very quickly but he soon had a fall, no fault of his own. He then landed on American soil where he was met by his first opponent “rejection” after trying to get a job to feed his family. Rejection gave birth to a company that would be a blessing to American families but not without first going through some “labor pains”.

Just as Atul Vir is in the midst of celebrating his ten years of business success he is faced with a giant; after defeating his giant he was left paralyzed and if that was not enough, betrayal later showed up which sent a shock wave through his body. He hits rock bottom, but down under he is reminded of why he had started the company. He makes a decision to rise one day at a time. The business makes a super comeback and the American family is once again excited. Atul Vir regains his dignity, his business and most importantly his customers.

Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir has you focused from start to finish; be ready to even take some notes as the author shares his guiding principles for success backed by his own experiences. I felt like I was in school and in a class that I was enjoying. I had a few laughs as well, the author can be quite hilarious at times. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because it was an easy read which flowed in a straight direction and was exceptionally well edited. The lessons taught in this book will reveal the truth about entrepreneurship to anyone with the desire. It proves that you can win if you are honest and not self seeking.

After reading this book you will not look at problems nor your customers in the same way. It may challenge you to do more with your life as it did for me. What I liked most about this book was that it recaptured some of the author’s beginnings to give you insight into his thought process from a young age. He takes you to those moments when he was taught in school to “never give in.” He mentions a particular book that he read which would have also helped to shape the person he became and by extension his success.

Underdog Thinking is excellent and flawless. It would most appeal to college or high school students studying business or entrepreneurship and anyone with a strong desire to start a business. If you have an idea but lack capital resources this book could help you and finally avid readers who are interested in character building and staying optimistic in a storm can go for it as well.

By Hassanah

Published June 19 2020

This is a true story of a real-life business adventure. Vir is in a catch 22 situation. He is asked to go to Ivory Coast to unearth a financial syndicate by his new boss just after succeeding in the interview for a job. He does not know whether to take up the challenge or not. He knew nothing about Africa. He had only heard stories about Africa in school and the few books he had read. Together with the boss, they decide to go to the Ivory Coast. Their plane is rerouted and they have to land in Nigeria. While in the plane, the hostess informs Vir’s boss that there is a warrant of arrest waiting for him in the Ivory Coast. The boss decides not to travel to Ivory Coast but instead instructs Vir to go on with the journey together with a supervisor.

Upon arrival in Ivory Coast, Vir gets down to work as an auditor and manages to unearth the embezzlement that had been going on in the company. Many senior officers of the company end up jailed. Vir is then appointed Manager of the company. But after a few months, the country experiences a coup and the company’s future is at risk. Vir decides to quit the job and goes to America to live with his wife. While in America, he decides to apply for jobs but ends up unsuccessful. He then decides that starting his own business is the solution to his financial problems. Will his motivation for entrepreneurship materialize?

I was impressed with how the author began the book with an acknowledgment and introduction. This makes the reader prepared for a good read. The book is well arranged in twenty chapters that are in sequence making it enjoyable to read and to follow through easily. The author has a good mastery of the language and implores it rightly.

There is nothing I did not like about the book. It was fascinating in all aspects. I liked how Vir was always eager to solve his problems. For instance, when he was wondering whether to quit his job while in Ivory Coast, he made a decision that ended up life-changing for him. This move gives insight to the reader that no matter the situation you are in, you can always come out of it as long as you take that step of change.

The book had no grammatical errors or any profane words. It was exceptionally edited. There were no sex scenes either. This made the reading more enjoyable considering it’s an entrepreneurship themed book. I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I did not find anything negative not to award this book 4 stars. I recommend this book to both young and aged since the language and themes used in the book fits all. Folks who enjoy reading inspirational books should give this one a try.

By Priyanka2304

Published June 18 2020

Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir is a firsthand narrative of an Indian Immigrant in the US recounting his early days of struggle and strife towards a successful life. The author belongs to a modest family in India and his dream of becoming a business tycoon leads him to various places and people that mark the start of his rocky life. The author had a disciplined schooling from a military boarding school, which instilled structure and strong values in this life. His early days of childhood were largely influenced by the fascinating stories of King Solomon mines. He emigrated from India at the age of 25 looking for a job. Atul started his career with a Nigeria based import-export company, but the country’s frailing financial condition and barbaric nature of its leadership forced him to leave that place and find another adobe. Living with his wife in America, he started nurturing his American dreams. After months of rejections and many doors shutting on him, he finally decided upon launching his own business and made Houston his home. He persevered to engineer his way through the turbulence that was tripping his company off the path now and then.

The author has gracefully geared his story, giving us glimpses of those marked events which changed the course of his life. The book has been broken down into a series of lessons that will guide the reader in an ordered way. I expected his life to be a complete uphill battle, and the book was exactly that and so much more. It was thrilling to know how the author got amazing ideas before venturing into his new business. There were a lot of instances where the author would seek ideas and calmness from nature when everything went haywire. He saw his close confidants turning into enemies when greed was wiping out a decade of trust. Maybe his repetition in saying that how his various work partners betrayed him along the way, was to stress on the fact that in business, whether you are just starting out or you are at the top, you might have to face the moments of betrayal and loneliness. He remained the kind of person with his eyes on the stars and feet on the ground, always aiming big but not compromising his roots. And that is exactly what is expected of the readers to learn from his journey.

The title completely fits the story as the author and his company showed the prevalence of an underdog who could bounce back at the alpha dogs of the business world. He evenly stated that never underestimate the underdogs as they can be unshakable and scrappy. His ‘never give in’ spirit is contagious and inspires the readers to be persistent as self-belief will eventually prevail. We can find the use of anthropomorphism when the author compares the burnt-out and defected machines to the fallen soldiers and causalities.

The author has used a rich vocabulary and phrased his feelings in an amazing way which is the beauty of this book. From the technicalities involved in the book, this book will be a delightful read for people of all ages who want to step up in the business arena.

The book was a smooth read and seemed well-edited. I didn’t find any significant errors or use of any profanity. From the way the book was well written and structured, I would happily award it 4 out of 4 stars . Read this piece if you want to learn how to leverage opportunities, find solutions, and keep your calm in tough times.

By Dyoshwa

Published June 16 2020

Everyone dreams of being successful but not everyone has the means [and the courage] to turn those dreams into reality. For a family man such as Atul Vir, starting a venture to a foreign land with no prior experience is a daunting task – more so, a risky business.

To count, Atul Vir was among thousands of individuals that aspired to live the American dream. But what distinguished Mr. Vir from other unfortunate individuals was that he was able to put his best foot forward amidst countless rejection and failure he endured with a mindset of always putting family first. This, of course, led to a compelling success story.

In Underdog Thinking, he was able to share the highs and lows of being an immigrant entrepreneur in America as he chronicled his humble beginning as a kid from Lovedale, India into finding himself as an accountant (eventually posed into a managerial role) at a British Import Company in India – although short-lived. The unfortunate circumstance that drove him to charter his own course led to the establishment of a globally competitive company that specialize in washer/dryer combo – Equator Advanced Appliances.

I liked the book because it felt authentic. It was as if the author was sharing an intimate aspect of his life and relationships. I like how we was able to portray the beginning and endpoints of each endeavors and partnership with much transparency and impartiality, letting the readers experience the circumstances he dealt going from point A to point B. The result was a compelling read with strong focus to associated feelings and emotions akin to riding a roller coaster or a joyride.

The only negative that I was able to note was the frequent use of Macguffins in the form of last minute saves from individuals or companies that pulled the author from complete failure which made the story quite flimsy and detracted quite a bit from realism.

Upon analysis, the main draw of the text was its ability to showcase both ugliness and pleasantness in a working environment built upon partnerships. However its identity is fixated in humility, the author even alluded to the classic tale of David versus Goliath where the triumphant was the underdog. The persona was rooted to that of a commoner, an everyday worker going about his day. I viewed this as the author’s way to convey relatability which honestly worked naturally in his favor.

As an autobiographical novel, we followed the narrator as the key character. From what I surmised, he was an ambitious person that refused to quit. He was an innovator that was guided by the philosophy of never giving in especially from morally transgressive associations. These traits while admirable falters only to the fact that he genuinely cared about others whether it was his workers or partners; These I must say, led to his triumph.

I recommend this book to each persons that dreams or have dreamt of being successful in whatever field or profession they are working their way in or are planning to devote their time with. From what Evolutionary Psychology told us, it is easy for us to root for the victor hence as readers of success stories, an inclination to be victors on our own is certainly merited. This was why I favor the story of Atul Vir since his story is a tale of victory despite hurdles in becoming the person he is today. More so, he was a person that owned up to his shortcoming and adhered to the fact that life is never a one man job. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars for its relatability and keeping true to its purpose.

By chillingmonk

Published June 16 2020

I would give Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir 3 out of 4 stars. It is a deeply endearing and enriching account of one man’s journey across continents, careers, breathtaking successes, catastrophic failures and his rebirth like a phoenix. His eventful entrepreneurial journey is dotted with anecdotes, little case studies and his learnings from the same.

The book is a great read for people across professions and geographies, as it deals with the near universal appreciation for professional successes, failures and how they affect our personal lives. Entrepreneurs or those thinking of starting-up would particularly identify with the ups and downs of the author’s journey and learn much from the mistakes he made.

Born and raised in India, Atul Vir first established himself in his career in Africa, while he worked for an international-business oriented trading firm based out of the UK. He learned the tricks of the trade and built his life ground-up, before a geopolitical storm nipped his blooming career in its buds. Vir thereafter landed in Houston, the USA and went on to start Equator Appliances, as a response to his own family’s troubles with home laundry and the need for a washer-dryer combo. With some great work-ethic, brilliant partnerships and stroke of good fortune, Equator soon reached dizzying heights in its industry, only to fall even more spectacularly via a combination of poor decisions, oversight and the good old betrayal by trusted friends and suppliers.

The biggest lesson that the author illustrates from his life is to ‘Never Give Up’. Instead of resigning to his fate and winding his operations, he takes the blow in its stride and rebuilds his life meticulously and with baby steps, a la his initial days of struggle. Needless to say, he sees the proverbial shining sun once again in its full glory.

While ‘Never Give Up’ is the overarching theme of the book, it’s also replete with pointers on how to handle certain business calls, solve problems, build your enterprise step by step, avoid certain pitfalls, build and maintain relationships and rebuild everything all over again.

The language is lucid, easy to understand and quick-paced. The story reads like a page-turner novel. Business situations are presented in such a way that even those with nil understanding of business concepts can easily follow along and appreciate the nuances of the author’s entrepreneurial journey. Every chapter is headlined with the most important learning from that part of the story. They are further sub-sectioned with more learnings that are generic enough to be applied by readers in their own circumstances. At the same time, it’s not too bookish or preachy.

The editing is fine and has done well in keeping the book from meandering or slowing down.

On the contrary, sometimes it feels as if the author skims over important issues and situations. The reader would be much more invested if he can peel down the layers of these complex issues ever so slightly and actually explain how he dealt with the same. Also, the epilogue at the end that offers a compendium of learnings from the author’s journey, feels quite like a business presentation or a drab crash course in business studies. That could have been either avoided or included within the main text in an appropriate format. Coming at the end of an emotionally sapping story, it doesn’t get the deserved attention. Also, the author could have delved a little deeper into the business building process. However, that can be excused since this is his story of the main headlines of his entrepreneurial journey.

Overall, it’s a good account of how one motivated person can build a thriving entrepreneurial life in lands far-off from his place of birth and upbringing, with the right approach, great relationship building skills, innovation, a never say die attitude and above all the right emotional quotient. I would term it as the story of how EQ trumps IQ when it comes to scripting the success story. I took off 1 star from the ratings for limitations I perceived and elaborated upon in the previous paragraph. However, the merits of the book far outweigh these limited issues. Do give it a read.

By Carolyn1854

Published June 13 2020

Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir is the narration of his own life story about all the experiences he had as an immigrant entrepreneur in the USA. Atul Vir went to the USA with a dream but it was shattered by different hiring managers who rejected him saying he didn’t know anything about American business. He wasn’t ready to accept defeat, so he built his own company.

This book is about all the ups and downs he had to go through to make his company successful. He went from a success story to the brink of bankruptcy in a span of a few years. The author discusses all the mistakes and overlooking he made so that the readers will know what not to do.

It is not only an adventure story but also a lesson book for future entrepreneurs. There are diagrams, flowcharts and at the end, he made an appendix of all the lessons he learned with page numbers to the chapters where he explains them. He gives an insightful perspective on all the challenges of starting a business and on how to keeping it successful over the years.

Atul Vir explains entrepreneurship as a gift that gives you the ability to see things that others cannot. He says that ideas are everywhere if we open our minds to the possibilities. His successful idea came from the need to reduce the workload for his wife. And that idea was the beginning and comeback of the author’s company.

What I liked about this book is Atul Vir’s way of storytelling. His writing is so simple but descriptive that you could visualize the situations and conversations. The book teaches that you have to be innovative, ethical, and true to your customers to succeed in business. There were so many parts where I empathized with the author. The author’s perseverance and determination that got him through difficult situations and dark times are really inspiring.

There was nothing I disliked but there were some parts where I wasn’t keenly interested in because of all the business talks. So I recommend this book for all business students and people who are or want to be entrepreneurs. But it is not limited to them either. It is a good book for anyone looking for an inspirational success story. There weren’t any typos or grammatical errors. The book was well-edited and formatted. Overall, this book was a good read and I am giving this book a 3 out of 4 stars.

By claudebelemu

Published June 12 2020

Under Dog Thinking: A Bold Idea, A Business Adventure and 101 Lessons Learned Along the Way by Atul Vir is a true to its title book that encapsulates its title and subtitle through its pages. It is delightfully difficult to put down as you are enthroned into the author’s business and personal world right from its surprisingly exhilarating first pages to its substantial conclusion.

This book is a lesson in entrepreneurship, cultural diversity, globalism, relationships, trust, betrayal, perseverance, innovation and so much more. From the jungles of wartime Africa to the bull riding landscape of Houston, Texas and to the distant exotic industrial cities of China, this book takes us on a vicarious journey through the experiences of Mr Atul Vir, an Indian-born entrepreneur with an American business having a global reach who was forced into entrepreneurship as his only option without much choice. As the subtitle promises there are many lessons jumping from the book’s pages woven into it without the author having to explicitly spell them out for you. You better get your notepad ready and jot them down as there is one at almost every turn.

What do you do when you are a foreigner, don’t have any money, and need to start a business? Well, you will just have to read the book to find out. Trust and honesty are themes that run throughout this book. “Are you good for the money?”- a typical American phrase used to assess creditworthiness tends to make several appearances in the book and is a testament to how many a business is founded on these words.

Without realizing it, or explicitly using these phrases, the book explores production themes of: Design Thinking, Quality Engineering, and Industrial Engineering: From design-centric empathy to Kaizen quality philosophy and the supply chain optimization nature of Industrial Engineering. This book will appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs; people working in the aforementioned fields; lovers of cultural diversity, problem solvers, or those just needing some inspiration from a good story.

What sets the author and his book apart is his unpretentious and genuine character and vulnerability. Gone are the days (well one would hope) of the typical tough-guy type-A entrepreneur glorifying ruthless, hardball business politics and emphasizing the need for more money and power. That’s not something that aligns with the author nor the essence of the book albeit we do get lessons on this unfortunate side of the business world through the eyes of the author. Humility, sacrifice, ethics, hard work, and honesty seem to be the hallmarks of his kind of business.

The book is well written. It is structured well and in a coherent and chronological format with occasional flashbacks to the author’s early life in the form of interesting anecdotes spaced throughout the book.

RATING: I’ll give Under Dog Thinking: A Bold Idea, A Business Adventure and 101 Lessons Learned Along the Way by Atul Vir a 4 out of 4 stars rating because it is well written, coherently structured with no typos and genuinely hard to put down. It is true to its title and subtitle. It is part business book, part adventurous saga, part testament to the power of a singular idea, and part life/business manual packed with nuggets of lessons. The authenticity of the author’s words is evident as you read through the book. Don’t expect to come out of this with a business MBA nor should one expect this to be an Indiana Jones adventure ancillary. These things it is not and neither does the book nor its author make any promises to be such. But if you find yourself rooting for the underdog in business or life, then this book is for you… and to the would-be entrepreneurs without much to their name or bank account; I leave this question for you to ponder: Are you good for the money?

By Lisa Farnell

Published June 11 2020

Underdog Thinking started out brilliantly. A combination of the authors history and story intertwined with the lessons he learnt in over 30 years in business. Make no mistake, the focus is on business and entrepreneurship, but Mr Vir does take you through the emotional ups and downs of the journey.

He talks of the rollercoaster of moving country, starting with nothing, growing the business only to have the rug swept from under him with some underhanded actions by a supplier and his own lawyer. The second part of the book is about the final rebuilding phase and finally back to success.
The personal narrative is interspersed with little nuggets of wisdom that he has learnt along the way and he summaries this well in Appendix II.

The book is a little disjointed and repetitive at times and you get the impression that he is very bitter about the downfall and how his trust was breached. Whilst this is completely understandable it does lead to him wandering down some side tracks that got a bit long-winded.

Appendix I starts out as a very good general summary of innovation principles but then gets very specific to the laundry white goods industry and in the end felt a bit like a sales pitch for the product.

As part of his reinvention he talks about having bought an RV company, but he really doesn’t mention it again so I was left wondering what became of that venture.

I give this a rating of 3 out of 4. Overall it is a good read. By the middle of the book it got a little repetitive and toward the end I was struggling not to skim read it. Having said that, the mixing of personal experience and complete emotional honesty made what could have been a dry business book quite a good read.

By Abhi07

Published June 11 2020

Underdog Thinking is a business adventure book by Atul Vir. Atul Vir, was born and brought up in Pune, India. He completed his education and master’s degree in India and later moved to the United States of America. He got rejected for all his job applications in the United States of America and decided to start his own business. He faced many obstacles while starting the business. The main problem was the finance required for the business. The author shares the importance of creativity, finance management, marketing, branding and sales in his book. He tells the reader to keep the customer above all. The author was really frank about teaching the lessons he learnt about entrepreneurship. Highly recommended for the young generation. An amazing and well-written book on the various problems faced by entrepreneurs. The best thing about this book is that you can connect to it even if you are not an entrepreneur. You have a goal, a dream, obstacles in the path are inevitable and incessant.

The thing that I liked the most about this book is that the language is very simple and easy to understand. Although the book does not go so much into the details, it is still very inspirational, and really teaches me moral life lessons on how to be a better person while also taking charge. Never expected to find this much enjoyment reading a biography. Atul Vir has truly done a wonderful job with this book.

This book is well-edited and I did not find any error in it. It can be challenging for a person who is not inclined to entrepreneurship. There is neither any profanity nor any explicit scenes in this book and can be read by any generation There is nothing I would want to change in this book.

What I disliked the most in this book is that the events are not detailed much. More detailed incidents and conversations would have really helped the budding entrepreneurs in their negotiation skills. Also it is more inclined towards people willing to start their business.

Overall, I think this is a very good book. I would say that it is a business book and I would recommend it to people who are from the business community, specifically to the one who would wants to start his own business with an innovative idea. I believe that this group of people will like the book more than the any other person would. As for me, I would rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars.

By Alan Jacob Mathew

Published June 8 2020

“Success is not measured on money, but about the people around you”, it is one key point the book explains to the readers.

There’s something about this book by Atul Vir that definitely make it to be one of startup founders handbook. It’s the story of a guy from India, learning and doing business across different continents. If you are interested in entrepreneurship then I’d definitely recommend this book to you. When you read a biography on startups often people doesn’t care to explain the failures they faced, that is something Mr. Atul explains honestly.

It is the story of belief, his belief to do something extraordinary with many ups and downs faced in the journey. The narration is fast-paced making sure the readers don’t get bored in between, also the non linear narration makes it more interesting. I somewhere felt the story getting too fast at certain areas. It is a recommended read for anyone who is an entrepreneur.

I would rate the 3 out of 4, and would recommend it for anyone who is in his/her entrepreneur journey. Sometimes all it takes is few months, sometimes few years, it’s all your persistence to continue the journey.

By Edwin Amah

Published June 7 2020

Ever been in the struggle of growth as a result of losing a job you thought was the future? It got so bad that you even had to relocate from a continent you have built, and gotten so much potential from to a total new environment for a fresh start and here you are left to explore new business opportunities. Now, this is the story-line of Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir.

Having lived, worked, done business and strived in four continents most of his life, Atul Vir writes about his life, career and how he became an entrepreneur, Atul Vir, an Indian young man who moved to the shores of Africa searching for Solomon’s mines or hidden treasure according to the stories his teachers always told in class. He got a promising job in Africa, but then suffered a deep blow that sent him back to America after his company lost their business as a result of a military coup. He moved to America to pursue a dream he was not sure of which was welcomed with a lot of rejections from America employers. His persistence and ability to discover new opportunities gave him a business which he built and made a huge statement in the American business market even though he lost almost all he built after a few betrayals from people he trusted, but his never give in spirit made him stay afloat until he launched a comeback.

Underdog Thinking was a great read. The author, Atul Vir has a way to deliberately make you stick to reading a story without getting tired or bored. Well, this particular book happens to be centered around his life and the road to entrepreneurship. The author shared deep secrets on capitalizing on simple opportunities just like he discovered the lack of the combo laundry machine that was needed in his own home and led to developing a business from it as it was lacking and if introduced could make life easier for all. He emphasized on the fact that a business lies more in the hands of those closest to it, those are the employees, and every business owner need to always listen to them. Also, he sold the concept of building trust with customers and making sure your product keeps them happy.

The authors ability to relate what he suffered as his business was crashing after his business suppliers from Italy were bought off, and the challenges he faced as a business owner to the movie “The adventures of Indiana Jones” which he always watched with his son in the evening, the characters ability to be smart, always one step ahead of the enemy and always found a way out. Since it was his story, the author made the characters so real and made me see this book from his own eyes. The way he detailed every growth process even with diagrams was amazing. This book contains twenty chapters, and each chapter had a title that explained the next phase and had quotes that complemented them too. The Character development was second to none. The author was the main character, but he still had a way of involving his wife, children, lawyer friend, manufacturers, and other business partners and it never sounded strange while reading. He had such a great way of being poetic. He also told a lot of stories about the Indian and Chinese religions, war, businesses, and ancient opportunities.

To assist the reader’s understanding of complex concepts, I like the way the author employs diagrams to connect and explain things he described like the Yin and Yang diagram and the four fold nature of a CEO. His use of quotes and wise words was excellent. The other amazing thing I like about this book is the way the author summarized all the lessons learned from the twenty chapters at the end of the book. In the middle of so much betrayal and anger, the writer avoided the use of profane words.

There is nothing I dislike about this book as the author did a great job driving home every business point and shared a lot of entrepreneurship values. This book was professionally edited as I did not find any grammatical errors even though the format and line arrangement could have been slightly better, but this did not stop me from enjoying the content of this book. So, I wholeheartedly rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I will recommend this book to all entrepreneurs and business lovers especially small startups. It will be a guide to overcome the storms.

By Fabio Petuello

Published June 7 2020

The book is about the struggles of an entrepreneur during his journey in search for the American dream. It’s based on the true story of Atul Vir who is also the author of the book. Born in India, he traveled across four continents working in many fields to then start it’s own company once arrived in America.

The story and the valuable lessons provided are enjoyable, a wise overview for anyone willing to enter the entrepreneurial world. The story is compelling from the beginning to the end, at every turn of events the author goes over the insights of the lessons learned through success and failure, describing his feelings, expectations and fears.

The graphs shown in some chapters are exhaustive even if I found them a little bit out of place. While reading a good story then run into a graph that is supposed to be part of a more technical lecture it’s not a bad idea per say, but I found it not necessary given the purpose and the writing style of the book, not a big issue though.

Otherwise I found the quotes of celebrities at the beginning of every chapter a very valuable add-on, it already gives an idea of the lesson taught, but it didn’t spoil at all the story, nay, it was a way to enhance the interest in continuing the reading.

Highly suggested. 4 out of 4

By Vidya4u2c

Published June 7 2020

In the novel Underdog Thinking, the author and protagonist, Atul Vir, has proven himself a true hero as he tirelessly fought and overcame many obstacles.The life experiences extolled as well as the way he faced his battles in the novel was inspiring. The novel is very captivating and the reader is left in a state of curiosity about the present status of the author.

The novel journeys globally and introduces the culture of various countries in the most inconspicuous manner. Furthermore the novel explores varying business styles and the alternative doctrines that seemed to govern decision making in the world of entrepreneurship. The events of this book are awe inspiring.The author presents the events of his business life in a most delightful and soul capturing manner. The inclusion of graphics as well as appendix one and two enhanced the physical layout of the book. It also added further clarity to the lessons being liaised and principles being promoted.

This novel provides the reader with a wealth of wisdom that can impact greatly on personal development and effectiveness as an entrepreneur.The writer’s style of writing is succinct, bold and candid. His belief in ethics seeps through in the words of his novel. He focuses on his feelings and viewpoint in moments of conflicts instead of casting judgement on his colleagues and business associates.

Being an ardent lover of quotations,I was particularly fond of those presented in this novel and looked forward with great relish to the anticipated upcoming ones. There was no particular element of the book that did not appeal to me and as a result I award it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.This book could prove to be very interesting and useful to students who are pursuing studies in marketing, management and entrepreneurship. I would also recommend it to budding entrepreneurs and managers in any business sector since the principles brought to the fore can be applied beyond the field of appliances.

The novelist referred to his immigrant status on a number of occasions. He outlined implicitly the alienation he experienced at times. He then promoted the courage, inner strength and modus operandi he utilized to deal with such feelings and situations. Alienation, betrayal, innovation,determination and struggle are just a few of the traits explored by the author as he seeks to hone our personal business acumen and inspire us as individuals to encounter and conquer the adventure we know as ‘life’.

By Thabith101

Published June 4 2020

The underdog thinking is a book by Atul Vir who is the author, born and bred in India and from the age of 10 he went to a military boarding school .At the age of 25 he finished his studies and his first job was in Africa and he became very successful in the company he was managing but he was not the owner of the company and eventually the company he worked for went under. After spending 7 years in Africa with a very quick growth Atul Vir found himself with nothing and by this time he had a wife, a family to take care of.

Atul then decided to go and start a new life in America, he thought things would be easy for him since he had worked and rebuilt a company in Africa but things became tougher for him as he got rejected from interviews and being told “You know nothing about American business.” He started his own business which he had so little money to start the with and sometimes he just negotiated his way through, but eventually his business started and he struggled at first .Until one day he saw a need of a home appliance which is a Combo washing machine .

Atul’s business called Equator rose from there and for a few years he did very well, until suddenly his suppliers were bought and he had to do business with the buyers and they sabotaged him by giving him faulty machines which didn’t have one part that caused breakdowns to all the machines. He tried to continue with the little that was left but everyone betrayed him including the people he started the business with from the first week and his distributors pulled out as well. He eventually lost the equator building at went back where he started until he was rescued by a family that gave him a Pinnacle offer and that was his come back.

I feel as though the author had sometimes missed some information and gave the readers the wrong impression regarding times, in the part when he was in Africa and said that his wife will be joining him it then became very confusing to me , when he was in America they spoke about how they spent a lot of time together in London.And also when he had to go to China again it wasn’t clear as to how that came about.After losing his first business and was offered Pinnacle he still had some loans to pay and then he afforded to buy Pinnacle ,this was unclear as how he managed to buy Pinnacle and all the travelings he was doing at the time were costly.

The book relate very well with my situation right now as a small business owner who started from the ground, that’s why i see some of the things impossible to do if you have so little starting a business because i have been in a situation were i lacked money and had to pause some of the things to raise funds, But Atul Vir seems to be able to do a lot with no money at all.

This book is educational to people who want to go into entrepreneurship or who are already into entrepreneurship, for someone who is already into entrepreneurship the book has good guidelines and strategies but for someone who want to start a business it doesn’t make sense at all that someone who had no money can pull out all the things that Atul pulled out this part was very misleading to someone who want to start a business from the ground,i mean Atul had all of a sudden, money to purchase his products even though he got $200 credit it still was not enough to cover all the start up expenses for his business, Money to rent an apartment, Money to take a Flight to London and it also didn’t show anywhere that his wife was working which i would have concluded the wife helped him.

The book had only had a few misspellings and Typing errors. It was not much even though when the book started the same word with the same meaning was in Caps and then in the middle it was in small letters in the middle of a sentence.i would therefore rate this book a 3 out of 4 star since the errors in this book were just a few and not interrupting and the language and words used for this book were very professional because i only encountered 2 words which were profane. The ending of the book was very sudden as i was preparing myself to hear about how he regained everything the book ended .I would recommend this book to anyone who is already in business and still struggling and someone who want to give up in their business but not someone who want to start.

By Tbregman

Published June 2 2020

The motto of the military academy Lawrence School in Lovedale, Tamil Nadu, India, is “Never Give Up.” Lawrence alumnus Atul Vir, author of Underdog Thinking, embodies the mantra as he leads readers on his journey from schoolboy to founder and CEO of Equator Advanced Appliances, a global home appliances provider headquartered in Houston, Texas. Vir positions and demonstrates how the entrepreneur is the consummate underdog who sees a problem – which the current approach isn’t solving – and envisions a solution before the customer knows the problem exists. Since founding Equator in 1991, Vir grew the business exponentially over the decades but also suffered setbacks severe enough to flirt with financial ruin. Vir’s persistence to not give up and sustain maniacal focus on the customer requirements empowers him to persevere and gives the reader a satisfying story.

Vir’s upbringing in a military household provided him a foundation for discipline and transparency, helping him later in his business affairs. The family expected him to follow a traditional route, but after he graduated from University, Vir was fortunate to secure an internship in London with an import/export entrepreneur running a global practice. This businessman took young Vir in for a hands-on role where he had a front seat to the African business operations, and his manager’s stubbornness and formidable ego. When the manager’s abstinence caused an abrupt company shutdown, unemployed Vir moved to the United States to find a new opportunity. He didn’t expect his international experience would mean nothing in the United States. When one hiring manager rejected Vir’s candidacy with the comment: “You don’t know a damn thing about American business,” Vir decided to go out on his own. He started a company without a plan and waited for the moment when destiny would give him a sign. The beacon came when he realized his wife – who spent hours doing laundry – would benefit from a combination washer/dryer appliance. Combos were popular in Europe, and in the US, they were nonexistent. He jumped in.

The book details Vir’s journey starting and growing Equator – he wanted a name reflecting the company’s global focus. Early on, Vir’s open style attracted trust from strangers through his disarming honesty. At critical junctures, an influential person would ask him: “Are you good for it?” before granting a loan, agreement, or some other business arrangement. One example is the leasing manager for a large Houston sky-rise who gave Vir a three-year lease with no payments for the first six months – Equator had no revenue.

There are triumphant wins Vir achieves and gut-wrenching lows – usually caused by other people’s ulterior motives or short-sighted economic decisions. A specific deception by one of Vir’s closest friends left me physically queasy. Vir questions these moments and struggles with other’s lying, and he moves on. From the pinnacle of designing and constructing a beautiful flagship Equator headquarter building to the low moment of no money and a nook adjacent to his kitchen serving as his office, Vir never gives up, and today the company flourishes.

I rate the book 3 out of 4 and recommend it specifically to those in the business community interested in the startup process of a global player and to a broader leadership audience for the lessons provided by Vir when there is an organizational crisis. Vir rolls up his sleeves and gets it done. He is a leader with integrity, and he consistently pursues the customer’s needs first. What I liked most about the book was the evolution of Equator’s partnerships with manufacturers and distributors. His partners over the years were all over the world with difficult cultures, styles, and expectations. Vir’s adaptability kept Equator’s doors open while making extensive and sometimes unexpected changes in who made the combos, how they got to market, and in what new markets they were sold. A more static entrepreneur would have closed shop at a many critical moments in the business.

Underdog Thinking is a well-edited book, and I enjoyed Vir’s lyrical and descriptive first-person voice. He often compares colors and visions to nature and historical images, and it gave me visuals to associate with what I read.

Vir said in the book: “I had always tried diligently to separate business from my personal life.” That philosophy is apparent and is what I disliked about the book and why I did not give it a 4 rating. Vir kept the focus strictly on business and himself. He never gave insight as to the personal impact on his family. Spending long hours at the office, and weeks with manufacturing partners overseas would take a toll on the home front. His wife provided the pivotal reason for the start of Equator and briefly managed the firm’s customer service at a moment of crisis in the business. The reader never learns her name or hears her voice. Near the end of the book, Vir mentions a phone conversation with his daughter, where he shared the results of a crucial China meeting and her interest in the outcome. This was a rare glimpse of his children’s reaction to their father’s world. Vir pursues his business with such relentless tenacity; I suspect there is a personal cost, and we don’t get to hear this. Did his wife and children play a more active role as a sounding board in Vir’s decisions? We don’t know. He described his wife at the beginning of the book having a respectable career in New York City. I would have like to meet her.

By Be77e

Published June 1 2020

Ever imagined what to do when it seems as though there is nowhere to fit into in the job market? Ever imagined how to start off on your own and build a business empire? Are you faced with the intrigues of doing business and maintaining your strong convictions and policies in life? This is what Atul Vir described in this book, Underdog Thinking. This book exposes the reader to real experiences to be expected in the business world, while unwinding the hurdles he overcame in his journey to bringing Equator Appliances to where it is today.

Atul wanted to spend time with his family as he used to do in Africa, but each time, he was faced with his wife’s need to do the chores ,especially the laundry, with a washing machine in which she had to transfer the washed clothes to the dryer every time. She needed to be around to get this done. In the bid to find a combo that would do washing and drying, his dream of supplying the American market with this combo, was born. This led to a series of mind-blowing challenges that he had to face, until Equator became a household name, supplying appliances and meeting the need of its customers.

It was ten years of enjoying the bliss of success, until the company supplying the combos to Equator was bought over, which signaled the herald of Equator’s downturn in the business world. Equator’s fall was as result of the new company, Mancini’s omission of a major component in the manufacturing of the combo. This led to Equator nose diving to the point of losing the Equator Plaza which was a symbol of 10 years of hard work and success.

Plunged into debt and failure, Atul didn’t give up, as was the slogan of his alma-mater. He was depressed but didn’t throw in the towel. Soon, a ray of hope shone down into his tunnel of depression and gradually, he pulled himself and Equator out of depression, betrayal, overconfidence and failure. This time, he became more cautious, determined, committed and stringent about the tiniest details of the new Super Combo (as was renamed)washing machine. The new washing machine was manufactured by Tortoise Company in China who was also longing for a comeback. Equator Appliances had finally overcome so many hurdles, most importantly, the temptation to reduce its commitment to its customers. It will always esteem customer satisfaction above all else. Atul had to take some new decisions to the benefit of the new Equator Appliances.

The book seeks to give hope to its reader especially one who is down and feels there is no way out. It takes the reader through nuggets that are practicable. I enjoyed reading this book as I could easily relate to it. I believe anyone can easily relate to it, especially if they have had struggles getting back up. By the time you are through with it , you get this feeling, “it is never over until you say so.”

Although I enjoyed reading this book, I rate it 3 out of 4 because it had a few typos. I recommend it for every entrepreneur and young minds who are venturing out to achieve their dreams.

By Hemlata Pant

Published May 31 2020

Underdog Thinking by the esteemed Atul Vir is a testament to his decades of hard work in crafting his multi-million dollar business. It outlines a roller-coaster of a journey that he embarked on as the world he was comfortable with in a good, safe position in an import-export company in Lagos, was turned upside down. Vir, pleasantly, also prompts you to persevere and seize opportunity as he does so himself in his thrilling autobiography that plays out more like a well-crafted fairy tale.

As he learns various lessons, they are laid out in clear subtitles that, retrospectively, he elaborates on – earning this book another label of a ‘how-to’ book. Underdog Thinking is beyond a single label though, presenting aspects of philosophical teachings, as well as being, in a way, a coming of age novel, and an action adventure one.

Vir retells an ancient story of the rewards of stepping outside your comfort zone in a Hollywood narrative – himself as an evolving, multifaceted hero. Much like a Hollywood tale, betrayal comes at the crux, but the way he deals with it, prospers despite (or even because of) it makes his unique story one that is completely believable. It entrenches the reader so firmly in the story that you forget you’re reading about (an falling in love with) kitchen appliances.

However, him being a CEO, I would be interested in a further exploration of the day-to-day tasks of a CEO. Perhaps, also an account of the effect of his passion towards work on his family and work-life balance would provide even further motivation for anyone looking to start a business or even to just be motivated.

Also, there is the chapter ‘Be Careful’ which has a quote that is not as relevant to the passage as other quotes are to their respective passages. Significantly, in the chapter entitled ‘The more that’s at stake, the faster your brain works’, Vir claims that Buddha was born in India – this is completely wrong. He was actually born in Nepal, not India. However, the spelling, grammar and punctuation is immaculate.

I would recommend this to wannabe entrepreneurs, but also those looking for inspiration in hard times. Underdog Thinking is definitely one for lovers of Mark Manson’s work. However, I would not recommend it for those who prefer a fast-paced resolution to crisis, since I found that the speed of the book seems to slow down after major crisis strikes.

Overall, Atul Vir has written Underdog Thinking as an equally entertaining but also didactic tale, interwoven with ancient and contemporary words of successful people before him. Vir’s connection and passion in his writing clearly shows as he writes for his unadulterated love for business – in all the forms that may take. For this, he recieves 3 out of 4 stars from me.

By krystalyee3

Published May 27 2020

Underdog Thinking by Atul Vir is a nonfiction story about an immigrant entrepreneur navigating the highs and lows of American business through his quest to bring the combo washer and dryer to the United States.

His story jumps straight into action and never lets up. It is an easy read and I found myself learning more than I could imagine about the laundry appliance industry. While as mundane as this appliance sector could sound, he has the reader rooting for him throughout his journey to find success. All the twists and turns of his life seem like it could be a movie that I almost found it shocking that these were real events that he actually experienced.

Any reader who loves an underdog or comeback story should read this book. I also think this book would be a good fit for any reader who has ever wanted to be an entrepreneur. His tale will either inspire you or be a warning that this business is not meant for you. Enter at your own risk.

I had a hard time putting this book down; however, I can only rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I couldn’t give it a full 4 out of 4 stars because there seems to be a disconnect with the book’s title and the style of the book. It reads as a nonfiction story of a man’s life to find business success, but the title almost implies that the book would be a self-help guide. The only part of the book that is in line with this is the second to last chapter, “The State of Innovation.” This one chapter breaks away from the rest of the book and sets itself apart as an instruction manual to innovation. I found this section repetitive, but since it was included as an appendix perhaps that should be forgiven. I disliked this section the most and thought that it should be condensed if the author wanted to include it.

Overall, Underdog Thinking is an ode to the underdogs and their path to their comeback story. Atul is a relatable and likable character. At the end of his story, you find yourself wanting to be his friend and wanting to find out more about his company. It is heartfelt, smart, and gripping. It will make you believe that with hard work and dedication your entrepreneur dream can come true as well.

By Jocelyn Eastman

Published on April 11, 2020

Underdog Thinking: A Bold Idea, a Business Adventure and 101 Lessons Learned Along the Way is a partial autobiography by Atul Vir. Atul Vir was born in India and sent to military school at a young age, eventually deciding that he wanted to go into business. After starting in Europe, he took a job with a company based in Africa. The job was lucrative, but his boss did not want to take suggestions from his employees. Eventually, his boss’s failure to take the advice of those working in Africa lead to the downfall of his company. Atul then decided to follow his wife to New York. Once there, he was unable to find a job, even with his vast international business experience. He decided to start his own company and move to Houston, Texas. When his wife started going laundry all day on the weekends, he longed for the washer-dryer combo they had when they lived in Europe so they could spend more time together. This is the story of the ups and downs in the business world for the man who made combo washer-dryers in the United States a reality.

Even though this is about business and was likely meant to target entrepreneurs, anyone can read this as there isn’t terminology that would be lost on the average reader. There is no profanity and there are no explicit scenes. Teenaged readers and older would be able to read and enjoy this book.

The thing I liked most about this book was the plot. I loved learning that there was such a thing as a washer-dryer combo. I had no idea! I told my husband and he didn’t believe me! I thought it was awesome to read about how he was inspired by his own family. His initial foray into business was really interesting too. He had to survive a coup in Africa. You would think a book about entrepreneurship would be boring. This one was not.

I thought the advice that was given in the book was great too. I could tell that it was practical and gained from lived experience. Sometimes I read these books and it’s just the story. The author forgets the advice part and I am disappointed. That did not happen here and I was really happy. Plus, the ethos that the author has is refreshing, given how he believes in doing the right thing.

The thing I disliked most about the book was the pacing and timeline in the middle of the book. There is a point in the book where the author ran into trouble and is trying to rebuild his business. The pacing gets a little slow. The timeline also seems to go back and forth. For me, it was a little confusing and I felt like this portion of the book dragged on a little bit. It didn’t detract from the overall experience. This is me nitpicking on one single part of the book.

Overall, this was a superb read. I recommend it not only to entrepreneurs, but also anyone looking for a self-help book, as it just has great advice. Honestly, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a good, solid read. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars.

By Gift Nwagu

Underdog Thinking: A Bold Idea, a Business Adventure and 101 Lessons Learned Along the Way is nothing short of an experience. When you read this book, which was written by Atul Vir, you are transported into a different world, a world full of opportunities that are actually within grasp. The author in question has significant qualifications when it comes to the business area of life as his degrees in accounting and his many years of experience in international relations have come to his aid in building multiple million-dollar businesses, one of which has been used as the primary basis for discussion throughout the book, Equator Advanced Appliances.

Atul Vir tells us his story. He had a very humble beginning as an Indian native raised and educated in a secluded boarding school and went on to gain a lucrative job that took him on adventures all around the African Continent, specifically sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Togo, etc.). He went on to become a business owner but not without trials before and after the company’s, Equator’s, establishment. He, being from the Kshatriyas Indian caste level, never expected a life away from a paycheck but when tragedy struck in his previous company, which had significant ties to Ivory Coast, he found himself an immigrant in America, broke, with a family to feed and had to move fast. Ten years from the date of that decision, Equator had become a strong contender in the American home appliance industry and the embodiment of the “American Dream” come true.

Using a vulnerable and honest tone of speech he urges us to learn from his story, his past experiences, and his life in general. He adopts a descriptive writing method which appeals to normal individuals and formally trained business entities alike. That being said, just about anybody willing to read a good tale can pick up this book.

Going forward to the elements of the book, a feature above all that I admired in this book was its undeterred determination to put forward the business values that are felt to be most important for a business to grow organically. Values such as team-work and cultural knowledge were strongly supported and the advice for all superiors to practice “listening to those closest to the action” dissuaded the notion that employees do not have any useful opinions to give. The author is definitely a strong supporter of the “no man is an island” work ethic. Speaking of ethics, he also believed in businesses founded on solid bedrocks of integrity.

Apart from the moral aspect, the narrative style of this writer is something that any audience can easily deduce as basically innate. Never in my life have I seen a business mogul use a storyline as a medium for education. In my past experiences reading business books, it had always been straight-to-the-point, bullet-point lists interspersed between complex graphs interspersed between even more complexly written paragraphs. I know with the writing style adopted by this author, people who don’t know much business terminology, much like me, can still be kept in the loop.

As for aspects that were less than desirable to me, there weren’t many, in fact, I felt the few problems are casualties from the writing style he adopted for the book which was primarily descriptive. I got lost at certain parts in the middle and at the end of the book. Some areas of the book felt unnecessarily elongated in my opinion and I felt certain things, that could have easily been derived from prior writings, where being endlessly described for instance the chapter, “China”, contained some paragraphs that described angst about the new phase that the company was at which we had already been informed on in detail in prior chapters. This did not constitute much of an issue for me but it just tended to slow down the progression of the storyline.

In all, this book was a delight to crack open and I actually found myself learning from this book (this is not usually the norm for me). The good aspects of the book far outweighed its negative counterparts (which were few and far between). The book appeared to have been professionally reviewed or edited as I could not find any spelling errors but on the contrary, discovered words I had never heard before such as “hubris”. Though I did find areas in the book were other phrases or words would have conveyed his thoughts better, I couldn’t complain much as that is the nit-picker in me doing what it does naturally. Regardless, the author definitely has a good command of the English language as well as storytelling skills. Because of all the shining features of this book, it would only be right that I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is because I have genuinely not had fun being educated by a book in a long time until this book. This book has a strong recommendation from me.