By Jocelyn Eastman
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
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 Mark Weiss
I so enjoyed your book.
By Prasad Menon
I finally got to read you book !
What an amazing life you had.
I am encouraged to follow your lead.
Atul, just finished your book, it is a great read and interesting story. Not sure if you remember
me, I graduated Lovedale in 74, and moved to the US from the UK in 1994. Based in Pittsburgh
now, if you ever come that way, pls call or visit.
Great to hear a true ’Never Give In’ story from an OL. Very inspiring. I will pass on this link to my OL
batch group. Hope to meet you soon. Till then Stay Safe and Stay Home.
Hi Atul.. just finished reading yr book… in one word. Awesome…what a journey.. inspite of being pretty
close to u was not aware of more than 75% of things u went through..loved it..
By CP Mammen, OL 1966
I wonder if you remember me from TIECON at Cochin few years back. I just finished reading your book
Underdog Thinking, finished in 2-3 days due to COVOID 19 lockdown. Wonderful book, couldn’t keep it
down. I think you have a flair for story telling, so please continue to write.
I was very impressed with your perseverance with your dream of entrepreneurship and your total
dedication to the Combo. Reminded me a lot of my business journey, but couldn’t achieve your level of
By Tahir Taherbhai
Hope you are doing well under these trying circumstances. I just finished reading your book and it sure
was a page turner. It is a testimony to your hard work, perseverance, determination and tenacity to
hang on. Like a phoenix you rose from the ashes every time you got burnt. I am surprised you have not
become a cynic after so many heart wrenching betrayals.
Bravo my friend…. you may be thinking like an underdog but you sure fight like a pit bull.
Take care and more success in years to come.
By Deepak Dalal
Bala recommended Atul’s book earlier. After finally reading it, so do I. One thing Atul keeps harping
throughout the book is the pursuit of excellence. I have to say (and this is coming from a writer) that the
quality of writing in this book reflects Atul’s quest for perfection. The book is a page-turning thriller and
very, very well written. Something that we as classmates will find endearing is Atul’s constant referrals
to Lawrence and how his experiences at Lovedale taught him valuable life lessons. Read on, guys. It’s a
I read it in one sitting. Just got done. What a ride… So much to learn from your book. This lock down is
the perfect opportunity to think about my own business.
By Kevin Mott
Mr Vir, just finished your book—really enjoyed reading it. I feel like I now understand the connective
tissue between the stories you’ve shared over the past few years. Thank you for sharing your story!
By Chris Carpenter
Hello my Friend,
I just wanted to drop you a note to say how much I enjoyed reading your book. I picked it up prior to a
long road trip for work and must admit that I didn’t expect it to be so engaging. Thank you for sharing
your experiences and I feel like I am closer to you now then before reading it. I must admit that I
believed our experiences to be generally similar in our business growths but now see that my journey
pales next to yours and it made me feel very humble.
Thank you again Atul and I hope the current world trends do not disrupt your life too much.
By Ajit and Sheeli
Incredible story of grit and determination ..Hope his company is continuing to grow and prosper.
Thanks for sharing, Best regards Ajit and Sheeli
By Fabiano Rocha Loures – Brazil – Linked In
Dear Atul! I wanna thank you for writing your book! Like every underdog I see my self on
it!! Your history is amazing! All the best!
“Atul has written a book that is at once exciting and filled with valuable business lessons. Despite
potential business-ending hurdles thrown in his path, time and again he has overcome and truly lived
the school motto “Never Give In”! If this were a work of fiction, one would have thrilled at the resilience
and strength of character of the main player. To know that this is our classmate and friend’s real life
story made the reading even more poignant. Having myself spent all my life working in the international
business arena, I could deeply relate to the challenges he faced and appreciated all the nuggets of
wisdom throughout the book. Read it!!!”
By Anthony and Vanessa Harvey
Thank you for Atul’s brilliant book which I am sure cannot fail to become a best seller. It reminded me of our
family precision engineering business which for fifty years was at the cutting edge of innovation – it was the
first British company to receive the Queen’s innovation Award in 1961. It Becoming a publicly quoted
company in 1973, it has subsequently been in the doldrums under poor management for the last thirty years
but it has a fascinating history of achievement. Whilst I am only a small shareholder perhaps Atul’s approach
could provide some resurrection – it would be lovely to see him again when he is next passing through the
By Minal Varadharajan
That is so wonderful. It is indeed a our fortune that one of the founders of YLDP has taken this
big stride and pursued the hobby in spite such a busy schedule
We can put it in our next BOD meeting and see how we can have the Book available to YLDP
Read your autobiography, buddy. Very well written….couldn’t put it down n slept after finishing it at
1.30 am!! Remarkable story n so so motivating. Kudos buddy, take a bow!!
Hi Atul – just received your book this evening. It is simply fantastic. I’ve finished reading 120 pages in an
hours time and just can’t put it down. Love it !
Well done my friend. So so proud of you & your fabulous achievements.
All because of you – I started reading Underdog Thinking at 6:30 pm, thinking that I would leaf through a
few pages and finish it over the course of the week but…I couldn’t put it down! If my speech tomorrow
is inarticulate, you will be the one responsible! It was really fabulous! I will send you a more detailed
response tomorrow! Thanks so much for having shared it with me!
By Dinesh Mirchandani
Congratulations!!! What’s with you Hira cousins cranking out great books effortlessly? I’m going to have
to get my autographed copy in person Atul.
Congratulations Atul….. it’s a great feeling that one of my friends is now an author and that too a darn
good one ! I am saying this because I have read few of your talks ! I am sure thay are the part of the
book. I will surely get one from Amazon
WOW – congratulations, Atul!!! …. My book will arrive on monday – i‘ve just ordered one .. and i‘m already
Happy weekend to all of you
By Raj Thapar
Congratulations Atul. This is awesome. We are all very proud of you.
By Satish Sheth
Atulji Greetings from Calcutta. Very well done. Proud of having associated with and a friend like you who
has gone thru tumultuous times , accomplished being a well established entrepreneur and willing to
share. Celebration during the next Happy hour. Looking forward to reading the book.
OL Atul Vir, 1975 batch, Houston based entrepreneur with an extraordinary series of “Never Give In” stories has
recently published his book, “Underdog Thinking: A Bold Idea, A Business Adventure, and 101 Lessons Learned
Along the Way”.
It is one of the best business books I’ve ever read. Right up there with “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight. I simply couldn’t put
it down. And I’ve read it multiple times now.
Obviously, as an OL (and fellow Houstonian) I have a built in bias; nonetheless I highly recommend it to all OLs. You
will not be able to put it down and may feel evermore connected to our school motto.
I believe if a compilation of “OL-Never-Give-In” stories is created, starting from 1858, this story, probably not yet as
familiar, will come to hold a special place of honor.
Published June 18 2020
A complete business management guide.
The way Atul narrated his story steering our course of reading through all the phases of his life and the people he came across was commendable. With his first book, he has given us the most important life lessons he learned from his life struggling through betrayal and loneliness, and yet trying to find the ultimate peace in his family and in himself. He warns us about the moments when we may have to see our closest confidants becoming our worst enemies. But also makes us belief that if we never leave the ‘never give in’ spirit, we can cross any mountain.
Read this book if you want to scale high in business.
Published June 13 2020
This book is about all the ups and downs the author had to go through to make his company successful as an immigrant entrepreneur in the USA. He gives an insightful perspective on all the challenges of starting a business and on how to keeping it successful over the years.
This book is not only inspiring but also a lesson book for emerging entrepreneurs.
By Claude Hang-Belemu
Published June 8 2020
Hello, Mr Vir. I’m reading your book “Under Dog Thinking” and I just had to search for you online. I’m moved, inspired and in awe of your life’s work and story. Thank you for building your company and thank you for the wealth of wisdom shared in it.
By Gift Nwagu
Published June 3 2020
The book has adopted a descriptive style to teach the audience business secrets which makes the book all the better!
Published June 2 2020
India native Atul Vir founded and leads global company Equator Advanced Appliances out of Houston, Texas – a provider of home appliances. Sound staid and lacking excitement? Think again. Buckle up your seat belt and take the entrepreneurial roller coaster as Vir lets you ride shotgun to the ups and downs of creating a new appliance market with international vendors and universal human shortcomings. The machine – a combination washer/dryer for the US consumer – might be perfect but, you don’t know what the people involved are going to do. Vir, a transparent and ethical leader, finds his style opens doors and other times leaves him vulnerable to deceit. In moments of crisis, Vir recites his military prep school’s motto: “Never Give Up” and just doesn’t quit.
Find out why Vir believes the lone entrepreneur is the underdog whose win is a victory for customers.
Published May 27 2020
Underdog Thinking is an ode to the underdogs and their path to their comeback story. His story jumps straight into action and never lets up. It’s an easy read and I found myself learning more than I could imagine about the laundry appliance industry. 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.