Lifestyle Fashion

‘I was nervous it could be a career-killer’

HYDERABAD: It was a packed hall with many audience members having ‘bunked’ work to get a glimpse of author Chetan Bhagat whose works, Five Point Someone, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, and Half Girlfriend, have been best-selling hits despite much criticism. In fact, at the Bengaluru launch of his latest book, 11 Rules For Life: Secrets to Level Up (HarperCollins India; Rs 250 ), a young boy had travelled from Kalaburagi just to meet his ‘favourite’ author whom he compared with world best-selling writer James Clear. A visibly embarrassed Bhagat replied, “It’s not a fair comparison since Clear’s Atomic Habits is one of the highest-read non-fiction books in the world.”

Hopefully, that compliment put his worries of stepping into a genre different from his usual, to rest. The author confesses that he was nervous about writing a self-help book like 11 Rules For Life. “I was extremely nervous about it because it could be a career-killer. Even so, I went ahead with it for three reasons I believed in. Fundamentally, I believe there is too much entertainment. But there is too little guidance on how to lead life. There are a lot of self-help readers in India to whom I am catering. They are the ones who will pick it up,” says Bhagat, adding, “Thirdly, my book is set in the Indian context with local Indian examples and characters.”

The book, already in its third print, can be found in the self-help section in bookstores but Bhagat calls it ‘part-memoir, part-self-help, and part-fiction’. Despite the shortening attention and reading span, Bhagat says he has studied his readers to know what will work. “I know my readers – they are the Insta reel watchers who never pick up a book. They are not readers but they are ‘Chetan Bhagat readers’,” he quips.

Bhagat is prepared for fewer takers for this book, but that’s a risk he was willing to take. “My conscience is happy because I have reached a stage where performance matters to me. The sure shot way was to write another work of fiction but that would have left me feeling empty because this is what I wanted to do right now,” he signs off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *