This story is about a social entrepreneur Amrut Deshmukh aka The Booklet Guy who turned his love for reading into his life’s purpose with his venture Booklet.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life

Confucius

A Chartered Accountant by profession, he worked as a Fund Manager for a few years until the startup bug bit him. His latest venture or as we would like to call initiative is to “MAKE INDIA READ”.

He touches the lives of those million Indians who want to read books but lack the time to do so. He creates twenty-minute book summaries and the more recent one-minute Tiny Booklet through his app Booklet – Mission Make India Read. Amrut Deshmukh.

So what is Amrut Deshmukh Aka The Booklet Guy story?

Coming from a humble background, Amrut’s tryst with books was through his brother and that too at a very young age. Armut vividly recalls

I hated my birthday’s growing up as my brother would ask all my friends and family only to get me books and no other gifts. With time, books stimulated my imagination and transported me to a different world altogether.

Amrut Deshmukh got introduced to the non-fiction category by his brother only after his class 10th. The first book he went on to read was RICH DAD POOR DAD by Robert Kiyosaki.

“I was angry with my family for not teaching me the meaning of financial independence early on.”

Amrut Deshmukh went on to do his Chartered Accountancy and made a 6-figure monthly salary. But what he craved most was respect. Amrut left his fat pay-check for an entrepreneurship spree. After three failed startups on his LinkedIn profile and one breakup on his Facebook profile, Amrut was utterly dejected.

But Amrut remembered what his bother once told him, ‘Amrut whenever you are in a crossroad, “READ RANDOM”.’ He started with a few unread books lying on his shelf forever. They turned out to be the autobiographies of great leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., APJ Abdul Kalam, and the likes.

The more Amrut Deshmukh studied those legends; the more he realized the importance of moving from “What’s in it for M.E.?” mindset to “What can I do for OTHERS?” And that became a turning point for him. He knew that his next big idea would be around books.

What incident led Amrut to launch Booklet?

Amrut soon had his Eureka moment while watching the movie Bahubali with his friend. As they had reached the movie theater 15 minutes earlier, Amrut started to narrate the key takeaways of a recently read book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. His friend was spell-bound. He said, “Amrut, I don’t get enough time to read. You are an avid reader. If you can share summaries of books that you read, your reading habits can benefit me.”

The words struck with Amrut. He chose Wings of Fire by Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam as his first book and sent a 20 minutes book summary to 10 of his close friends through WhatsApp and asked them to share it with their friends and family. Before he knew, 500,000 people were eagerly waiting for the book summaries every Wednesday via Whatsapp.

Right now Amrut touches the lives of 1.6 Million people across India.

We asked Amrut’s inspiration for his application “Booklet?”

Amrut Deshmukh: I like to take inspiration from unrelated fields. I never did any market research or went on to study existing apps in the market. My initial inspiration came from Whatsapp. The application’s user interface closely mimics that of WhatsApp’s. For example, the photos of the books appear as an individual’s profile photo.

The inspiration for Tiny Booklet came from Twitter. Tiny Booklet was created to explain one concept from a book in limited words and time, very similar to Twitter’s 280-word character limit.

What were Amrut’s key marketing strategies?

Amrut: Well, firstly, I like to call it “PERCEPTION DESIGNING.”  I got all of my ideas from reading people. Legends like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa never made much effort to promote their ideologies. They all stood for a purpose higher than themselves and created history. And I believe, I too stand for a higher purpose of ‘Making India Read.’

One of the laws from the book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout states “If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in. I decided to become that category in myself, a face that people correlate with reading habits.

P.S: It does not make sense in spending money on things that you are giving for free.

When you ask someone the following questions, what do they answer?

“Who is the best Chef in India? Sanjeev Kapoor

Who is the best hairdresser in India? Javed Habib

Who is the best cricketer in India? Sachin Tendulkar Who is the best reader in India? There was no face. I wanted to be that face. I wanted to read for others and make them read with me.”

-Amrut

What can you expect next from Booklet?

Amrut: I am working on a new feature called “Chat with Booklet guy,” involving A.I. and Machine learning. This feature will allow readers to read a book without them knowing, simply by chatting. More details to follow soon!

In the end, we asked Amrut for his two cents for our entrepreneur readers.

Amrut: 1. Place small bets. Remain excited but don’t fall in love with your idea.

2. While you may hear, motivation causes actions; always believe it is Action, which causes motivation.

3. Constraints inspire creativity. You don’t have to wait for everything to fall in place to execute the idea. An idea is as good as fast as it can be implemented.

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Swati Bagri
Author

Swati is a Chartered Accountant with 6 years of experience working with some of the biggest global brands. While her profession demands number-crunching, she is a story-teller at heart. She loves travelling and meeting new people. Connect with her on LinkedIn for stories and more!

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