A voracious reader from the very beginning or new to it, young founders Anirudh Singla and Rahul Mathur have read enough books to overfill their shelves in the last one and half year, largely thanks to lockdown that gave more time.
Mathur and Singla, both based in Mumbai, started their firms in 2020 and 2017 respectively.
Rahul Mathur, Founder & CEO, BimaPe
Anirudh Singla, CEO, Pepper Content
Mathur’s BimaPe is a digital platform that helps people and families manage their insurance plans. The company received a total pre-seed funding of $545,000 recently and has also raised $1.5 million more from Lightspeed, Titan Capital, iSeed and Gemba Capital as reported by Moneycontrol
Anirudh Singla’s Pepper Content was founded in 2017 along with his co-founder Rishabh Shekhar is an online marketplace that connects businesses looking for content to content creators. A detailed story on their journey has been made by Moneycontrol.
In a new episode of All About Books on Twitter Spaces, Mathur and Singla spoke candidly about their reading habits and recommended books with Moneycontrol’s M Sriram and Swathi Moorthy. Here are the excerpts from the conversation.
Q: When did they start reading and how do they find the time to read
Rahul Mathur: I picked up most of my reading in January 2020 when things started to get banned and I have ploughed through around 70 books. And, I am only two years into the reading habit, and the bulk of my reading happened in the last 16-17 months.
Anirudh Singla: I have been a voracious reader from the start, but from the last one year during COVID-19 I have read a lot. Reading business books gives me a lot of ideas and also gives me a forward-looking perspective.
AS: I will give you an example. I was in a meeting with one of our investors where he mentioned terms like sales velocity and sales efficiency and I was confused because I thought I knew sales. I decided that I needed to be on top of it by the next time I met him.
So I ordered books like Founding Sales
by Peter R Kazanjy, The Ultimate Sales Machine
by Chet Holmes. I also listened to entire podcasts everyday. The books gave me a very good experience.
Books read in the last three-four months
AS: I’ve read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKewon, the book gives you a great perspective on life. I have also been reading a lot on culture as we are a growing organisation. No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Erin Meyer and Reed Hastings is a good one. I’m fascinated by Amazon so Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon by Bill Carr and Colin Bryar. It's a wonderful book if someone is trying to build systems in their company when they start to scale.
One fiction book that I read was Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Murakami. I love reading abstract books sometimes.
Reading in parts and fiction books
RM: I do not read fiction books, but I split my reading into two parts which are ‘just in time’ and ‘just in case’. Just in time is like what was mentioned earlier that is reading about culture to scale up.
I do not find my “day job” as work, it is fun. For me, any reading does not feel like work and I like learning.
Reading on Kindle vs Physical book
AS: All of us started by thinking that Kindle can handle things, but all of us eventually reverted back to the physical book. You do not feel the success of closing a book. Now I prefer physical books because it serves as a reminder that I have not read a particular book.
Started a book but didn't finish
AS: I started reading The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham and it felt too heavy after a point of time.
Rahul Mathur: Any book I have picked up I have finished it up to the last page except the appendix, the reason behind it is I don’t buy any book that comes on my Amazon recommendation list. I buy books only when I feel there is a promise.
Reading multiple books at one time
AS: I did try it initially but then felt you needed to put your attention on one book and move on. Each book has its own pace and you have your own pace. So I realised there are certain books you can move fast and absorb certain key takeaways but there are books that you have to go deeper and invest more time in.
RM: It has happened only in cases where I wanted to finish another book. I find switching between two books as mentally taxing as switching between two different objects at work. So I stick to a book until I am either fed up with it or finish it.
Decision on what to read
RM: People who interact with me on my Twitter and LinkedIn come to me with book suggestions or I opt for Amazon’s book recommendation engine which seems to favor me reasonably well.