- Author : Gayatri Jayaraman
- Publisher : Bloomsbury India
- Genre : Non Fiction, Self Help
- Source : Publisher
- Rating : 3/5 Stars
I’m sure everyone has read the article that this book is based on. If you haven’t, it’s right here. The article basically summarises what the book is about perfectly, how Indian millenials, people who don’t have to be poor and starving, are choosing appearances over practicality and suffering for it. Unfortunately since today is more of an appearances age, are they partying at the right place, eating the right food (them damn avocados), wearing the right clothes and hanging with the right people is a more important aspect of getting that promotion and job rather than actually doing the job well.
The book explains this, draws from the experience of people who have gone through it and come out, people who are going through it and people who chose to return to their hometowns after deciding that the job wasn’t worth going through this. Basically it uses the oldest method of teaching a lesson, horror stories. And if I had read this a few years ago I might have been living a better life.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not the kind of person to spend money of drinks and drugs and the right brand of shoes, but I did get shoes and clothes, maybe not branded but I got them. And I realise now, with a wardrobe full of fancy clothes that I never really liked anyway but bought because that’s what everyone else was wearing, I actually have nothing to wear despite having spent so much. It is a conundrum isn’t it. You cannot be the stick in the mud small town types while aspiring to lead people one day in an industry appearances matter (which is almost every industry these days).
WHAT I LIKED: The book doesn’t pretend to give you proper advice, there is a small section at the end that summarises and provides you with common sense that is terribly uncommon these days. But apart from that small section it is without advice yet still you are left knowing exactly what you did wrong. Had I been more careful with my money I might have had a new car today, maybe put down a down payment on my house, maybe I would have had tons in savings and could just live off that for my necessities, food electricity, etc. It makes you realise these things in such an intelligent “advice without the actual nagging” manner that I have to appreciate this book.
WHAT I DISLIKED: It got a little repetitive. I mean, the author goes on to explain certain portions and why they do it. I suppose this would be necessary for someone who isn’t familiar with this problem, maybe an older audience who lived at a time where what work you did was more important that what outfit you did said work in. But for someone like me, who knows photographers, aspiring directors, actors, artists, event planners, authors and so on (I studied arts, what did you expect), people who lived mostly like this, it felt like an unnecessary expansion and repetition on what was already clear.
Then again without the repetition I might not have felt so terrified of life so that is always there. Just a bit of advice when picking this book up, don’t read it when you are in a precarious position in your life and career, you’ll be feeling depressed and like life isn’t worth living. Definitely read it though if you are starting a career in a more appearances based field. (not good looks, rich looks)
The characteristics and reasons for urban poverty are manifold and seem to repeat across class structures: migration, culture shock, real estate costs and unrealistic expectations of city life, a lack of financial education, corporate cultures that perpetuate stereotypical workforces, a glamourised entrepreneurial culture that focuses on icons of spending instead of struggle, and economically and politically, the rise of the cashless credit economy and the demise of the thrift economy and its conservative icons.
The book will use the case studies of young Indians, typically in their first or second jobs, migrants to major Indian metros, living in these conditions. The reasons for the poverty they experience are varied, and influenced by the industries they work for, their family backgrounds, other financial obligations, social stratas, and peer groups. There are so far, no studies available for this in India, and is a rising phenomenon in the US
where it has been called ‘poverty with no name’. Gayatri’s short piece on the Urban Poor crossed 1.1 million views on Buzzfeed – the highest number for any Indian feature article to date.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are my own.