There are hundreds of books on self-improvement in the market, but Burra Venkatesham’s Selfie of Success stands apart due to its honest approach to an elusive pursuit in human life and a very unique narrative style. Majority of the self-help books available offer tips to achieve your desires and dreams in life, accomplish plans, reach career goals and accumulate wealth and define all these as success. However, Selfie of Success chooses to offer us a completely different perspective to success, revealing its not-soglamourous side, its pitfalls and the cost it extracts from those pursuing it.

Mr Venkatesham, an IAS officer who despite his humble roots achieved considerable success in his own life, studies success as if under a microscope and analyses its various aspects, its ‘settings’, ‘syllabus’, ‘summary’, ‘signature’ and even the ‘side-effects’. The author employed a unique narrative style, giving the impression of holding a mirror (or a smart phone camera) before success to allow some kind of a self-assessment. The first person narrative becomes a clever ploy since the author personifies “Success” to provide a holistic approach instead of assessing it only in social and economic contexts as we are wont to do.

Success comes across as a living, breathing person while the author explores the company it keeps, the way it acts, walks, speaks and thinks. It is akin to having face-to-face conversation with success. The life stories of acclaimed and famous personalities from diverse realms and age including Mahatma Gandhi, Escobar , Jack Ma, Ramoji Rao, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson who have achieved success in their respective domains have been included to provide greater insights to readers.

The real life stories subtly elucidate each point made by the author. For, instance in case of Oprah Winfrey, behind the glamour of her fame and success lies a difficult, even abusive childhood. Or though Petrarch invented the sonnet form it was Shakespeare who found success while employing this poetic form.

This book serves to motivate as well as forewarn the reader that adopting deceitful methods to pursue success might be counter-productive. However, instead of mere sermonising there is a philosophical approach coupled with a poetic style. An easy read in terms of language, it can either be read at one go, from cover to cover or if you are not an avid reader you can delve right in the middle, select those chapters, the titles of which arouse curiosity or interest.

The book broadens the horizon for the reader, right from the Prologue and guides those seeking success with the right intent and resolve, closer to their chosen destination. All in all, a wonderful read both in terms of form and content.