Book Review: Dream with Your Eyes Open

Ronnie Screwvala is living testament to the proverbial rags-to riches story. He started from modest surroundings and quickly rose to become a scion of bollywood. He is the embodiment of the great indian dream. So when he decided to write his journey, I just had to get my hands on the book. Here is what I think about this very practical book.


From modest beginnings in Mumbai’s Grant Road, to his early days on TV and theatre. He tells us how the journey enfolded and how he was inspired to venture into cable TV. But before that we get a driver’s seat view of how he built one of the largest toothbrush manufacturing operations from an unused machine which he struggled to buy! He even openly talks about making jokes about his own name at college to negate the usual suspects hounding him with it!

Then we move on to how UTV came into being and his early interactions with Rupert Murdoch. The real and non preachy tone of the book had me hooked to it from start to end. There are simple chapters and at the end of each one, he shares what that part of his life taught him. Clear, crisp and to the point.

If you think that your parents or family will be perturbed or go ballistic when you mention that you would not like to take the trodden path and have a dream, you need to give them this book. They will then understand where you are coming from.

This book tells you that things can be done, albeit with a lot of struggle and persistence, there is not a single place where the narrative shifts from “it can be done” to “I did it”, and that is why this book stayed with me even after I read it thrice! Being a person who runs a startup with big aspirations, I know how it feels and I can relate to Ronnie at every juncture in the book.

The big difference that I see in this book is the honest attempt to demystify and analyze failure, and then use the data to inspire success to regularly stoke the fire of your ambition and keep thinking big. The fact that success is just around the bend after failure is very succinctly conveyed and the reader gets it very loud and clear!

If you have an idea that can disrupt or have already begun your entrepreneurial journey, this is one book that you cannot miss. There are glimpses into some funny secrets like pre-meeting collection of everyone’s mobile phones at UTV. Minor things that help you to understand the thought behind the man.

The narrative is simple, the insights are very useful and completely identifiable for someone who is a David, fighting the Goliath that is the system and conventions. This one is also a good expedition into the innner working of a practical entrepreneur’s mind

If there was ever a simple and clear indian book that talked about success as a journey and not a destination to get hung up over, this is it.

Ronnie details his vast experiences and the myriad lessons he learnt from roughly two decades of succeeding and failing, but never ever losing the self belief and focus that have now come to define the man that he is. It can help a stuck entrepreneur get inspired to adapt to the rapidly changing canvas that is corporate India.

All in all – a relevant, non-preachy, very grounded and sensible set of lessons for entrepreneurs. I recommend it to everyone on that path! Very engaging and without any laxity in the narrative! I am impressed Ronnie! Please keep writing more of such useful literature!


About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

View all posts by Shakthi →