Sanjeev Kotnala: Review of V Chandrmouli’s ‘Get better at Getting better’

21 Aug,2019

By Sanjeev Kotnala


I liked Chandramouli Venkatesan’s first book ‘Catalyst’.  The blurb  of his next book ‘Get better at getting better’  interested me.  It suggested some similarity in thinking. Getting better afterall is very evolutionary thought and the escape to survival from Darwinian time.

Chandramouli Venkatesan identifies four ‘core abilities’ that we need to focus professionally.

1. People skill / relationship / leadership / personal value system.

2. Analytical skill/comfort with numbers / logical reasoning.

3. Conceptualisation and intuitive skills / creativity / insightfulness.

4. Organised / disciplined / planned / efficient.

He says to get better in these ‘core capabilities’, one needs to develop the capability to succeed and continuously improving. He refers to it as ‘Get Better Model or GBM. This GBM seems to be the differentiator.

GBM is all about:

1. Getting better by yourself. Deliberately getting better from what you do on a daily basis by yourself, without external help.

2. Getting better by leveraging others. Deliberately leveraging all external resources available to you to get better.

3. Making others get better. Deliberately building an ecosystem around you that multiplies your efforts.

4. Making and implementing a get-better plan. Deliberately making a plan and implementing it to get better in a few areas of focus.


Read the book to know how to get better at getting better. It can help you unleash your potential at both personal and professional life.

Venkatesan proposes a doable practical model. It is based on his own experience and experimentation through his career. It is ultimately a question of mindset and your approach and attitude toward being successful.

What I find right with the book is the simple, easy to read and understand language. There is hardly any jargon. No heavy stuff. In fact, Chandramouli Venkatesan tries his best to simplify everything using some mathematical interpretations.

On the other side, I find the thoughts too iterative, and an attempt to address all the possible stakeholders in one book dilutes the notion.

In a nutshell, the simple thought is the process of always looking at trying to improve, not necessarily seeking and learning the answers but the process to arrive at the answers. This whole process has to be deliberate. Once you build the habit, once you build the discipline, it becomes quite easy, as it then becomes your default process.

I recommend reading the book. However, if you have to pick between the two books by Chandramouli Venkatesan, I will recommend ‘Catalyst’ over  ‘Get better at getting better’.

It is true that ‘Success is not about how good you are, it is about how powerful and effective a model you have to improve how good you are’. And in my Brand_i sessions, I add ‘ Success may not be completely a function of your skills and talent, but how well you are branded within the organisation’. GBM may actually help your Brand-I to be relevant and impact your career positively.

Venkatesan nails it when he says ‘At work, the responsibility for each one of us getting better rest squarely on our own shoulders’. There is no point expecting help unless you demonstrate the hunger for getting better.

Another thought that makes me back; this is the area of being selfish. This is what I endorse and share. I have been propagating that people must give more to their profession, Be-selfish in achieving what you aim for. And when Chandramouli Venkatesan says that ‘results are transitory and results belong to you, the team and the company. However, the extent to which you have got better solely belongs to you. The purpose of getting better is to be able to respond better to the future, if we get better, then our response will be better’. Well, it does echo well.

One chapter that all professionals must-read is about raising the effectiveness of meetings. Chandramouli Venkatesan provides a practical solution of leveraging meetings and How do we get better at meetings?

I will stop myself from sharing anything more in the book. This is a self-help book, which can only help if you read, Pause, Reflect, absorb, and move on to reflect again. Absorb, include the aspect of putting in to practice what you learn, without which nothing matters. Because knowing is not about embedding and changing and ‘Getting better is not an indulgence’.


‘Get Better At Getting Better’ by Chandramouli Venkatesan. Pages 231. INR 299. Penguin.


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