I will love to be at a state when my introduction is only my name says Author Kanika Singal.
Kanika Singal is a young author who has published her first book How to Survive the boss. She is a multi-potentialite with interests in design, writing, and leadership. Having studied at the Yale University, Kanika is also an alum from IIT-Delhi and an architect from the School of Planning & Architecture. Kanika had successful corporate stint spanning 15years with leading organizations like McKinsey & Co, Levi’s Strauss and Co and CEB (now Gartner) in various leadership roles. She runs a boutique consulting firm that helps in business transformation and institution building across Asia. She is a thought leader in the field of Design Thinking. She currently invests time in endeavors that allow her to explore her varied interests in a meaningful way and is available for a coaching/ mentoring session or just a chit-chat over tea and crumpets. She splits her time between Delhi and San Francisco. We had an interview with her and here are the highlights of the conversation;
Q. Your first book How to Survive the Boss is getting positive reviews from the readers online, how it feels and what is the response in general outside the online portals?
Ans. Oh, you won’t believe it! I am ecstatic!! I was so sure that when I publish my book – I will become unemployable – I mean, who would want to hire someone who teaches you how to survive your manager! But then, when I started getting the reviews things changed. It is incredible – in mere 160 odd pages, people are finding what they are looking for. Some people are just having fun relating to the situations I have started each chapter with and others are relating the solutions to basic human relationships – I did not expect this kind of a response.
When I wrote the book- all I wanted was to share some of my ideas – because I truly believe, the manager like you are also employees – you just need to find a way to work with them. My success is – if a reader can find at least one thing in the book that they feel they can apply or helps them de-stress or feel that the situation they are in can be solved before they say – I QUIT, it is a job well done.
Q. Tell us something about your book How to Survive the Boss, what made you choose the subject and what is its USP?
Ans. Before I answer this tell me – do you believe Bitching is the best form of bonding!!?!! Well, I believe that. Boss Bitching is possibly the biggest reason for after work drinks!! We rarely talk about it. I just wanted to talk about it – and say it the way it is.
The premise of my book is that it is not necessary that the boss is bad – it may be the situation – and one needs to learn how to tackle such situations. The USP of the book is that it is taking a bad boss actually in a positive light, is based on anecdotes – so makes it an easy read and tries to objectively help you manage your bad-boss situation.
It is for people who want to remove the stress of manager from their work life!
Q. You have written a non-fiction self-help book, will you ever try your hands at writing a fiction novel? Which genre you enjoy writing the most and why?
Ans. If someone will publish – I will love to write business graphic novel – creating super heroes from the business heroes or tell the story of a brand – I think it will be super fun. I also have another fun project going on – 5 MISSES TO BE A MRS!! And another book on Design Thinking – to be published by SAGE – if I complete it in time that is. J
Q. What is your quest as an author? Where you want to see yourself in the times to come?
Ans. I believe storytelling is one of the few things that will always differentiate man from a machine!!! (and we all know how machines are taking over our world!). This is only my first book as an author and I am still learning how to tell a story- an anecdote and how to make it memorable. In times to come, I will like to experiment and tell stories that help make life experiences better. I have tried some of this in my current book – short chapters, in a story format (anecdotal) and non-data (but I do have a chapter at the end for the data inclined!). I do wish that I am able to get better in this craft of storytelling.
Q. How much the book is inspired by your own experiences?
Ans. The book is inspired by real life stories! Well almost!!
Q. Is finding a publisher was a challenge? How is your experience so far of working with HarperCollins?
Ans. I could not have asked for a better publisher than Harper Collins. The team of editors just knew how and where to push me and when to stop, giving me the creative freedom I desired. I walked up to them with an idea, and they have helped me shape that idea into a book. From my editor to illustrator to the publicist, all have worked together to build the book – although the name is mine – I have to give credit to my collaborators at Harper. I was such a fantastic relationship which has developed into deep friendships. And of course – each time I walk into their office- I would flick a pre-copy of a book of another fellow author- which bibliophile will not love that!! I so wished I was going to their office more often.
Q. Who are your favorite writers and also tell us about your favorite books?
Ans. There are many like;
· Tuesday with Morrie – a classic that explains life in such a simple story format
· Gibran – Prophet – it is like a bible to me. I just open any page and start reading.
· The book of Joy – Dalai Lama
· David Whyte – Poetry
· Jean-Paul Sartre – Humanism
· Nicolas Christakis – Connected- one of the best theories I have read on human connections
· God of small things – Arundhati Roy – I find her writing visual
· Namesake, Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
· Train to Pakistan – Khuswant Singh
· Almost Single – Advaita Kala – a very very fun read about our of being single in a big city
· Liberals – Hindol Sengupta – enjoyed they way he has written about the middle-class India of the 1990’S
Q. Who or what is your inspiration to write?
Ans. The book is dedicated to my father. He has been a strong driving force in my life. This is important- because I had the contract when my dad was in the hospital and he soon passed away. At that time, it was rather important for me to complete this project- it was the last true joy and achievement I could share with him before he passed away. I feel sad, he is not these to see the book published.
Q. What is more interesting, being a writer or an architect?
Ans. Hahaha! So you are asking me about my journey from foundations to fountain pen….. to be honest – being an architect, an author and all the other things I do in my life – I often feel like a chameleon- I just choose who I want to be depending on the situation I am in- an architect, a management professional, an author or an entrepreneur! The fun part is when I look at the faces in front of me – people struggle to place me. We have forever lived in a society when our identity is defined by what we do – but we are more than just one profession – isn’t it. I think I will love to be at a state when my introduction is only my name. That would be interesting.
Q. Tell us something about your work apart from writing and personal life a bit?
Ans. Well – I live in Delhi – and consider San Francisco as my second home. I am Single (what to do, with a name like this!! SINGAL!). With over 15 years in corporate world, I feel I continue to be a little bit of a hippie at heart – trying my hands are new explorations – my current exploits – Calligraphy. I am a blues dancer and am terrible at it. I am rather easy to make friends with- put me in Timbuktu, and I will find people to hang out with there! At work, right now – I am doing whatever fancies my heart. I run a boutique consulting firm – where I work with individuals looking for coaching and mentorship to organizations who are building institutions and new business explorations.
Q. Any message for the readers and budding writers you want to give?
Ans. As I say in the book – Blow your own trumpet, if you don’t know someone else will – That said – keep writing and keep reading… it is a joy!!!
Click here to buy her book.