Suhel Seth has distilled his life experiences in Get to the Top, a book filled with wisdom and unique insights. Scattered with personal anecdotes, Suhel elucidates the principles of how to succeed in today’s highly competitive world. He writes with searing honesty about the lessons he has learned throughout his life which makes the book a must-read.
Renowned for his unparalleled hospitality in India, Seth recommends inviting an eclectic mix of people for an interesting night, “In Kolkata, I would bring together people as disparate as industrialist Russi Modi and musician Ananda Shankar. In Mumbai, the cartoonist R.K Laxman would rub shoulders with filmmaker Subhash Ghai. In Delhi, I don’t favour one political party over the other. In fact, someone once joked that my parties were like being in parliament when it was not in session.”
He emphasizes the importance of staying loyal to your friends through thick and thin. When the press flayed the Tatas who were implicated in India’s 2G license scandal, rather than disavow all association or stay quiet, Suhel put up a robust defence: “I got pilloried for doing so, both in my social circle as well as in social media. I did not keep quiet. I retaliated with facts. Silence is often misconstrued as guilt or weakness, so don’t be silent if you are convinced about your beliefs.” He shows how the keys to social success lie in being a sincere, loyal friend rather than a smooth networker.
The book is far more than a manual on how to be adept in all social situations as the title suggests, Seth elucidates the principles and values which he lives by. Through his many life experiences, he has acquired a sure grasp of the world and how to get by in it.
In today’s ruthless and status anxiety ridden world, Suhel reminds the reader to be interested in people for who they are, not what they have: “Bottom line: be interested in people, not because of how wealthy or intelligent they are or how old, but because of what they are like. Growing up in Kolkata taught me this important lesson. Kolkata has this inherent belief in the mind over the materialistic and there, social hierarchy was not about how wealthy you were but about how bright. This has stayed with me. If you can hold on to this principle, you’ll see all sorts of people enter your life and you’ll be amazed by how much fun you’re having with them.”
A renowned writer, marketing powerhouse and compelling public speaker, Seth’s opinions are highly valued for his uncompromising principles, his independent thinking, his refusal to follow the flock and his courage in always speaking his mind, even if what he says might be difficult to hear. It is for this reason that his voice resonates in India’s corridors of authority with rare power and clarity.
Suhel Seth’s mantras:
• Wit can be a man’s greatest asset, but so can having an opinion and the ability to listen
• Look for recreational, and not transactional, evenings
• Do your friends favours but never expect any in return
• Always introduce friends to each other
• Look for accomplished friends, not important ones
• Keep your old childhood friends
• Praise people behind their backs and bitch about people to their faces
• Accept that you will be maligned, especially once you begin to do well
• It’s not about external success in the ultimate analysis, it is about enriching yourself