Versatile author, Ashwin Sanghi’s new books, 13 Steps to Bloody Good Health and 13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting, are more than self-help manuals. They are real, relatable and must-reads for all.
Bestselling author… prolific writer… thriller master… India’s very own Dan Brown—all these attributes come together to describe the one and only Ashwin Sanghi. On the one hand, he has written bestsellers such as The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, The Sialkot Saga and Private Delhi (co-written with American author James Patterson), and on the other, he has penned or edited an interesting and motivational self-help series called 13 Steps. First came 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck in 2014, which received an unbelievable response. Next came 13 Steps to Bloody Good Wealth (co-authored with Sunil Dalal) in 2016 and 13 Steps to Bloody Good Marks (co-authored with Ashok Rajani) in 2017. And now we have two new additions to the series—13 Steps to Bloody Good Health (co-authored with Dr Mukesh Batra) and 13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting (co-authored by Kiran Manral).
What makes them ‘Bloody Good’
What makes Sanghi’s new titles a mustread is the simplicity of language and the way in which they connect with each and every reader. Whether you weigh 58 kg or 85 kg, 13 Steps to Bloody Good Health will give you an insight on what you may be doing just right and what may require a little bit of tweaking and fine tuning. From telling readers about how being happy can perhaps help in weight loss to touching on areas such as digital addiction, the book covers a range of topics that help you to course-correct and get yourself in better shape, and most importantly, in being a mentally, emotionally and physically healthy and happy individual. It covers topics that you may have not even realised or known about until now! 13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting, as the name suggests, is about parenting, which is usually regarded as a very individual thing. True, every child is unique, as they say, but so is every set of parents and their respective style of parenting. 13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting approaches this extremely delicate topic with humour and care. But it’s not just with parents that the book resonates. You may be a teacher at a school, an aunt or uncle to your niece or nephew, or just a neighbour to a four-yearold— 13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting will help you become a more responsible individual while dealing with a child. The beauty of both the books is that at no point do they sound preachy or try to teach the reader anything. Quick and easy reads, you can finish them over a relaxed weekend; but the imbibitions are sure to stay with you for a long time, perhaps even a lifetime! Anecdotes, quotes, humour, personal experiences and much more come together to make 13 Steps to Bloody Good Health and 13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting enjoyable yet essential reads. Both the books have 14 chapters each (or “Steps”), each a treasure trove of information and insight on the respective topic covered.
As a successful writer, the many accolades that have been heaped upon Ashwin Sanghi include being declared winner of Crossword Popular Choice Award and named in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list. He also has a master’s degree in business management from the Yale School of Management, USA. We bring you a Q&A with the prolific writer.
What inspired you to write 13 Steps to Bloody Good Health and 13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting?
As you know, the first book in the series was 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck. This was meant to be a single book; but little did I realise that it would morph into a series that would include books on wealth, marks, health and parenting. This series is less about inspiration and more about using the vertical domain knowledge of co-authors and combining it with my storytelling mindset, so that we can demystify commonly misunderstood self-help topics.
What are your biggest takeaways from these books on a personal level?
As regards 13 Steps to Bloody Good Health, which is the book on health with Dr Batra, I would say that, personally, I am one of the unhealthiest people you can find. I am overweight, I drink, I smoke. But writing this book made me understand that the key lay in moderation, rather than abstinence. Similarly, the book on parenting (13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting) with Kiran Manral made me realise that parenting cannot be about onesize- fits-all. It’s a trial-and-error process and one can never expect to be the perfect parent.
With regard to self-help books, there is a very thin line between them being preachy and being practical. Your books fall under the latter category. Is that a conscious effort, or does this come naturally to you?
Thank you for saying that! The one element of self-help that is an immediate turn-off is the sermonising. My co-authors and I have consciously steered away from that. Books such as these should be quick, enjoyable reads, with a few nuggets of wisdom that can be easily absorbed.
What were the challenges you faced while writing these two books?
For someone who grew old too fast and wise too late, the book on health was a challenge because I felt like a fraud while writing it. Hence, the angle that I have taken is to make readers learn from me, in order to understand what they should not do. I took a similar approach with the parenting book—we are imperfect humans and neither parents nor kids are ever ideal! Moreover, I knew the number of mistakes that I had made as a parent. All this learning, along with the expertise of my co-authors, has been distilled into these books.
How has been the response to these books?
Very good! Keep in mind that the highest selling genres in India are mythology, romance and crime. Self-help is rather low down on the charts. But that’s precisely what I hope to change with the 13 Steps series.
There are two more titles in the 13 Steps series that are at various stages of writing or editing. This year, I shall complete writing the sixth book in the Bharat Series too. In addition, I am developing the arch for a new crime thriller series.