Title: Give to Get: A Senior Leader’s Guide to Navigating Corporate Life

Author: Vishal  Agarwal

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Publication Date:  March 6, 2018

Genre: Non-Fiction, Business, Leadership, Personal Development

In Give to Get, Vishal Agarwal compresses lessons from his 20+ years of corporate experience as a commercial negotiator (he is known for being the lead transaction advisor for the iconic 2006 KenGen IPO  while at PwC)  for the senior leaders in this slim volume.  His main thesis is that for a senior leader to excel, he must be willing to give more than he anticipates to receive. In addition to his hard work, he will able to cultivate trust and loyalty among his colleagues.

That is why Agarwal advocates for two important tools that go hand in hand that every executive should have in his toolkit. a  stakeholder map and a playbook.  Vishal says just like a company, you should be able to know who your key stakeholders; from your superiors, team members as well as industry colleagues. A corporate executive should be able to know more about the people that he works with apart from just their job titles, descriptions and deliverables. By knowing a few personal details, you are able to build more authentic relations and know how to communicate effectively to them. By dedicating some time in stakeholder engagement, you will be able to know who can help you achieve your business (and maybe even some personal) goals as detailed in your playbook or game plan.

Though he targets senior executives with this book, readers who are starting out in their corporate careers would be able to easily adapt the book’s lessons to their professional situations so that they can stay ahead of the game; or to use a “Vishal-ism”, be a lion and not a goat. As someone who reads a lot of business and leadership material, there was nothing earth-shattering in this book. However, Vishal’s approaching is refreshing since he illustrates his points with examples that Kenyan readers will easily resonate with. Give and Get will be a useful tool is continuing the conversation around in building a thriving corporate culture in Kenya with its idiosyncrasies. Most business books in the Kenyan market are penned by Western authors but Give to Get is proof that Kenyans can publish good books that can be enjoyed by global readers.

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Note: This book and its cover photo were sourced from Netgalley in exchange for a free review. Kenyan readers can purchase physical copies from Text Book Centre and Jumia.

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