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Think and Win like Dhoni by Sfurti Sahare: Book Review

A review of Think and Win like Dhoni, a book that attempts to unravel the working of the World-Cup winning captain's mind.

The author and Mahendra Singh Dhoni with a copy of the book.

The storied life of Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been a phenomenal journey from the sleepy city of Ranchi to the pinnacles of world cricket. In his own way, he has managed to construct a career like no other. There have been various books and interviews about his tactical prowess and man-management skills, and there is even a Bollywood biopic based on him that is soon to be released.

Think and Win like Dhoni is a different piece of literature on the living legend. It doesn’t chronicle just his cricketing achievements: it tries to delve deep into his mind’s working and the quirky relationship between luck and hard work in the man’s life.

It is difficult to understand the way Dhoni thinks: his decisions are bereft of normal, traditional ways and forms. There is an innate unorthodoxy in his game, which makes it more unique and intriguing. While his successful mode of captaincy has won him laurels on and off the field, he has been the subject of numerous business and marketing courses as well.

The book is an earnest attempt to capture the essence of his way of thinking and unravel the secrets that make the man an enigma. Dhoni himself shares his experiences and success mantras in the book, the first writing venture for Sfurti Sahare, a motivational speaker and a computer engineering graduate.

Sahare, an ardent cricket fan, draws parallels from Dhoni’s cool demeanour and explains what made her travel all the way to Ranchi to meet him in person and pick his brain, in an attempt to demystify the legend and the principles that drive one of the best thinkers in the game.

In a book that holds relevance to everyone from a young aspirant of the game to a corporate in an established position, Dhoni’s principles are carefully laid out to explore and imbibe. Since the book has a good amount of references from the game, a cricket-lover will read on, reminiscing highlights from Dhoni’s career on the way.

As you read through, you realise that the “Dhoni way of thinking” is not a complex algorithm. Just like his game, he takes a measured approach at everything, simplifying every aspect and quietly working his way to the top. A number of cricketers played with and against him, but not everyone could climb up the rungs the way he did. And the author makes it sure to debunk the myth that it had everything to do with Dhoni’s luck.

From having an unflappable temperament to handling criticism with grace, Dhoni’s captaincy forms a major part of the book. Drawing instances from famous incidents, like giving the ball to Ishant Sharma against England at Lord’s in 2014, or planning Kieron Pollard’s dismissal in an IPL match by placing two mid-off fielders, the book points out aspects from his captaincy that make him nonpareil. Yet, is it isn’t all about doing the right tactical changes. Giving the captaincy to Sourav Ganguly in the final moments of the latter’s last Test to letting Sachin Tendulkar take the limelight post the 2011 World Cup win, it is Dhoni’s attitude that makes him a genuine leader.

Divided into five sections, each of which highlights one aspect of Dhoni himself, the book takes instances from his career to make the text more real and inspiring. It makes you realise that the journey hasn’t been as easy, or lucky as it is made out to be.

From old friends to team managers; from ex-cricketers to Dhoni’s peers, Sahare has managed to involve a fair number of people, getting their views and opinions on the man himself. As you read along, you get to know how Dhoni “stays in the process”, what makes keeps him uber-cool and calm under pressure and how he manages to retain his smile in the most adverse of conditions. The author makes it a point to stress that a lot can be learned from Dhoni’s post-match talks and interviews, since he preaches what he practices. With the usage of simple words, the gist of Dhoni’s invaluable tips resonates in every page of the book.

It isn’t a cricketing saga, but a self-help book on the ways by which a premier cricketer’s mojo can be equated with the principles of management and self-help. Motivational books tend to sometimes wander off into the abstract, failing to bind reality with the principles that they offer. Yet, with a book that has a template of Dhoni, his successful ventures are there for the world to see, and the motivation part becomes more relatable. It gives you a sneak peek of his view of things, and how it can be a perfect example for others to follow.

The book being Sahare’s debut innings, her writing might still not be top-notch. Yet, Dhoni’s invaluable tips carry it along, breathing life into the text time and again. Although in the right spirit, the book touches one aspect too many, and the abrupt flow of thoughts makes it a bit hard to streamline.

Applying Dhoni’s out of the box ways of approaching a problem, simplifying each and every process and pruning out all negative thoughts, the book urges you to look for a life beyond mediocrity and to make the most out of every opportunity that drops by.

Sahare’s writing has a lot of potential, and subsequent editions can make it even more refurbished and devoid of errata. On the whole, the book encourages a positive mindset towards life and gives you a clearer picture of the working of a World Cup winner’s mind.

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