A Bridge Not Too Far
by Deepak Ohri
Genre: Nonfiction / Business / Memoir
Print Length: 192 pages
Reviewed by Susan E. Morris
A Bridge Not Too Far is entrepreneurialism at its best.
Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of a restaurant franchise in the hours before dawn? Or what kind of passion it takes to conceive and operate a successful luxury establishment? Deepak Ohri’s A Bridge Not Too Far: Where Creativity Meets Innovation offers fresh and interesting insights into the restaurant and luxury experience industry.
It’s easy to understand how Ohri’s story, which borders on memoir, will appeal to those familiar with his line of luxury hotels featuring locations in India, Thailand, and New Zealand. It’s an emotionally charged and noteworthy story, and it’s inspiring to follow an underdog as he reaches the pinnacle of success.
Even though I was unfamiliar with Ohri’s brand, as an entrepreneur outside the industry, his story appealed to me. This book offers the reader a bird’s eye view of an entrepreneur’s long and sometimes tortured path. Equally as impressive is the way the book guides those who share Ohri’s entrepreneurial spirit through his approach to business and customer relationships.
He touches on the pressures of being in charge, noting in one passage, “I recognized early on that they were nice to me simply because of my position, not because of who I was as a person.”
He notes the importance of loyalty, showing examples of what it took to remain faithful when circumstances made it difficult. Over the course of the book, he bridges that concept to convey how loyalty to himself led him to become a leader, stating, “My conviction about my own ideas and abilities transformed me. I was no longer a follower but was instead in tune with the pulse of the moment, as a leader. A leader is capable of envisioning a new dimension and a new perspective.”
From his youth, Ohri realized he was different. He longed to meet his wealthy neighbors and learn about their lives. While some around him were timid to leave their cultural comfort zone, Ohri seized new opportunities and expanded his horizons. He took chances and had the help of mentors and the faith of investors who trusted him. His is a classic story. He tried, failed, and tried again.
They seem like simple steps, and the steps outlined by the chapters in Ohri’s story are simple on the surface too, but executing them takes not only grit but courage and insight.
After years of work, where many others would have faltered and failed, he reached the promised pinnacle of success. From this experienced vantage point, he founded an experiential MBA course at Florida International University, where he teaches how to get both quantitative and qualitative clarity on what customers want.
One of my favorite takeaways from the book explains his approach to the customer relationship: “In my journey as an entrepreneur, I recalled that to understand a customer’s viewpoint, it is necessary to become the customer, to put myself in their shoes of being served, instead of serving.”
At times I felt the narrative was a little too close to a memoir for it to be considered pure business or self-help, but oftentimes it’s easier to learn by example, and Ohri delivers a unique perspective on entrepreneurism through his recounted story.
In A Bridge Not Too Far: Where Creativity Meets Innovation, Ohri has shared advice that can help entrepreneurs re-envision their approach to business from one focused on success to one attuned to what customers want.
This would be a great choice for those interested in exploring how humble beginnings can fuel the human spirit and how they can help an especially attuned man develop a human-centered approach to creating, marketing, and delivering luxury experiences.
Even if you’re not looking to learn about or sell luxury, entrepreneurs who feel they’re lacking purpose in their day-to-day, feeling stuck about how they might move forward, or exhausted with the cold, calculated approach to business will find something useful in this book’s pages.
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