This is your first non-fiction book. What is different about it?
I have written three novels before this. The single biggest difference is that novels are very character-led and you follow that journey as they evolve. In this one, codifying certain principles was very new to me. Non-fiction writing per se is different from writing a novel as the focus here was on sharing lessons learned from my experiences.
How did you plan and go about the book?
I was trying to codify many of the rules that I learned. For example, the 90 per cent failure, 100 per cent learning rule.
I was very fortunate to see three creative industries upfront. In my novel writing days, I learned how a zero-to-one novel is created. In media, I saw how movies and TV channels work and then the startup sector. Surprisingly, the stats of the three industries are the same. Only 10 per cent of zero-to-one projects work. There is a 90 per cent failure rate.
To me, that was not important. Because when you do a zero-to-one project, you learn so much about yourself and grow so much that the next better will have better odds.
Tell us more about the ‘freedom’ and the ‘four per cent rule’ in the book.
The freedom in the book is about spiritual freedom in some sense. The first rule is very mathematical on what is financial freedom. I did not have a concrete answer to that question. The four per cent rule is very well-researched. It is basically that if you have a projected annual income on which you want to live all your life, the capital you need is that amount divided by four per cent.
How do you make a book interesting? Is it an innate talent or acquired?
If you live an interesting life, you will write interesting stories. Since I was backpacking a lot early on, I wrote about that and the book did well. But when I tried to write my second book, I realised there was nothing to write.
The great part of a creative project is that you pour all of your life into it. When you attempt another, you have to fill up the well again. I wrote my first book in my early 20s and one of my biggest regrets is I did my first creative project very late. If it was earlier, I would have much more panoramic life.
Also, a disciplined routine frees you up to live your life. I would come back from the office and write 400 words daily and about 1000 words over the weekend. If you can just do that, you realise you can finish a book in three months.