Against All Odds is a beautiful tribute to the author’s recently departed father. It illustrates the life of a man who built himself up from rock bottom. Kishore V. Sonpal’s story is truly incredible, and his son has written a wonderful epitaph of sorts. This book is a beautiful gesture from a son to his deceased father.
The protagonist lived a difficult life, starting work early and doing whatever he could to earn money for his family. His story is inspiring as it is the story of a common man.
I really liked the concept of this book. It was a unique idea to narrate the story of an ordinary person instead of some celebrity. It makes the book’s story feel more relatable and inspiring. Unlike most biographies that I have read, this book tells Kishore’s entire life story: every venture he undertakes. It covers a lot of information in a short length. This story is about the protagonist’s life, and his strength of character led to him hating corruption and fighting cancer until the end.
As a teen in California, I have it all: a great school, a rose gold MacBook Air to write this review from, a debit card. In short, I have incredible luxuries that would seem possibly excessively fancy to several people in the world. Due to this, I often find it difficult to relate to stories of people in extreme poverty.
While I do not experience any corruption in my daily life, in Kishore V. Sonpal’s story, he dealt with several corrupt officials during his tenure at Indian Railways. This book made me think a lot more about how life could be in other parts of the world. I have never really seen people in a state of penury.
Yes, I do see homeless people on the street in the US. However, there are homeless shelters, food stamps, and many more options to provide for people in such a situation. This book made me think about the struggles of people in countries without such provisions.
Something I found admirable in this tale is his lasting enthusiasm. At fifty-three, most people are thinking about their retirement coming up in ten years. They dream of the vacations they are going to take as soon as they get out of work.
On the other hand, the protagonist started a company at that age along with two younger people. Usually, people start companies in their twenties, when they have come fresh from college and have nothing to lose. The protagonist enthusiastically started a textile company at an older age. The year he quit it, it produced a turnover of Rs. 120 crores (about $16 million). His enthusiasm never faded even later in his life. He took up a job as the head of two schools at the age of 71! His drive and passion are truly admirable.
If there were one thing that I would do differently in this book, it would be to focus a bit more on the main character’s experiences. The author makes an interesting choice as he narrates the story by telling the readers what’s going on in the protagonist’s mind. It would’ve been even more impactful if the author had given more incidents that developed the main character’s thought process and personality.
All in all, Against All Odds is an excellent tribute. It made me think about important topics such as penury and self-motivation. Kishore V. Sonpal had more motivation than I do at over five times my age! His drive and willpower were truly incredible to read about, and it makes me wonder how a common man like you and me could possibly be so motivated. The world lost a great soul who lived his life exactly the way he wanted it. May his soul rest in peace.