A self-help book marries the tenets of New-Age spirituality and Silicon Valley visionaries.
This debut work from Vidyangi centers on attaining vertical living, an always-on lifestyle adopted by thriving performers and innovators in all walks of life. Organized into 10 chapters of moderate length, the book first outlines the essential features of vertical living, then considers some of the common traits shared by high achievers across cultures. The book most often draws from biographical examples from noted Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, though it also looks to Indian luminaries like mathematics genius Srinivasa Ramanujan and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Exemplars of vertical living can also be found in other fields, including surgeons, martial arts experts, and actors. From there, the book focuses on practical techniques and habits readers can adopt at work and in their personal lives. These include public speaking, easing into intimidating social situations, cultivating focus, and setting specific goals. The guide closes with two chapters focusing on the importance of creativity in vertical living, encouraging exploration of art, spirituality, and philosophy, and envisioning positive futures and outcomes. Throughout, Vidyangi draws from a staggeringly impressive range of examples from art, literature, philosophy, politics, and business to illuminate her points. (A comprehensive glossary at the end helps to make it accessible for all readers.) The central premise of vertical living is an intriguing one, bringing together two ends of the spectrum of self-improvement, spirituality, and business success, and would certainly appeal to overworked, spiritually undernourished workers in Silicon Valley’s tech sector and startup world. But the project can sometimes feel scattershot in its attempts to appeal to a broader audience, because the emphasis on matters such as public speaking and assembling a team seem only tangentially relevant to situations like dating and child rearing. Tips, charts, and even biographical anecdotes are sometimes repeated multiple times from one chapter to the next, which can disrupt the flow of reading and cloud understanding of the book’s central concepts.
An ambitious, wide-ranging guide to harnessing one’s entrepreneur at heart and inner guru.