(Photo credit: VR, My desk)

In Sanskrit, Guru means ‘teacher’, one who dispels the ‘darkness of Ignorance’ and brings wisdom. Therefore, to mark the importance of Gurus, Guru Purnima is celebrated in India every year.


On the occasion of Guru Purnima, I want to thank all the teachers who had a major influence in my life. In this article, I have listed down few of the teachers whose work changed my life. I will share how their work affected me and what results I achieved by applying what I learned. 


Dale Carnegie


Dale Carnegie’s book on public speaking was one of the first books I had ever read relating to self-development. When I read the book, I had no clue I will choose my career as a trainer.


I failed once miserably giving a speech in my school. Since then, I had fear of public speaking. This book helped me to overcome this fear. 


How to win friends and influence people  is one of the classics ever written.  This book completely changed the way I look at relationships and the conversations I have with other people. The concepts taught in this book are very simple, yet very profound. 


There is something magical about Dale Carnegie writing style. It just sucks you in. I have read every book written by him. 

His book “Lincoln the Unknown” was the first book I have read in a single sitting. 


Best insight from Dale Carnegie:  “Talk in terms of the other person’s interests”


Stephen R. Covey


When I first came across  7 habits of highly effective people   book, I didn’t know that it was a huge best seller. When I first started reading the book, I was bored with the while reading the introduction and stopped reading the book. 


I picked up this book years later after hearing a lot about it and this time I started reading from chapter 1 and was immediately blown away. Stephen Covey is one of the few authors who stresses most on values, character.  I am someone who wishes to live ethically and morally. This may be the reason why I am very influenced and connected with this book. 


The chapter which had the most influence on my life was “First things first” . This was the first time I learned to do things which are important. I learned the distinction between Important vs. Urgent.   The concept was eye opening for me then and till today I follow the similar system. 


After reading 7 habits, I read the book First things first and learned the concept in detail. While reading this book, I had written my mission statement for the first time in my life. The wording of my mission statement has changed since then but the core of it remained same.


If I have to pick top 5 books one must read, then 7 habits of highly effective people are definitely one of them. 


Best insight from Stephen Covey: “Put First things first”


David Allen


The biggest lesson I have learned from the book “Getting things done”  by David Allen is dump everything on the paper.  Don’t have same thought twice. To this day whenever I get an idea or remember something I immediately write it down either on the paper or in some app. I sometimes become lazy and not write it down and regret later. Following the principles taught in this book will help you focus 100% on the task at hand and not worry about remaining pending tasks. 


I was fortunate to meet him on my birthday in 2016 and take a pic with him. One of the best birthdays ever.


I use the app Todoist as my task management software. I highly recommend it. 


Best insight from David Allen: “Dump Everything on paper and work in a flow state”


Two of the best books on productivity are Stephen Covey “First things first”  and David Allen “Getting things done” . I highly recommend you to read both of them.



Tony Robbins


At the age of 13, I picked up a book called “Awaken the giant with in”.   By the end of the first chapter, I decided to become a trainer. I will be forever grateful for that. 


I was introduced to NLP from Tony Robbins book “Unlimited Power”.


There are way too many things I learned from Tony Robbins work and how he influenced my life. I will share it in a separate blog post in the future. I have posted a blog post where I share the notes made from his 6 day Date with Destiny workshop here:  http://srinivasvakati.com/date-with-destiny-notes-review/


You will find a lot of wisdom there. 


Best thing I learned from Tony Robbins is the concept of modeling. Study the strategies successful people follow and implement them in your life. I spend most of my time studying successful people and eliciting the strategies. It could be through books or from meeting them.


His website: www.tonyrobbins.com


Brian Tracy


I had read many of the Brian Tracy books. They were fun to read and the same time very insightful. It was his book Goals, which motivated me to block out time and put down all my goals on the paper.  I wrote down my goals for the first time after reading this book. Since then, I have revised my goals many times and my system evolved.  This book gives you a complete system for goal setting. 


I have read many books on Goals and did many online courses but this book is still the best book I have read on the topic. If you are not clear about your Goals, I highly recommend you start with this book. 

His Book, Eat that frog is a brilliant book to start with on productivity.

Best insight from Brian Tracy: Write down you goals, break down your goals in specific actionable steps and take action on them.


His website: www.brintracy.com


Robert Kiyosaki

It was while reading the book “ Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. I decided to start my business and not to do the job. Even though I have was in employment for few years, I didn’t stop learning about business or doing something on the side.


I have read this book only once many years back but the decision to start my own business is still strong. I have to reread the book again. 


Best Insight from Robert Kiyosaki: The distinction between, an employee, self-employed, investor, and businessman.


His website: http://www.richdad.com/



Mj Demarco

If the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” motivated to start my business it was the book “The Millionaire fastlane by MJ De Marco” which inspired me to go 100%. Before reading this book, I had many doubts about myself. This book crushed most of those fears.


The author has released his next book “Unscripted” recently. I have purchased the book and haven’t read it yet. 


Best Insight from MJ DeMarco: I can’t put down one specific insight I got from him. There was a mindset shift in me when reading this book.


His website: http://www.themillionairefastlane.com/



Ramit Sethi


Do you know any businessman who says no to people who are interested in purchasing his course?

Ramit does


People with credit card debt, can’t join his flagship courses. If Ramit comes to know you have purchased his course in spite of having debt, he will refund you the money and ban you.


Do you know any internet marketer who shares the actual numbers of his business?

Ramit Does

Check this article:  http://tim.blog/2016/03/04/5-million-week/


Can you share the boring concepts of finance like index funds, and make it interesting, entertaining and insightful.


Ramit does in his book “I will teach you to be rich” 


If I had to choose one person who had the most influence in my life in last 3 years. It is Ramit Sethi.


I first heard about Ramit Sethi from one his Brain Trust students. I loved the concept of Brain trust where Ramit takes an interview with successful people and shares it every month.  There is accountability partner and there are meetups to discuss and implement what you have learned.


I joined the Brain Trust immediately. I was a member of brain trust for few months. 


He had interviewed Noah Kogan when I was the member. One thing which was most valuable for me in the interview was “Have one goal”.  You can find part of that interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P1glyHRecQ


His book on personal finance “I will teach you to be rich” is the best book on personal finance I have read.  I am Chartered Accountant by qualification and know the finance concepts. I was still impressed by Ramit approach.


The entire book is filled up with actionable steps and scripts. At the end of each chapter, you will have a very clear idea of what needs to be done. 


For me, the chapters on automating finance and guilt free spending were the best.  Luckily, I never had any debt. So, the chapters on how to repay debt were not relevant to me.  If you have any debt to repay, he provides you with clear actionable steps. 


I have purchased him “How to talk to anybody”. Whatever questions and challenges I had were answered in this course. He spends months designing the course and doing the research. That shows in his course and sales pages. 


His free content motivated me to start my online business and I will be launching my first online course in few weeks. 


Ramit recently launched his second book “Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business” . As his previous book, it contains valuable and actionable steps to launch your online business.


The most valuable thing I got out this book is.  To be successful in online business, spend most of your time and become good at these three things: 

  1. Selling
  2. Writing emails and blog posts
  3. Building team.


I could go on and on about his work. I will write another blog post in the future how I applied what I learned from Ramit. I will end this with what I think is the best article of Ramit for anyone who wishes to be CEO: https://growthlab.com/confessions-ceo-got-wont-get/


Visit his website at www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com



Tim Ferriss


The book “Four hour work week”   book is one of the best books relating to business and outsourcing.  Many concepts are taught in this book which would help you simplify and automate your business. I had read this book when I was a student and couldn’t apply much of it then. Now I am. 


I have learned about outsourcing from this book. 


Before reading this book, I have read about 80/20 principle, it was after reading this book I got full clarity about the concept. Tim Ferriss shares real life case studies about how he applied 80/20 principle in his business and it is mind blowing. 


Do you have any fears that are stopping you from taking action? Tim Ferries teaches something called “fear setting”. It will help you overcome your fears. 


I have read his book “Four-hour body”, but didn’t apply it yet.  


Best insight from Tim Ferriss: Applying 80/20 principle in your life and business.


His website:  http://fourhourworkweek.com/




Napolean Hill

It was while reading the book “Think and grow rich”, I made a decision to lead a rich life and not an average life. The chapters on burning desire, auto-suggestion, are eye-opening. This book is also one of the top 5 books I recommend and must be read by every person. 


This book was written after interviewing 500 of the richest and successful people of that time and the wisdom in this book is just WOW. 


Best insight from Napolean Hill: The starting point of all achievement is desire. Have a burning desire to achieve something extraordinary.


Get the book for free here 


Vishen Lakhiani

I have come across Vishen through his videos on YouTube. He is a very powerful speaker and what stood out for me is his willingness to share everything. His web site Mind Valley insights shares 


There are very few books which will challenge your beliefs in a good way. His book “The code of extra ordinary mind”  is one of them. His book was released last year. Every chapter of the book is a book in itself. First, 2 chapters take all the rules you think are true and challenges them to the core. You will question the rules, design your life and vision.  


His six phase mediation is designed to create remarkable transformation and is one of the best experiences you can have. You can learn about it for free here: http://blog.mindvalleyacademy.com/meditation/6-phase-meditation-infographic


One thing you will notice if you follow Vishen Lakhiani is, he is a genius marketer. I follow many internet marketers but he is one of the few who is good at it. He adds tremendous value to his potential customers and actual customers. His Facebook page, YouTube page is full of valuable and actionable information.  


Visit his website: www.mindvalley.com. To know more about his work. 


Best insight from Vishen Lakhiani (in the book): Outside the rules of physics and rules of law, all other rules are opening to questioning.


John Demartini

I first saw John Demartini on the movie “The Secret”. I loved his line on gratitude “What you think about and thank about, you bring about.”


Last year, I saw him doing a webinar on the concept of values based on his book“The values factor”. Even though I didn’t watch the full webinar, I bought the book. I have blown away the book, the way he explained the concept and his approach of application of it had huge impact on my life. 


I bought five of his books and read them back to back. The other book which blew my mind away was “The breakthrough experience”.  This book helped me overcome many of my fears. The collapse process that is taught in the book is eye opening.  In last one year, I have read this book more than 10 times to revisit the concepts taught in the book.


I wish John Demartini does his workshop “The breakthrough experience” in India.  I need to go to South Africa to attend the workshop. It is on my top of the list.  


Best insight from John DeMartini:  You have all the traits of all the geniuses and successful people. (You need to read his book Breakthrough experience to understand this)


Visit his website: www.drdemartini.com


Eben Pagan

Eben Pagan was the first Internet marketer I have seen in action. He was launching some Guru Product series and I watched the free content he had put.  I was blown away by the free content he had put. 


I learned the concept of “Move the free line” from him. I have since then purchased many of his courses on internet marketing and productivity. 


I have also learned the concept of block time from him. I still block out time to do important stuff even today. I use freedom.io to block out the internet when I am working on something important. 


The best insight from Eben Pagan:  in one of the videos he shares there are 2 ways to become a millionaire. A first way is to ask 1 million people to give you $1. The second way is to give people value worth $10,000 and ask for $1000 in return. If 1000 people give you $1000 you are a millionaire. The second way is easier than first way.


Visit his website: www.ebenpagan.com



Question for you: 

Who had the most influence in your life?


Thank you

Srinivas Vakati