Book smart v/s Street smart

(I was sitting in our portico reading the book – “Stories at work” by Indranil Chakraborty. My mother joined with her regular cup of coffee.)

Mother: Chinmay, what are you reading?

Me: It is a book Indranil Chakraborty called “Stories at work”.

Mother: What is it about?

Me: The tagline says, it is a book to unlock the secret of business storytelling.

Mother: What did you find that was really interesting?

Me: I am still reading it, however, the author starts with a story when he had just started his career.

(The following has been extracted from the book – “Stories at work” by Indranil Chakraborty)

It was hot and dusty, a typical summer’s day in a small town in Uttar Pradesh. As a young sales manager at Hindustan Unilever, I was on my mandatory market visit. Today was the wholesale beat. Most of the wholesalers were working on a wafer-thin margin. Their way of working seemed to defy everything I had learnt at IIM (Indian Institute of Management) Ahmedabad. I sat on an empty oil tin, I noticed a fifteen-year-old boy manning the store in his father’s absence. I was in a good mood, so I decided to give him some commercial advice.

‘You shouldn’t be selling our products so cheap. By only keeping 0.5 per cent margin you will soon go out of business’ I said.

The young boy smiled.

‘Sir, I don’t think you understand. I make a lot of money from your products. Let me explain. I sell on cash. I have about two weeks of stock, but I also get a week’s credit from your distributor. This means that I essentially have a net investment of one week. My investment rotated fifty-two times in a year and with 0.5 per cent margin in each rotation, that is a return on investment (ROI) of 26 per cent. What’s wrong with a 26 per cent ROI?’ he spoke with the kind of panache usually expected from a VC-funded entrepreneur.

I was stumped. It was nothing short of an epiphany. What the uneducated young wholesaler had just taught me was how money is made by rotating money and not by the absolute amount of money earned in each transaction. It’s like a wheel that turns very fast. And every time it turns, it picks up a little bit of gold dust, and that way the gold dust keeps accumulating.

I will never forget that lesson in my life. Very often you learn from the most unexpected sources.

(The above has been extracted from the book – “Stories at work” by Indranil Chakraborty)


Mother: if one is open to learning then there is something to learn from everyone.

Me: true, that is why I was smiling thinking about being book smart v/s street smart!

Mother: to be ‘book smart’ you need to read books, to be ‘street smart’ you need to spend time on the street implementing and learning through experience.

Me: (I started smiling more), genius!

Mother: I know 


Have you had the opportunity to learn from an unexpected source?

If yes, from whom was it?

Do they have a so-called ‘formal education’?

Did they learn it from years of experience?

Most importantly, have we implemented that learning in our business or profession?

#streetsmart #financialdecision #money #numbers #financemanagement #bottomline #financeacademy