Review: Breaking Barriers

By Janaki Krishnan. Grade B+

Breaking Barriers is a must read for aspiring entrepreneurs and an eye opener for those who consider women to be less efficient than men in terms of their working efficiency. A book not on poster girls of successful career women who have reached the top like Indra Nooyi or Chandra Kocchar, but a book which gives an altogether different perspective talking about women entrepreneurs who gave up their well-paying jobs to start from scratch and make it big.

Breaking Barriers by Janaki Krishnan

“Breaking Barriers is a book chronicling the lives of some prominent Indian women entrepreneurs, who have followed their dreams and fulfilled their ambitions. They refused to succumb to the pressures and established norms that society insists on imposing on women. This book has been written to encourage girls and women (and indeed anyone who aspires to do anything out of the ordinary) to know that they are the sole arbiters of their lives. They have the Power. “ 

Breaking Barriers is a compilation of 11 essays on various women entrepreneurs from diverse fields like e-commerce, education, biotechnology, real estate etc., which gives food for thought to a diverse audience. It is a quick read and keeps the reader involved throughout.

In the first few pages of the book, the emphasis is on the paradigm shift required in the mental setup of the society towards working women which will ensure level playing field for such women. The misrepresentation of women in the total workforce and their skewed numbers at different levels of organisational hierarchy have been largely attributed to lack of adequate choices with women. Their decisions are often influenced by tradition, convention, society, husband, family and co-workers which leaves them with little flexibility in decision making.

All the essays have been narrated vividly and engross the reader well. As the book progresses it gets better and you don’t feel like putting it down. There is a perfect equilibrium in use of first person and third person, which creates a riveting impact. The language used is regular and each story is explained artistically in few words making this book a quick read without signs of boredom.

While the book succeeded to attain my every bit of attention right from the beginning, I reached a no-go zone when 16 crucial pages were missing from my review copy! This played as a spoilsport and I bit back a curse. Putting that bit of annoyance aside, there is no doubt the book was a treat to read. However, I find that I could not agree with the selection of start ups by the author and would have preferred to read about more prominent ones. The lack of financials and facts made it harder to judge their successful ventures. Dearth of in-depth information on start-ups left some of my questions unanswered and curiosity unsettled.  Ms. Krishnan accredits hard work and determination of the women entrepreneurs for their success without stating any substantial facts about the same. The argument presented for their success appears vague and of an utopian world which makes some of the success stories sound overrated. In a few stories, Ms. Krishnan also fails to add freshness and reproduces the content as stated by the entrepreneur, which gives a dull reading experience.

The essay on Kalpana Saroj gives an impeccable ending to this book. The story of Kalpana Saroj, a dalit entrepreneur who revived Kamani Tubes Ltd, sinks your heart in despair in the beginning but later it teaches a hard lesson which acts as an eye opener.

Kalpana’s story reads like a fairy tale with all the ingredients of a rags-to-riches fable – but the fabric of the fairy tale has been woven, not with magic wands, fairy godmothers or bottled genies, but with hard grit, determination and unremitting toil against extreme adversity.

To sum up, I’d say that no matter how emancipated an Indian woman is today, this book provides the right lessons to the society and remarkable motivation to the women entrepreneurs. It is a must read for all and especially for those who take women lightly when it comes to work.

This post was written by

Aman Jain – who has written 2 posts on Vault of Books ||.
I am a knowledge seeker and love non fiction. Have hardly tried any fiction. I am open to anything till the time it has something to offer for my brain. Finance and management interests me the most. Surfing net for “everyday happenings” and “how things work” take most of my time. I value “Integrity” the most and love to live my life with discipline.

 • Facebook

  • Avni

    I love the concept of this book. Definitely going on my ‘To Read’ list.

  • Riya

    For a commerce student who happens to like books, this book is the perfect combination of both. Great attempt by the author, congratulations!


Stay up to date with our latest reviews, contests and other books-related things. We promise not to spam - two emails a month maximum.


Engines of The Mind

Recommended: Beaten by Bhagath: A Tale of Two Writers

Advert: Uff Ye Emotions: An Anthology


Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲