Monday, 2 July 2018

Book Review- License to Live by Priya Kumar

I am not a fan of motivational or self-help genre in books. Although I have read quite a few leading authors from the category, it is not something I pick up instantly. Mostly because of the “preaching” tone that most of these books have. Somehow that puts me off. So when the vendor at railway station vehemently recommended Priya Kumar’s “License to Live”, I sternly refused to even look at it. But then the vendor and I got talking about other books and I was drawn by the passion with which he was talking about them. So I asked him to tell me about this one again. He explained and offered a full refund if I didn’t like the book. He meant business because I am a regular buyer from that vendor and he offered to “paytm” the amount to wherever I was. No questions asked. And so this is how I ended up buying this one. And only 50 pages into the book, I realized that I am not taking any refund on it.

License to live is an inspirational fiction where the protagonist is the author herself. She weaves a story as a seeker who seems to have everything yet lacks positivity and purpose in life. Priya, in the story, is a young motivational speaker and corporate guru. Having achieved riches and fame at a very young age, she finds that her life has now become mundane. She resents her life and the negativity spreads to the people around her. Something is amiss, she knows. So Priya enrols for a seminar by Kurt Rinck that promises to…..no, guarantees to change your life in seven days in lieu for a hefty fee. It’s just that, she has no other details about the seminar like venue, duration, format etc. So it’s practically a blind ride, pretty much like life itself. She has no clue what lies ahead.

The seminar that guarantees significant change in Priya’s life begins by snatching all her worldly possessions from her, things she (or we) depend on all the time- money & mobile. She is given instructions only for the task at hand and is provided with necessary resources strictly on need basis. With nothing and nobody to depend on, Priya sets out to find some answers. She takes some difficult but valuable lessons from past, present and future. She jeopardises her life but takes responsibly of lives around her. And while she thinks she is taking instructions from Kurt throughout the assignment, in essence she is following her mind and heart to seek answers that will lead her to a fulfilling life. 

The highlight of the book is its simple yet relatable anecdotes. The protagonist is not a “know-all” monk who has all the answers to critical riddles of life but is a seeker like us. Her follies, faults and struggles seem real. Her aspiration to be a billionaire does not sound selfish. Her confession of being a “people pleaser” reminds us of our social pressure to please everyone around us. While some like Priya find it gratifying, some others may find it unimportant yet essential. So it’s like reading your story in this book and finding some answers that are actually right in front of us but are not visible due to our lack of focus somewhere else.


There are many simple lessons beautifully woven into the story. The story itself is thrilling and captivating. There are few characters but each one of them has a lesson for us. Instead of preaching the readers, the author beckons them to find themselves in the Priya’s story and shows that wisdom is all around us. We are blinded by our ambitions to look around and find answers. 

Some gems from the book- 

If you are on time, consider yourself late. Being early is the mark of a creator. The only entity that came before creation was the creator himself. When you show up earlier than the expected time of arrival, you have more opportunities”

“When I take responsibility over the past and the future, I find myself in the present.”

“If I need a bigger future, I need to do bigger things today.”

“Often we start paying attention to the ‘urgent’ problem at hand and miss-handling the ‘important’ ones that shape our lives”. 

“No one in our life is useless. Even the ones who seem crooked have a purpose in our lives.”

My Rating: 

About the author: Born and brought up in Chandigarh, her journey from there to today, an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, nationally renowned and award-winning bestselling author & the CEO and Chief Facilitator of Priya Kumar’sTraining Systems has been, in Priya’s words, “my sheer drive and purpose to make people’s lives better.” An international publication once introduced Priya as “When Priya speaks, people listen.” A leading national daily wrote, “Priya has the power to change lives.” All this and more, resonates the impact Priya has had on the lives of people across the globe through her work and books. (Source: http://www.priya-kumar.com/about.html)

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