Going into the restaurant where the interview was supposed to be conducted, I knew very little about Narasimha other than his books.
Narasimha is an author of books on data structures, algorithms and design patterns. He worked for Microsoft, Amazon, IBM labs and Mentor Graphics. And his books got translated to international languages: Chinese, Japanese, Korea etc. Approximately 58 international universities were using his books as reference for academic classes.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to interview Narasimha about his successful journey. And here it is.
How did your life begin?
I born to a peasant family. My father is a farmer and my mother is a house wife. They both are illiterate. For education, we sold every land and left with minimal properties. We faced many challenges, but we constantly thank god for those challenges because they taught us a great deal.
Getting to my academics, I was not a great scholar at all. Till my tenth standard I was a very mediocre student. But once I realized my family’s financial situation, I set about hitting the books hard and ended up studying my MTech in IIT Mumbai.
As an Author
When did you decide to become an author?
It was not my childhood dream at all. When I was working for Microsoft, I used to handle classes for GATE students. To make my work easier, I prepared notes and distributed copies to the students. And they were really helpful. Based on the feedback from my faculty I improvised the material and I thought of publishing the book. Initially there were many grammatical mistakes, but I was able to minimize them with my friends help.
There are many books in the market on Algorithms and Data Structures. Why someone should choose your book?
If we consider the existing books in the market, they always provide the best possible solution for a given problem. But in my book I explain the basic theory. When it comes to the problems we try with a brute force approach. And for the same problem we keep improving. By the end, we can get seven to eight solutions for the same problem. Instead of providing a standard solution I try to provide all possible solutions so students can perform better in the interviews. My volumes are for the students who are training for interviews and it is not for a research design.
How do you handle the low rating reviews?
I invariably try to address and resolve them one on one. If they are not gratified with my solutions then I make money reimbursement.
How did you promote your book in the initial days?
Initially my intention was not to make money. I just want people to know about this book. I travelled to many engineering colleges and presented the demos in this book. Later I associated with FLIPKART (even FLIPKART was also new at that time) and released few copies. We did vigorous email campaigning at that time. Slowly the momentum got picked up and now it’s doing well. Ninety percent of my sales come through online.
As a publisher
Why did you move to a publishing business?
The publishing business in Hyderabad is very untidy. I faced many unfavorable situations. Then I decided to become a self publisher and started Career Monk. I quit from Amazon and took one year time to stabilize it completely.
How do you see Career Monk five years from now?
Now Career Monk is creating a turnover of Rs. 20 million per annum. In the next two to three years we have plans to expand so we could create a turnover of Rs. 100 million per annum. And also we want to take career monk to a level where we could publish books for BTech graduates for all the subjects.
Our books are available in USA, Canada, and European languages as well. I could see a lot of potential in India as well as in other countries as well.
How are you contributing back to the society?
Now I travel to several colleges for speaking appointments. There I interact with young students and show them the various options after their BTech /B.E. And also we distribute few copies of our books for free to the students who couldn’t afford them.
Your message to the young generation?
Most of the students are confused. They couldn’t decide exactly what they want. Students should take some time to analyze their capabilities and weaknesses. And try to choose a career based on the capabilities. Or else of being a crowd oriented person, become a capability oriented individual. As I always believe Clarity is Power.
Interview by Hemanth Boddepalli
Many thanks to Narasimha for a great interview! I got the sense that he has remained very much in touch with his roots and has not allowed himself to get carried away with his success. As an author you will face a lot of challenges, rejections and criticism. And Narasimha is not an exception. But he’s never given up attitude helped him to overcome these roadblocks. He always shows his gratitude to the many individuals who encouraged him by purchasing his books initially. I wish him all the best for the future endeavors.
And also you can buy Narasimha Karumanchi’s books from here.