The Highest ROI in the World

They say books have the highest ROI in the world, this post is analogical proof of the same. In a lifetime, a few books change your life. The one book that changed me is – Romancing the Balance Sheet by Anil Lamba.

I met the author recently and this post is my gratitude & a reflection of how his work has affected my life.

Romancing the balance sheet is a primer on Finance & Financial Management.

I come from a place where none of my relatives have been in business. All of them have a job. And so understanding the finance side of anything is as distant to them as Elon Musk is from Mars (…written in 2021). The biggest investment flex of my family and relatives is a house, which is on a minimum of 15 year long EMI loans.

So I never knew what is an asset or a liability or a business plan. In 2012, my college’s EDC department had a business plan competition. And I had no idea yet I decided to participate. (..feel the guts, eh?). I went to the college library and found this book.

It clearly said, “For anyone who owns, runs, or manages a business”. I was sold. I started reading and it felt so easy to me. I was that ‘cool’ kid who thought books are for the first benchers. And here I was turning pages after pages. As it was so easy.

This is the first non-fiction book I completely read.

But How has this book changed my life?

Remember the competition I told you about, I got the second prize. And If I reflect back on it, that B-Plan was the worst I could ever write. But there was one thing which won me the prize money and that was the financial part of the plan.

I made a Balance Sheet and a Profit Loss financial statement for the B-plan. Even I wonder how I did it! This was the time of Symbian Phones, High Data Rates and “Mechanical is an evergreen branch”. Pre-Uber, Pre-Android, Pre-Jio Era. No one around me knew of this. I bet a lot of businessmen don’t know what a Balance Sheet is, even today!

I went to other B-Plan competitions in the city and earned more from the prize money. That prize money helped me buy an INR 19,000 ($250) Celeron laptop. And that Laptop helped me make a remote career even before WFH become the cool buzzword. So you could easily say, all the money I make is an ROI of this book.

And the funny part is, I never paid for this book in the first place. Remember, I borrowed it from my college library. I hope they still have the same copy with my notes in it.

That book did not stop there, it gave me the confidence and motivation to read more. More Books, more Ideas, is nothing but more value(money).

As a Marketer, helping my clients make more money, what has helped me the most is my understanding of my client’s business. I am able to understand the top and bottom lines of their business and help design/execute the right marketing strategies & tactics. I am able to go beyond what an average marketer would do.

And how do I understand their business well? You guessed it right – Romancing the Balance Sheet.

But why this book? Other books teach you the balance sheet too.

Short Answer – This book is a layman’s guide.

I have always introduced this book, as a book that even if my Grandfather reads, he will be able to understand a balance sheet. (My Grandfather is a farmer and far away from the world of finance & profits. He loves his farm.)

Additionally, Anil has designed the book so beautifully, it makes it hard to keep it down. Following pointers would help you understand

  • Hardcover Book
  • Large Font
  • Finance through stories & examples
  • Colorful text and boxes

I bet, even if you are a Non-finance person, you would be able to read balance sheet of a company.

A note of gratitude

To Dr. Anil Lamba

Thank you for the work you have done with your book. I am grateful that I found it in the library. Your work has changed my life forever. Helped me grow and gave me more options.

On the right is the Handsome Author – Dr. Anil Lamba, while on the Left is grumpy me on Sunday after a Late Saturday Night Football Match