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TMCNet:  The harder you work, the luckier you get: Yashavant Kanetkar [Nagpur] [Times of India]

[December 30, 2013]

The harder you work, the luckier you get: Yashavant Kanetkar [Nagpur] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NAGPUR: One of the Nagpur Heroes for this year, this prolific author has many well-known books on computer programming to his credit. One of his books sold over 60 lakh copies and yet Yashavant Kanetkar maintains a low profile. He talks to TOI about winning the award and other aspects of his life ...

Excerpts Q. What's your message for Nagpur citizens after receiving the Nagpur Heroes Award? A. When you are working, you do not do it with a motive to get an award, but, yes it is indeed very satisfying when your efforts are appreciated and you find that the work that you have done has benefited millions of students and software professionals round the world. The appreciation becomes that much sweeter when it comes from people in your city.

Q. What would you tell all those struggling to achieve their dreams? A. Work very hard and be passionate about your goals. I have experienced myself that the harder you work, the luckier you get. Always respect experience of your seniors in the field. They may not be in tune with the recent advances in your field, but they have seen many situations that you haven't faced so far. So, one has to have a lot of patience and an eye for detail to make it eventually work. Patience and persistence are extremely important to achieve your goals, so try to create something of lasting importance that will touch millions of men and women.

Q. What do you keep in mind when writing a book? A. Most science and technology is taught and learnt in English. Computing technologies are definitely not simple. So, when a reader is trying to learn programming and computing technologies through my books, I have to always ensure that I don't further burden him with complicated English. The language concerns are faced just not by Indians, but readers of other countries too find themselves in similar situations. So, I have to ensure that the book remains simple language-wise, so that when it gets translated, the translator finds it easy. I also have to keep in mind the reading habits of a particular country while publishing a book. For example, in Japan, most of the reading is done while travelling in trains, so you cannot give them a 750 page book to hold and read while standing in a train. They need a smaller book, which is easy to hold and carry. In such cases it becomes imperative to split the book into two volumes. My effort is always to begin with a simple idea and build it steadily, so that the reader finds a smooth progression from one concept to another. Rather than making the reader aware of all the aspects of a computing language or a technology at one shot, I usually introduce each new concept on a "need-to-know" basis.

Q. What are the factors you take into account while deciding which book to author? Is it demand from publishers or something else? A. Demand from publishers is one of the important factors since they are connected to booksellers and they in turn are connected to customers. So through them one gets to know what is likely to sell better. Ultimately, publishers have to invest a lot of money in creating a book and making it available in all market geographies, so at the end of the day, their entire time, money and effort should be justified. Since most publishers have a broad gut-level feeling about what would sell better, many of them are not aware of the intricacies of languages and technologies. This is where the author's role becomes very important. If he can identify a few difficult topics, which every learner would face, and then write a book which explains these topics in simple ways, the book is likely to be a big hit.

Q. How do you prepare while writing a book? Do you leave for a quiet place? Do your lifestyle habits change? A. Every day during work I get to know some new aspect of a language or technology. I see to it that these find their way into newer editions of the books. In addition, so much changes happen in a year in the field of computing that there is always a race against time to keep the contents of all the books up-to-date and relevant. Going to a hill station or a quiet place to write a book is possibly good for writing a novel, because there everything - roles, characters, scenes - has to be created from author's imagination. Not so for computing books.

(In this series on interviews of Nagpur Heroes Award winners, the recipients talk about their work and plans) (c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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