The dotcom boom years were full of tales of entrepreneurs starting in bedrooms and going on to become millionaires.
Gurbaksh Chahal is one such, setting up an advertising company in his bedroom at 16 and selling it two years later for $40m. His book The Dream: How I Learned the Risks and Rewards of Entrepreneurship and Made Millions recounts the early days of the internet boom.
As a story it's quite an entertaining read. Chahal is the son of Sikh immigrants who grew up in a rough area of San José. After lonely school years, when being Indian, overweight, and having the uncut hair and turban demanded by the Sikh faith left him with few friends, he convinced his parents to let him drop out and go into business.
Chahal saw the opportunities of the internet early on, when he started buying second hand printers for $50 from a market stall and selling them on eBay for $200. He then moved into internet advertising and bluffed his way into enough accounts to build a thriving business.
After selling his firm for $40m in stock he got a haircut, learned some social skills, set up another firm and eventually sold it to Yahoo for $300m. So far so successful, but is there any useful advice in this book for business people hoping to get ahead?
Well, a little. Chahal is a believer in starting cheap, something many start-ups would do well to remember. Offices were tiny, furniture was bought second hand and staff worked hard. I've lost count of the number of failed start-ups that consider flat screen TVs and pool tables to be an essential part of their business plan.
Chahal also advises not to skimp when it comes to getting good staff, another sound piece of advice. A few good personnel can make all the difference between success and failure.
But the rest of the book is full of tips that you can find in any business book. Surround yourself with allies, follow through on business promises and cultivate contacts etc. There's little here that you wouldn't find anywhere else.
There's also the feeling that this book is about 10 years too late. Yes, it was possible to bluff the offline world that you were a major player while working from home a decade ago, but Chahal would be laughed out of boardrooms now if he was to try the same tactic today as a teenager.
But it is still an entertaining read. Chahal comes across as a bit shallow in places but the details about his family life in particular are well written and entertaining, and it would suit someone with a few hours to kill on a flight or dull Christmas break ahead.
Chahal: The Dream: How I Learned the Risks and Rewards of Entrepreneurship and
Dubbed Antlia 2, the ghost galaxy sits just 130,000 light-years away from the Milky Way
Delays to the roll-out of age verification for adult websites hasn't stopped government from considering extending them to more websites
Bluehole confirms rumours that Playstation 4 port is coming on 7 December
Atmospheric iodine works as a significant sink of tropospheric ozone, nullifying the harmful pollutant