San Francisco Meeting:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 7:15 PM

Location: The Grove at 3rd and Mission

Visit the Meetup Page

We have an exciting event for the month of September where our book club meeting will be attended by the author of Descending the Corporate Ladder, Rohini Venkatraman. She's a SF local author who seemingly has a lot in common with a certain blog and book club leader. Here's a snip-it of the Amazon review for her 5-star book:

"Rohini Venkatraman’s semi-autobiographical novella is a candidly introspective, wise, and witty narrative about what it means to be a young twenty-something as it is experienced: the search for a niche, companion, and purpose in life.  Increasingly frustrated with how her corporate life (using buzzwords like "leverage" and "low-hanging fruit") is draining her creativity..."  >read more

Book Club Notes

We had a fantastic meeting at the Grove in SoMa for our September read, Descending the Corporate Ladder. In attendance were some of our returning readers, some newbies, and for the first time ever, the author of the book, Rohini Venkatraman. It was truly a pleasure to have Rohini present for the discussion. I know the group enjoyed meeting her, and vice versa, and it really added a depth to the conversation that wouldn't normally be achieved. Below are some notes from the discussion. I encourage you to add your own thoughts or reactions below in the comments section and we can keep the discussion going.

Book Club Meetup

Major Messages

There were some key themes in the book that our discussion highlighted.


Much of the story seemed to focus on Sabena’s own struggle with finding confidence. The confidence to know who she is, pursue her passions, and to not rely so much on external validation. This helped the group reflect on the importance of finding the healthy balance of that external influence.


Find your passion. Find your voice. Find your meaning. This will lead to the often coveted “happiness.” If you can’t make a career out of your passion, make sure you have that outlet and devote time to it.


A recurring theme in books we’ve read lately is the struggle of women in the corporate workplace, specifically the tech industry. This book gives us a very personal account of such events that resonated with some of our readers.

Major Takeaway: Put a Stake in the Ground

The resounding takeaway, not only from the book, but from Rohini’s experience in writing the book is this: once you determine what it is that you want to accomplish, declare it to the world, put a stake in the ground, and let public accountability motivate you to drive until the end. It’s one thing to let yourself down; it’s a whole other level to let yourself, your friends, and your family down.


Again, this meeting was a special case because the author was actually there. A few questions were asked that didn’t relate to the contents of the book, rather they were directed towards the motivation behind the book or the process of writing the book. I encourage you to read Descending the Corporate Ladder so you get a better understanding of the context (beyond the reason that it’s a refreshing read).

Discussion with Rohini Venkatraman

Q: Understanding that Sabena was based on your personal experiences, is there actually a “Writer’s Guild” in San Francisco?

A: The premise of the Writer’s Guild was a Meetup group called Shut-up and Write. A very active group of writers who get together and do just that.

Q: Was there a real-life “Charles”?

A: The character of Charles was a combination of several personalities, but largely mirrored the influence of the author’s grandfather.

Descending the Corporate Ladder
By Rohini Venkatraman
AuthorBen Larson