Ranked amongst India’s highest selling English fiction Authors, Ashwin Sanghi is a household name having sold almost two million books. His works can be found sitting on the bookshelves and in the e-readers of many.
Ashwin has been included in the Celebrity-100 by Forbes India and in the Culture Power List by the New Indian Express. His work has earned him the Crossword Popular Choice Award 2012, Atta Galatta Popular Choice Award 2018, WBR Iconic Achievers Award 2018 and the Lit-O-Fest Literature Legend Award 2018.
Born in the city of Mumbai, Ashwin took to reading during the early years of his life. During the early 1980s, his maternal granduncle began sending him books to read. Ashwin would receive one book each week and would then dutifully write up a book review of sorts to be sent to his mentor. This became a ritual and continued for more than a decade while he was studying at the Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai. But it was only after he completed his graduation in 1990 from St. Xavier’s College Mumbai that he had his first stint with writing. While pursuing an MBA from the Yale School of Management, he started penning articles for their magazine, providing his witty and irreverent take on the MBA life.
After graduating from Yale, Ashwin joined his family business, the MK Sanghi Group that had interests in automobile distribution, real estate, industrial gases, alternative energy and engineering. While continuing to work full-time in the family business, Ashwin started writing articles for the Asian Age for their business page. However, business writing did not excite him and he soon tried writing a tongue-in-cheek article for Cosmopolitan magazine, something which in his own words was a lot of “fun”. That was when he realized his penchant for storytelling.
In the year 1998, Ashwin visited the Rozabal tomb (which was later the topic of his bestseller The Rozabal Line) in Srinagar for the first time. He was fascinated by the associated history and myths. He started reading up about the tomb but this idea was to cook for some more time before Ashwin finally took the plunge into writing a book about it in 2004.
The year 2000 was a turning point for him professionally. At a time when the internet was still in its infancy and the world was yet to catch on to the notion of entrepreneurship, Ashwin launched his own dotcom start-up—Indiacar.com. It was India’s first automobile portal and was a JV between the MK Sanghi Group & Kotak Mahindra Bank. The venture failed like many of the early dotcoms but Ashwin saw it as an incredible learning opportunity, eventually prompting him to write a book about failure, 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck.
During the year 2004, Ashwin tentatively made the leap towards a career of writing. Picking up on his interest in the Rozabal tomb, he started writing The Rozabal Line during his nights while continuing to work full-time in the day. He was able to finish the book two years later. When the time finally came to publish the book, as luck would have it, it was rejected by 47 literary agents and publishers. Now more determined than ever, Ashwin took matters into his own hands and self-published the book under the pseudonym ‘Shawn Haigins’ an anagram of his real name. The book started drawing significant attention. So much was the impact that there was an actual upsurge in the number of visitors at the Rozabal shrine. Then, in 2008, Westland Books (originally a Tata company and now an Amazon company) saw value in the story and published the book in India. It was an instant bestseller and critics soon dubbed him ‘the Dan Brown of India’.
The success of The Rozabal Line established Ashwin as a fiction-thriller writer. Soon he published his second work Chanakya’s Chant in 2010 that stayed on AC Nielsen’s India Top-10 for over two years and also won the Crossword Popular Choice Award. His next title The Krishna Key shot to #1 on the AC Nielsen all-India fiction rankings within the first week of its release. Till date, Ashwin has authored over half a dozen books in his Bharat Series that spins fast-paced mysteries from history, myth, theology, science and philosophy. The books in this series include The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, The Sialkot Saga, Keepers of the Kalachakra and The Vault of Vishnu. All of them have received widespread praise and acclaim besides becoming national bestsellers. Many of his books have been optioned or acquired for TV, film and web series. His books are usually translated into multiple languages.
While Ashwin was producing one bestseller after another, he simultaneously continued the role of a businessman. He came to be seen as a part of the overall trend of young professionals and businessmen turning to writing as a parallel career. But in the year 2013, Ashwin decided to stop working full-time, and focus entirely on writing and the lecture circuit. It was then that Ashwin announced that he and the world’s highest selling author James Patterson (of Along Came a Spider fame) would be co-writing an India-based thriller called Private India within Patterson’s Private series. The book was released in 2014 and shot into the New York Times bestsellers list. This was followed by Private Delhi in 2017, again a bestseller on the New York Times and UK Sunday Times lists.
Ashwin has also mentors, co-writes and edits titles in the immensely popular 13 Steps Series on subjects as diverse as Luck, Wealth, Marks, Health and Parenting.
Ashwin is also a sought-after speaker and has spoken at dozens of events in India and abroad. He speaks at company and corporate events, association seminars, and educational institution events. His language skills, business background, creative mindset and diverse education, make him very well-suited to speak on subjects such as creativity, transformation, innovation, unlearning, storytelling, and marketing besides correlating modern management issues to historical and mythological concepts.