Book review: Under the Influence by Malini Agarwal

by - 5/18/2024

 Title: Under the Influence: How to survive and thrive online 

Author: Malini Agarwal 

Genre: Non fiction 

Pages: 237

Publisher: Harper Collins


First Look: Although one should not judge a book by its cover, but we all tend to do it right? At least I definitely get drawn to attractive covers; I can't help the aesthetic obsessed me! Having said that, this book is surely for eye grabs. The vibrant sunshine backdrop and Miss Malini is a fiery red outfit: it's a cover you can't ignore and of course you are bound to pick up and read it. And if by any chance you happen to be a blogger of early 2010s or a creator of today or a person who had loved goss, you are going to devour this book. Because my beloved readers, this treatise has been penned by the one and only OG blogger/ influencer : Malini Agarwal of Miss Malini!

A little backstory: When I started reading blogs way back in 2011, Miss Malini was the first that I started following. Although my main genre was fashion and lifestyle, I could not stay away from the gossip she shared. And when I finally started blogging in 2013, she was my icon, my idol. I believe every newbie blogger that time looked upto her and dreamt of becoming remotely famous like her. So when this book came out, I knew immediately that I had read it.

Review: This is Malini's 2 nd book in this category. I haven't read her first one; I was pregnant with my second child and life was pretty chaotic.

Although the books aren't related, but Malini does mention some references from time to time. Anyways if you ask me what this book is about in a single line, it's "Our online behaviour'.

I really like how she has started the book with the categorization of generations. People before me (borderline Millennial and Gen Z) have a hard time figuring out what generation they belong to. The table is very comprehensive with respect to our behavior, gadgets used, work culture, retail habits etc. Also at the very beginning Malini announces that she would like to keep the book as interactive as possible, therefore she uses a number of exercise; which we can post as stories. That's really cool but can be expected from a pro creator like her since we are trained to use CTA (Call to Action) all the time.

Her 1st Rule of internet says that we should never say anything online that we can't say to someone's face. She regrets having posted Rajnikant's bare face on her site and openly apologises about it. We get it. We do so many things when we are "younger" for attention and then when we mature, we realise how big of a blunder that was. My respect for her multiplied manifolds when I read the whole thing.

She has listed 3 rules of the Internet which she had very carefully described, after being more than a decade on the web. She talks about FOMO and JOMO and also jokes how she used to get perturbed when her husband refrained from expressing his support for her on the internet. There's a whole page dedicated to her life and business partner, his own words which is really enlightening. We all need such a supportive partner like him!

She talks about various important online issues, out of which the most important (according to me) is "How to report a cyber crime". Also the #IgnoreNoMore is such a powerful one in itself. Her Malini's Girl Tribe is an attempt to make the internet a kinder and more constructive place. Her husband describes her as the Queen of positivity and I guess that is very apparent by now.

There are endless shocking revelations regarding the rowdy online behavior of men particularly. If you are a guy, you might not have gotten a dick pic in your DMs. I am sure every girl has. She has put screenshots of the sick chats for the world to see, how women have to face the bullies online.

The book is very well researched with facts and statistics, witty humour and dark truths and of course quotes from famous online personalities. Whether you have an online life or not, this book would definitely open your eyes.

Key takeaway: Apart from the main lesson as to how one should be kind online (if you are the audience) and not to give heed to trolls (if you are a creator), I really admire the quotes she has used in the beginning of every chapter. There are funny ones like the one she used from FRIENDS. And some are more famous ones like "Spark Joy" from Marie Kondo and one from Barack Obama. I am a big "quotes" person and these things help me motivate and sail through the dark days when I am low.

 This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program 

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