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October 24, 2002 Business grad's new self-help book inspired by Plato



Ashkan Karbasfrooshan

by Peter Boer

Business students looking to succeed not only in school but in life after university can take a page from Ashkan Karbasfrooshan’s first book, Course to Success.

Drawing on such thinkers as Plato, Freud and Gestalt, Course to Success revolves around the idea of balancing work, school and socializing, which is demonstrated by the use of the Chinese principle of the yin-yang.

“It says to students, ‘Rem-ember that balance is key,’” Karbasfrooshan said in an interview. “When the yin-yang becomes unbalanced, the result is disease. If you burn the candle at both ends long enough, you’ll eventually die.”

While parts of the book are geared specifically towards business students who have just been accepted at university, Course to Success also offers advice that students from all disciplines can use.

From picking your major to dating, going to parties, study tips and post-education job-hunting skills, Karbasfrooshan tries to present as much information as possible about the challenges and pratfalls of university while demonstrating the importance of a well-rounded education.

“Completing an education requires dedication, a sense of responsibility, hard work, discipline and an intellectual capacity to learn,” he writes in the introduction. “This is also the DNA of a successful employee.”

Course to Success starts with Plato’s theory of specialization in helping students decide on their major and their courses.

As graduation appraoches, Karbasfrooshan presents Freud’s division of mind theory to teach students how to balance their own needs with the greater good of the world. The result is a practical guide to success with a strong theoretical basis that students can refer back to, even after graduation.

The book also uses the success stories of professional athletes and accomplished businessmen as examples to prove a particular point. In his capacity as VP advertising and public relations with AskMen.com, which he claims is Canada’s most frequently visited Web site, Karbasfrooshan has had the opportunity to interview models, athletes and movie stars, and include them in the book.

“After 18 months at AskMen.com, I’d written about pretty much everything,” Karbasfrooshan said. “I thought it would be great if I could bring it all together into one book.”

As a graduate of the John Molson School of Business in 1999, Karbasfrooshan credits Concordia with providing him a solid education, but while business school may teach students certain fundamentals of business, the real world is quite different from the classroom.

“It’s like cooking. You can read the recipe over and over, but until you actually get in the kitchen and cook and burn yourself, you’re not really going to be able to do it.”

Karbasfrooshan credits the liberal arts courses he took as electives as also being a key part of his education. Courses in psychology and sociology exposed him to the philosophies around which Course to Success is centered.

“Take classes that will complete you as a person,” he writes. “Recognize your weaknesses so you can compensate for them. Take classes that interest you so you can be ahead of the curve while others are agonizing over their boredom.”

Since being launched in November 2002, Course to Success has sold hundreds of copies, not only in North America but in Europe and South America as well.

Karbasfrooshan has since completed a screen play and on February 8, he began hosting his own radio talk show on the Team 990 sports radio in Montreal. However, Karbasfrooshan said, “Success is relative. You have to stay grounded. No matter what, you have to keep setting bigger goals for yourself.”