Without A Doubt by Surbhi Sarna
Release Date 3/7/23
An Indian American entrepreneur describes how her harrowing medical history spurred a lifelong obsession with advancing the field of women’s health.
When Sarna was 13, she went to the emergency room with an agonizingly painful ovarian cyst—a diagnosis she would receive 24 hours after a doctor recommended that she should go home and take some Tylenol. Although her cysts disappeared after puberty, her determination to improve care for uterine-related conditions lasted a lifetime. Sarna has based nearly every decision in her adult life—applying to Berkeley’s biology program; taking an entry-level engineering position at a medical device company; starting her own organization after being laid off—on her desire to make women’s health care better. As she demonstrates in her lively text, she pursued this goal through years of being underestimated, taken for granted, and ignored. Eventually, Sarna formed a research-and-development team whose closeness led them to call themselves “La Familia.” That team developed a diagnostic medical device that Boston Scientific eventually acquired for $275 million. The author is now a partner at the innovative venture capital firm Y Combinator. Throughout this frank, vulnerable, and fast-paced memoir, Sarna returns to the central theme of the consequences of being “underrated and doubted.” She realized that “the single most important decision I made in my career was to push forward even while being doubted by so many. Doubted by the famous inventor who fell asleep while I was speaking to him….Doubted by the guy who came to my booth during a trade show, looked over my shoulder, and asked to speak with the CEO of the company.” Perhaps as a result of the ways in which she was underestimated, Sarna’s approach to entrepreneurship, which she articulates through warm and humorous advice embedded in her life story, is profoundly empathetic, both for her co-workers and community and for herself.A wise, practical, and compassionate guide to startup success from a determined woman.