Business Sutra

I have been ignoring this space :S I have also not been reading my favourite posts :( Which I feel bad about, but can do nothing much.There is only one person to blame for this. My mother :D Yep always blame the mom :P In this case it is really the case. Details about the hows and whats in a separate post maybe. This post is about the book Business Sutra.

I love everything Indian! I love mythology too. Reminds of the lovely train journeys we used to undertake when I was a kid and the stories of Panchtantra were such a pleasant company. I also want to do an MBA one day (someday in the not so distant future when I have the time and money *sighs*) . This book hence is a double whammy. It amalgamates theories of management with stories of mythology. It also has some really well drawn illustrations and 'points to remember' sort of sections which are very catchy. 

The book is a slow starter. The writer draws out some ideas about what is 'Indian' and what is not. He contrasts the 'Indian' attitude with the 'Western' and the 'Chinese'. I personally do not see them building in any way to the topics further on. Or maybe I was missing the point. There is a case study after every tale which is very interesting. I am not sure whether the author meant the book to be used as a curriculum book and hence left the stories and the case studies as he did. As a lone reader, I wish he had elaborated both the instance and the case in question. It would have been a much fulfilling experience for me that way. 

There is lot of usage of Sanskrit and Hindi terms. He does beg his pardon for the number of non English words used, but claims English is limited in conveying all the Indian  ideas. I understand that. But I feel Hindi is not known all over India either. By attaching so many non-English words, he has unknowingly antagonised a very big clientele. There is a glossary of the meanings which I feel a non-Hindi reader might find useful. I personally find it a bit annoying switching between pages to get the meanings of words.

The book as such is a very wholesome reading experience. Leaving the management concepts aside, it is quite enjoyable. There are ideas on how to be a better person and a better professional which makes one contemplate. The author does reiterate his theory that reflection and thoughts focused towards the way ahead (which he claims is 'gaze')should be what propel us. Instead of mundane material, social or physical gains. Some people might find it a bit biased towards the Hindu way of life. If we chose to take just the content rather than the context, it is very valid. The writer has claimed that critics have dismissed the book as 'religious mumbo-jumbo'.  Being pretty irreligious, I did not find it so.

I will not be able to give excerpts from the book since it is best read in the words of the author. But let me ponder on some of the interesting thoughts :-

He distinguishes between 4 types of people :-
Duryodhana  - The rule upholder, one who has adhered by rules always. But his motive was his own gain.
Ravan - The rule breaker, who has always broken rules for his dominance.
Ram - The rule upholder for the good of others. He is a success as a King (professional life) but fails as in his personal life (as a father and a husband)
Krishna - The rule breaker for the good of others. One who grows and has made others grow. 
This clear distinction makes one think, which category one belongs to and why. It also makes one think, which way of life is worthwhile. The author does not judge any  of the characters or evangelize. He just urges us to contemplate and gives case studies which make us put them in context.

He states there are 3 different types of hunger :-
For Lakshmi - resources to nourish our physical body.
For Durga - or power which makes us feel secure.
For Saraswati - or identity to nourish our mental body.
Only when the mind expands, we are able to stretch our vision to see what actually matters. We are able to invoke our deep rooted potential rather than concentrating on limited goals.

While hunger can be of the aforementioned types, different people can have different take on hunger. One can be a  :-
Shiva - Who has no hunger, who neither gives nor takes.
Indra - Who is driven by pleasure, who never gives and always takes.
Daksha - Who is calculative and gives and takes in equal measure.
Vishnu - Who has no hunger, but always gives and never takes.
Again, the author wishes us to think how we are as individuals, what we hunger for and what should be the best and sustainable way to achieve it.

There is a wonderful piece on an organisation being merely a set of people (I have always agreed with this. I believe every industry is end of day a knowledge industry with the people being its USP.  Once the people are gone, everything can crumble.) I really admire the way the author has driven home this thought. He states, an institution is made of of innumerable Taras - isolated people with talent. They in turn merge to form a constellation of Rashi/Nakshatra. This is when groups of people start to matter. Grahas are talents whose individual personalities can make an effect on the organisation. What matters most in all this is the relationships between all these celestial bodies (or personalities) which etch the path of a firm. 

Comments

Soma Pradhan said…
Nice Review.. Will get this book next :)

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