“What business have you even reading, leave alone reviewing this book on Business Management?!” Asked my friend, “shouldn’t you be focusing on your research?” He went on.
Well, for a student who isn’t even remotely likely be into business, who isn’t even remotely inclined towards having one, it would appear weird. But then, I’d say there’s more to it than just teaching business acumen! Through its bringing home to people stories, symbols and rituals from Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythologies, ‘Business Sutra: A very Indian Approach to Management’ other than, of course, establishing to its readers how Indian mythology can help rewrite modern management, especially in the Indian context, teaches one the business that anyone can have to do with, that everyone has to do with–the business called life! Well, of course I had no clue of its leaving me with some lessons on life, when I opted in to review it. The description of it fascinated me to begin with, and left me curious enough to land here! And, it did leave me in good stead! So, curiosity doesn’t always kill, though it did seem so, when I pulled out the ‘big, 437 page fat’, hard bound book, (that looked more like a course reference book!) from the envelope it arrived in!
The author, as much through his illustrations, as through his words, explains that cultural differences have often made the modeling of businesses in India on the western theories of management and governance, and on the concept of corporations a ‘misfit’. This said, the illustrations are dexterously used here, as subtle instruments to bring thoughts, words, beliefs home, which otherwise could have weighed heavy on the much preoccupied minds of today.
True to his word, Pattaniak articulates the beliefs and ideas, (though with a prescription for one to internalize them) leaving each to his own, there on, to search and find the beliefs they want to imbibe and follow. He uses an analogy of a ‘kolam’ or ‘rangoli’ to every idea he puts forth, to a dot, and having presented his readers with them all, he encourages (even urges) them (all) to connect the dots their own way, and form their own pattern.In essence he encourages readers throughout, to open their minds to
Nowhere does he tend to get preachy, not even with his “chew on them as cow chews cud; eventually milk will flow”.
And there are a number of word gems like “Questions teach us, not answers.” and “the loss of possessions reveals who we really are.” strewn all over the tapestry of the book, as are pointers such as “we fight over (can be read ‘seek’) things and forget thoughts (can be interpreted as ‘knowledge’)”, and that fear and uncertainty lie beneath the urge to be in control.
“As is belief, so is behavior, so is business. This is business sutra, a very Indian approach to management.” sums up the author, for us, leaving to us, the depths we would delve to, with this simply potent sutra. Yes! our beliefs frame our business; be it the business that brings us our bread or the business we call ‘life’.
Quite a good read, in all, and one that would have something new to offer at every revisit/re-read! A book that gently nudges us to open our minds, to grow, to let go and learn, and inspires us to, through numerous tales, yet constantly reminds us to use our discretion, and to keep open our minds…