Title: Business Sutra: A Very Indian Approach to Management
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher: Aleph Books
Genre: Non-Fiction, Management, Mythology
When you think of mythology and management, it becomes very difficult to connect the two. Doesn’t it? I am sure anyone would think it is impossible or close to being impossible, however that isn’t the case for Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, who when speaks of mythology, does not consider it any different from daily living. He doesn’t categorize or compartmentalize the concept at all. When Dr. Pattanaik writes or talk of mythology, he weaves it seamlessly into what we call living. He doesn’t treat it any different and may be that is the reason why we get his writing the way we do. It is simplistic and at the same time given the expertise, doesn’t come across as overbearing.
His new book, “Business Sutra: A Very Indian Approach to Management” aims at breaking all myths and vague ideas people have had about management in our country. He takes almost each concept one by one and bares it to its minimum, thereby rationally explaining to the reader, what works and what doesn’t and may be what could work. The book has structure and at the same time tells its readers to break all structures and forms of thinking, thereby learning to create new approaches, new Indian Approaches to Management, which we have probably been ignoring for a very long time.
“Business Sutra” is a difficult and yet an illuminating read. Dr. Pattanaik takes the reader through a chronological journey of his perception of management. The introduction of the book in itself is of twenty five pages, describing the need for such a book. He speaks of the design of the book and how he has tried to connect management to mythology and how it may work for some and may not work for others. At the same time, what I love about the book is that it isn’t preachy nor does it sound imposing.
The book is divided into three major sections, each section unraveling a different world for the reader. The book helps the reader read through structurally from decoding business beliefs of the Indian, the Chinese and the Western World to talking about the sutras of management and how they co-exist with mythology in the background. There are close to more than one hundred sutras and all aim at defining only one thing: To change the approach to management and at the same time talk of its connection to our roots through what is closest to our hearts and what we can connect with: Myths and Legends.
The wide gamut of the book sometimes would make the reader read it in bits and parts and that to me is the best way to enjoy this book as well. The references are way too many and that is what I enjoyed the most about the book – right from case studies which I could relate to from a working professional angle to the language which is simple and yet ensures the point is made, from a reader’s perspective. The balance that is struck is worth all of it.
“Business Sutra” is not your traditional book on management concepts. Devdutt Pattanaik takes it a step further with every turn of the page and you will realize it only when you read the book. The illustrations only enhance the value of the words and add more clarity to concepts. For instance, when he is explaining the sutra, “Mental Violence is also Violence” with an apt diagram, it sinks deep into the reader’s subconscious and from there on the reader can connect to the sutra with the story and the illustration in a better manner.
Overall, it was definitely a two thumbs up for me when it came down to reading and talking about “Business Sutra”. The approach is clear. The content is well-researched and solid and there is nothing which is out of place. The integration of mythology and the workplace is seamless and brilliantly executed. So for me the book worked well on almost all levels. A great read and again I say, you cannot read it in one stretch and one shouldn’t even try doing that. It should be read in bits and pieces and be savoured the way it is meant to be.