Purity of resolve is the key

IT was quite interesting, actually. One waded into the book under review without thinking of it as a book that was to be reviewed; without subconsciously feeling for its physicality, its weight and dimensions and without looking at the back cover: reading it straightaway.

It was only towards the end of the introduction that the realisation dawned that the author was a top manager, having long been at the helm of a giant of a company—a very successful one at that—with its complex set of problems and challenges and had helmed it very successfully.

Here one was, within reading distance of distilled wisdom gained through practical experience of a lifetime— how was Arup Roy Choudhury going to ladle it out?

Management books have earned for themselves the reputation of being difficult to read. Not only that, there is also a general impression that the more rewarding or useful a book, the more difficult a read it is. But Management by Idiots is an enjoyable read, thoroughly enjoyable. It also makes reading about management idiot-proof. Even a person with no interest in management studies will benefit from reading the book and, not only that, will enjoy reading it as well.

There are areas in life as such— even in the quotidian, unremarkable lives of the commonest of folks among us—that require management. And it is precisely from everyday life that Roy Choudhury picks out his examples on the spines of which he builds communication capsules about hardcore management principles and practices. The body copy of a television advertisement can become that spine, and so can a saying, a proverb, or a fragment of everyday conversation.

The book has 20 chapters spread over 116 pages. Somehow, each of the chapters gives one the sense of a bullet point and an explanatory note in a corporate presentation of 20 slides.

The author steers expertly through ideas of delegation, ownership, time management, team building and suchlike, using simple language and an engaging style. He also keeps the whole thing uncomplicated and uncluttered.

There is not one superfluity, no pedantic overhang in the book. No, the style is not sparse, it is quite wholesome—the simplicity of Management by Idiots does not take away from the profound nature of its thought content, but rather adds to the same.

The book has delightful illustrations—simple line drawings which have character but are not cartoons. These further add value to the text, besides making the package visually attractive. The typeface and quality of paper together make for easy reading.

I actually ended up reading the book in a single sitting the very first time I laid my hands on it. True, the reading was in reader, rather than reviewer, mode. Of course, a second reading makes for greater appreciation of the ideas presented in the book and for the effort.

Management by Idiots is a book that should sit alongside an organiser, or a thesaurus, on the work table. It has motivational value as well as reference value. The title of the concluding chapter, and an important theme throughout the book, is—‘Sankalpa shuddha hi siddha’, or the purity of resolve is a task managed. This is an apt caption for this well-written educational book.

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