What the soul tells the capitalist (IANS Book Review)

November 18th, 2011 - 12:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Book: “A Saint in the Board Room”; Authors: R. Durgadoss and B. Yerram Raju; Publisher: Konark Publishers; Pages: 382; Price: Rs.295

This is a book unlike any other, a fictional cocktail of economics and ethics, religion and spirituality, success and failure. Authors Durgadoss and Raju, with decades of exposure to business and industry, use timeless wisdom from ancient India to weave a great story.

Harvard-educated Arjun is once rated one of the most successful CEOs in the world of banking business. In the race to be a billionaire, he embraces a path that is in contrast to his father’s values. He does not mind. His aged parents live far away from London, in a small Indian town called Lalgudi. Arjun has stopped visiting them although he does make occasional telephone calls.

Then comes the 2008 financial tsunami. His bank collapses. At a critical board meeting, Arjun, under attack for mismanagement, himself collapses. A doctor revives him. Worse, his father, a respected retired teacher, passes away. It is a double blow.

A distraught Arjun flies from London to Lalgudi for his father’s funeral and rituals. There, he gets into a conversation with his father’s soul. It is this that makes this book truly unique.

The conversation covers numerous subjects: values, ethics, leadership, character, competence, positive thinking, management, happiness, and ways to handle failures. There are real life stories, anecdotes and plenty of ancient wisdom retold. It is heavy but only at times.

At the end of it all, Arjun is a far wiser human being. The stint in India opens his eyes to values so very crucial to life but which he had overlooked in the pursuit of wealth. He learns the hidden mantras of life — and success. Business professionals will love this book.

(M.R. Narayan Swamy can be contacted at narayan.swamy@ians.in)

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