Book Review: Business Sutra

Part of South Asian Challenge 2013


Books have strange relationships with the readers. I like to call it something akin to eating. We try out a lot of dishes before we know, yes, this is what I like. On the same principles readers read (try out) different genres and books before they can put a finger on some genre/s and say, I enjoy reading these the most. I have been through the drill – reading or atleast attempting to read everything that I could lay my hands on and then by Devdutt Pattanaik happened. The defining moment in my journey as a reader had happened. It was my first brush with Indian mythological fiction and it kindled a crack within – a crack that took the form of a crater in the later years. That crater that so far looks bottomless. The book showed me what I loved, like really loved. It opened up my foray into Indian mythology, ancient Indian history, Hindu theology, folk lores and the likes. And I can candidly confess Devdutt Pattanaik happens to be the Dronacharya. Over the years I have read most of his works, some because they were his works and some as research for my book. Now 9 months after the reader turned reviewer, here I am reviewing a book, the videos of which I have thoroughly enjoyed on television as well as .

Back Cover

Back Cover

Business Sutra is  very much what I have loved in Devdutt Pattanaik‘s earlier works – Mythology simplified, logic laced and connectable. At the core it deals with and emphasizes what the author states right at the start of the book and also on the back cover – Belief leads to behavior and behavior to business. It admonishes the disconnect in Indian businesses and behaviors created by the bland use of  western management basics, which are focused on meeting targets and complying with rigid objectives, in an eastern society.  So in accordance to the society, the book advocates the Indian approach to management which is empathetic, accepts diversity and is all inclusive in approach.

20130503_154122The author in his characteristic style gets his point across by use of known and lesser known storiesfrom Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology and his interesting illustrations. He embodies in the book what I have always loved about Hindu mythological stories – the stories always have a moral of the story and it is very interesting to read and imbibe what Devdutt interprets from these stories in context to business management. What would make this book an interesting read to readers of business management across the spectrum is the intelligent use of mythological stories, their interpretation in context of business management and driving home the point by use of present day examples. So if you don’t like the mythological hush-wush read the grey boxes instead.

Mythology is the map of the mind. Management is the expression of the mind. – Devdutt Pattanaik in Business Sutra

Partly memoir, partly business fundamentals the book makes for a compelling, easy read  if the subject interests you. It is one of those books that I call A. R. Rehman music type, the book grows on you as you sail through chapter to chapter. The language as with his earlier works is easy, the narration interesting and by  the time we reach the back cover we mildly understand why our beliefs, behavior and businesses ought to be different.  I have always wondered even during my PG in Management why India never had pioneers, trend changers and innovators in the field of management. It is because we cannot make biryani the burger way!

Happy Reading.

Watch the Words:

Title: Business Sutra: A Very Indian Approach to Management
Authors: Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
ISBN: 978-81-923280-7-2
Pages: 421
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Business
Rating: 4.75 of 5
Reviewed for:

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