Book Review: Been There Bungled That


The mountaineer George Mallory, when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, famously replied, “Because it’s there.” Turning his rationale on its head, I say I write humour because it’s not there. If, through Been There Bungled That, I inject some into your life, I’ll be happy.

–      Paddy Rangappa

An author armed with that philosophy is bound to succeed most of the time. We’ve had a few books dabbling with humour in recent times, their parlance ranging from banking to publishing to aviation. Now we have a nearly-biographical fiction penetrating other cores of the corporate industry – marketing & advertising to be precise. Paddy Rangappa graduated from IIM Ahmedabad 25 years ago and has been working in marketing since then. He decided to blend his experiences and escapades with some imagination and created a book with lot of insight for people in marketing.

First things first – the book cover is simple yet attractive. Bungled gets a highlight and is extrapolated into various areas that the author ventured – Engineering, MBA at IIM-A, Marketing, Advertising and Banking. It has a fair touch of humour without being overtly so. The first chapter is one of the most hilarious, where the protagonist Jagannath Srinivasan (‘Jags’) encounters Dr. Wakefield. The difference in their perceptions and opinions about engineering-followed-by-MBA provide an enjoyable read. However, Jags doesn’t take hfeed of Dr. Wakefield’s recommendations and goes ahead with his decision to pursue an MBA. The following chapters narrate Jags’ experiences at IIM-A, his falling in love with a professor’s daughter, internship at a reputed company, et al.

There are a total of 78 chapters, but they must not deter you from reading the book. The chapters are brief, crisp and well explanatory. They look more like an extended storyboard for a comic strip or a film script. Each scene unfolds and expands into an anecdote. The reader is taken along a cruise through time machine, exploring all the phases in the life of Jags.

The writing is lucid, free-flowing without any hurdles and succinct. Paddy Rangappa’s language is easy to follow and grasp. He has used brand names & incidents quite liberally to validate his anecdotes. The advertising scenes and examples are absolutely a delight to read. Jags’ wife Vidya is portrayed beautifully with adequate dose of sarcasm.

There are just one or two things which don’t strike a chord with most readers. The marketing and advertising jargon might seem too dry & formal to people who are not familiar with the industry.

Recommended for anyone in corporate and/or fond of good humour.

Title: Been There Bungled That
Author: Paddy Rangappa
Publisher/ Imprint: Random House India/ Ebury Press
Pages: 287
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Fiction/ Humor
Rating: 4.00 of 5
Reviewed for: Publisher

Browse through the full list of book reviews in the depths of the Pensieve.