“Business Sutra: A very Indian approach to Management” is a book by Devdutt Pattanaik that I have fallen in love while reading it again and again. I was already a big fan of Devdutt’s blog and I jumped at the opportunity of reviewing the book for BlogAdda.
Let me begin with the man who has written this book. Devdutt Pattanaik is presently the Chief Belief Officer at the Future group of Kishore Biyani. His job at the Future group is not to judge or manipulate beliefs, but to expand the minds of the managers who blindly followed western management practices and open them to understand the world better and take better decisions.
Devdutt Pattanaik does not use the Doctor in his signature even though he was trained to be a Doctor. He chose the pharmaceutical industry rather than clinical practice and worked with Apollo Health Street and Sanofi Aventis and briefly with Ernst & Young. Pattanaik had a passion for the mythological stories that had come to him from listening to his father.
The index of this 432 page book lists out the following:
- Introduction Connecting Belief to Business
- From Goal to Gaze Decoding Western, Chinese and Indian Beliefs
- Business Sutra A Very Indian Approach to Management
- Business Sutra Vocabulary
- Index of Sutras
- How to reject this book
The crux of the book is that our belief system plays a critical role in the way we do business. Our beliefs impacts our behavior and it determines our choices. The decisions of individuals like buyers and sellers, regulators and shareholders, investor and entrepreneurs, employers and employees, vendors and customers impact the way business is done.
However, management science, a child of scientific revolution and the industrial era shuns the intangible and non-measurable beliefs and pays value to objectivity. For example, decisions are arrived at by a team through consensus following a logical process. These decisions belongs to no one but every member of the team is obliged to adhere to them, even at the cost of their personal beliefs.
Pattanaik explains that Indian thoughts may not be as efficient as the western thought or more orderly like the Chinese thought but is accommodative and inclusive. He explains:
The biblical way celebrates rule following leaders. The Greek way celebrates rule breaking forces. India celebrates both: the rule following Ram and the rule breaking Krishna. The confucian way celebrates social responsibility while the Taoist way prefers individualistic harmony. India celebrates both: the royal Vishnu and the ascetic Shiva.
The book is a totally Indian approach to doing business and draws its story telling from Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology. The mythological stories are applied to day to day management issues like talent management and business development.
One such interesting passage is about measurement. In management science measurement is the key to management. They say that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage or improve it. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Comparison is a powerful tool to identify ourselves and locate ourselves in a hierarchy. Comparisons means measurement. In Sanskrit, the word maya or delusion is rooted in the sound “ma” meaning “to measure”. For a world seen through measurement is delusion. Measurement is the matrix called maya!
Maya and satya are opposites of each other. Both are truths, but maya is truth based on comparison while satya is truth not based on comparison. Maya allows for judgment, as there is a reference scale; satya does not.
Go buy the book and give yourself a great Indian management education at just Rs 695/-
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