By Jayanth Ramanujam
I had seen this book a couple of times, both at the airport, while I was waiting to board my flight. On both these occasions, I had just glanced cursively through the blurb and kept it back in its place. Main reason for doing so was the context of the book was not that appealing. Finally, the third time, I picked it up more out of lack of other alternatives rather than any genuine interest getting rekindled in the book.
Starting to read the book after I finished my earlier unread books, I first had to decide as to what the book intended to convey. As per the author, he is an IT professional based in Bangalore. He is also a self-confessed cricket enthusiast. As part of his professional requirements, he has had to give lectures to his subordinates on management topics and has also been asked to write articles in his company newsletter. Hence, in order to spice up the subject and to also make the sessions more engaging, he attempted to mix the management concepts with the happenings in the game of cricket – since the game has seen unprecedented rise and passion among the youth of India in today’s scenario. In the ‘Foreword’, he suggests that the reader can also pick up any chapter in the book and read it in isolation as an alternate to reading the book from cover-to-cover.
Well, coming to the book, the contents of the book are dealing with the management concepts with an attempt to simplify the same and make it anecdotal for easy understanding. Examples are taken from various industries to illustrate the point in each chapter. As a parallel, instances that are remotely similar in the field of cricket have been included to spice up the chapter.
The management examples from the industry are all taken from leading brands of the world across varied products and companies. The cricket examples are primarily confined to Indian cricket and that too, post-millennium. There are however, a few examples thrown about that refer to instances that had occurred in the past. But, these will not be that attractive to the target readers since, they have occurred before the ‘TV era’ of cricket coverage.
The management examples are all quite relevant and are quite interesting to read. As such, most of them have not come out to the general public in graphic detail as part of news reporting. Here, the author falls into the trap of expressing his opinions as part of the event occurrence, which is cardinal. These things should be elucidated with a lot of care and discretion since the issues are never black and white as they are made out to be. They are in varying shades of grey. Furthermore, for every point of view put forth, there will always be an equally compelling counterpoint that will be argued. Hence, these things are generally a matter of perception. Also, remembering what my bosses drilled into me earlier in my career, it is always better to segregate spoken and written language. While one can get away with virtually murder while speaking, even trivial written matters can cause much consternation. Dev Prasad is guilty of this aspect.
Coming to cricket, it is clear that the author falls into the category of the ‘armchair critic’. This is a class of people, who are highly opinionated and are a product of the over-analysis TV era that is in vogue nowadays. His knowledge appears to be limited to around 25-30 years of Indian cricket with a sprinkling of few internationals thrown in between. There are surely numerous other and in most cases, better examples in cricket, that could have been considered. Another unfortunate aspect is the lack of attention given to facts. Sample these. Kapil Dev is mentioned as Anil Kumble’s captain in England whereas it was Azharuddin. Brian McMillan is mentioned as a hard-hitting batsman whereas he was more of an accumulator – his physique is probably mistaken for his aggressiveness while batting. Few others are there and are clearly evident to the ardent student of the game but get easily swept under the carpet for the casual observer. Probably, the presentation of events without the author’s opinion could have redeemed the book – this is applicable for both management as well as cricket. The book has numerous mistakes related to typographical errors, spellings and grammar. The publishing company should have taken care of these things. Considering that the book is targeted at a management audience, the research and presentation should have been much better.
Apart from these above, the subjects selected for discussion are interesting and are found in any typical management book. The method of dealing with them is unique. Credit should be given to the author for attempting something different but you come out with a feeling of déjà vu.
Until the next time, God bless…