Corporate Chanakya by Radhakrishnan Pillai


Works of Chanakya, his strategies and his insights applied to the modern day corporate environment is the single sentence essence of this book Corporate Chanakya. Divided into three main sections of Leadership, Management, and Training. The book is organized around current day agreed tenets of management. The Suktas or the verses from the Chanakya’s work Arthshastra are cited as and when applicable to the topic at hand. As we know Chanakya was not the sole author of this treatise. But he probably compiled all the works in the sphere of economics and statehood till his time. And compiled them together and added his experience to it. In the modern days though we give him all the credit for this work. And maybe we leverage the brand that he has become.

What is good about this book is that it tries to bring is a certain sense of spirituality in the business world. Not in a religious way. But in a way that looks at the welfare of everyone. And has a long-term focus on the welfare of the individual involved and the society in general. In business organizations today there is so much focus on short-term gain. Usually under the pressure of stock performance that most employees will even find it difficult to define the purpose of the organization that they work for. So to bring focus to a larger purpose while being competitive is important. And needed in current times.

What is not so good is that people do not read an end-to-end preachy book. They buy them in the hope of reading them, following what is mentioned in the book and making their lives better. But not many read beyond few pages. I feel these things are to be taught by example. By helping people follow them. And the book can be a good reference material. Having that said such self-help books sell the best is also a truth. I would certainly like a study that studies the real impact of self-help books like this.

Author has tried to cover all aspects of a modern organization that is found challenging by some sections of the organization or other. Be its leadership team, middle manager, HR manager, Purchase manager, sales and marketing team or team dynamics.

Though the author has at multiple places emphasized the need to use the best technology and keeping the things updated for businesses, his own website mentioned in the book is down for at least 3 weeks now and so is his e-mail Id. Writing-wise there is hardly anything to comment, as the 300 or so word write up on each topic are independent pieces. Loosely bound but not connected. Last part seems to have been script of what he spoke at his various training sessions. Or the editor got tired of editing. There are places where he says like in our Mumbai or makes reference to the particular recent event. And suddenly the book feel of the script is lost. It looks like a newspaper report or transcript of a talk.

Use Corporate Chanakya as a reference book if you like.

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Corporate Chanakya by Radhakrishnan Pillai

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