Asian Writers

June is dedicated to authors with ASIAN ORIGIN....review of books in this category will be posted all month....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Comedy of Errors

Rating - * * 1/2 *

Nope, this isnt Shakespeare. Its an Indian author and his commentaries on Project Management with the IT industry as the context.


I had purchased this book at the airport book stall seeing that it was a "thin" book with a humorous touch and so would help me during my dull flight back home. No prizes for guessing the reason why I am writing a review now.

So I picked it up day before yesterday morning and finished it by night - the pace was not rushed and I even snoozed for an hour or so and the other regular things like eating etc. This is a clear indication that this is a no-stress, light book and indeed that is the case.


Its a book in which a fictious manager "Bob" passes on pearls of wisdom on several subjects (project management, people management, strategy, self-management in terms of promotion, branding etc) to "Sam" to whom he has taken a sudden liking for reasons not clear till the very end of the book - actually the ending is so pathetic it made me weep -think the author got tired by then as he ran out of ideas and one-liners, some original and some borrowed and peppered with quite a few cliches.


Its a conversational style book which is very simplistic but that doesnt neccessarily make it bad Simplicity cant be bad else what can justify Chetan Bhagat's phenomenol and self-proclaimed success?? [sarcasm intended]. There are several anecdotes which are informative, funny and ring a bell of truth. I am not sure how much of it can be directly applied to work, but there are definitely some takeaways on "upward management" aka boss management, how to cosy up to your to-be customers, team bonding etc.


The author also does a fine balancing act in the very last segment of his book in which he talks about techniques and strategies related to self-promotion and branding. He lays out some tricks and then as if his consciousness gets the better of him in the end, he plays the "I am an honest guy with a good consciousness" card via Sam. This is typical Indian characteristic - we always shy away in the end after taking the first step in that direction for fear of appearing too greedy and self-motivated. Our "morality" gets the better of us in the end. Why? What is wrong in blowing your own trumpet, in today's corporate world if you have to prevent yourself from donning on the "invisible employee" cap, this has almost become a pre-requiste. Who am i kidding, I myself am still old school believing in the my work will speak for me...eye opener - and to quote Mr Prasana (though he cant claim IP for this line) - You get what you NEGOTIATE, not what you DESERVE. So true!! And we Indians with the slavery virus still running in our blood and ever so eager to please the others that we are horrible at negotiating.


The book will in many places come across as disconnected and without any theme or story line - which is because there is no story line. Its essentially a management book in a lighter vein. I am myself from the IT industry so as I read the book, I felt that it was something that I could write and that it was modeled after me. I am sure it will resonate 100% with all the indian IT folks out there and on which the author would have hoped to cash on.

[Interesting anecdotes - The Kalahari monkey and the Pharos-pyramid story analogy to the current software development projects is spot on.]

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