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Updated: August 30, 2012 18:23 IST

On Chanakya’s management principles

G. Swaminathan
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Corporate Chanakya.
Corporate Chanakya.

Chanakya also referred to as Kautilya is well known to Indian intelligentsia for his remarkable contribution, ‘Artha Sastra,’ a treatise on economics and political science in India centuries ago. It is no surprise that many of the ancient wisdom suits the present situations of political and economic conditions too because of Chanakya’s exceptional foresight.

However, relating the principles of ‘Artha Sastra’ to the present generation corporate ethics is a bit tricky and a difficult task. The author, Radhakrishnan Pillai, a present generation corporate honcho with commendable credentials both academically and practically, has ventured into relating the age-old principles of Chanakya and explains their relevance for becoming a successful corporate head. No doubt it is a laudable effort.

Three sections

The book has been divided into three major chapters of ‘Management, Administration and Training’ and 175 smaller sections. Under the major captions Pillai has sub-divided and discussed many of the needed qualities of the head. In each section, he tries to quote Chanakya’s words and explain the sub-text and how it should be comprehended in the present context. These apart, he has loaded his writings with quotations from several intellectuals and business tycoons.

The language chosen by Pillai is simple and straight forward. The Tamil translation is good except for a few flaws. The flip side of the book is after a point the contents sound repetitive and pedantic. The simple reason is the qualities of a corporate head in terms of management, administration and training are interlinked and to differentiate these by breaking them into smaller fragments and explicating further becomes a bit redundant. Precision in the selection of the topics are not reflected in the presentation. This almost creates a sense of tedium while going through the three hundred odd pages of the book.

Some of the notable features of the contents are in stressing the need for an individual to develop himself into a corporate head by sheer diligence, listening, understanding the people around him, market trends, decision making and also on the importance of relaxing the mind.

Like Personality Development books, in the present milieu, management is one of the hot subjects in demand for a bright future and lucrative job prospects. We have, therefore, not only a host of business schools coming up but also books on the various aspects of management trends and techniques. Radhakrishnan Pillai has made a substantial contribution, though a bit voluminous, to enthusiastic students and managers of business administration.

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