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Of Managers and Management

Nandini Vaidyanathan

By Ganesh Natarajan and Manjiri Gokhale
East West Books, Chennai, 2006, pp. 190, Rs. 250.00

Edited by Herbert Davis, Samir Chatterjee, Mark Heuer
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2006, pp. 441, Rs. 850.00


Pericles, the Greek statesman and general of Athens during its Golden Age (ca. 495-429 bc), said that the world was changing so rapidly that ‘you can’t put your feet in water twice’ That is, by the time you take your feet out the first time and put them back in the second time, water would have flowed.   His disciple, Cleon, went a step further. He said ‘you can’t step into the same water even once’. Because, by the time you have thought of putting your feet in water and actually put them in, water would have flowed.   That is the velocity of change and in these times and climes, there was never a truer axiom than this. Staggering changes have resulted in longevity of life, better quality of life, and unbelievable opportunities. They have also resulted in loss of equilibrium in the two worlds that most of us straddle—the personal and the professional.   Interestingly, I do a chat show called Boardroom Yogis on the Moksha channel of World Space Radio exploring how senior corporate executives achieve work-life balance that results in emotional wellness. Many have managed by consciously articulating a well-ness policy for themselves and their families; others admitted on the show that they are still struggling to come to terms with the seemingly conflicting demands of the work and home.   Inspired is a book about such people who have actually managed to achieve work-life balance. There are thirteen achievers who have been profiled here from different walks of life; you have an Arun Shourie, Kiran Bedi, Chandrababu Naidu and Dev Anand profiled along with Anu Agha, Baba Kalyani and Nandan Nilekani. Dr S.B. Majumdar and Dr Kiran Karnik feature comfortably with Ramalinga Raju and Raman Roy. And of course there are the stalwarts with a high spiritual quotient, Sam Pitroda and Deepak Parekh.   Besides the facts about their professional lives which are known to most students of the corporate sector, there are some interesting vignettes about their personalities. For instance, I knew that Anu Agha is extremely approachable, but I didn’t know she felt that she was chosen to step into her husband Rohinton Agha’s shoes, after his death, not because of her merit but because her family owned 62% of the company’s shares.   Similarly, I didn’t know that Dev Anand was close to the royal family in Nepal and an incident ...

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