The last few books that I read (especially the order in which I read them) has really got me thinking. The simplest things are the easiest to miss and when someone does take notice and makes a success out of it, we wonder what special powers they are blessed with. The people themselves know it ofcourse, it just leaves the rest of us baffled. To explain a little more clearly, the book I finished reading just today is ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell. More impressive than the title is the subtitle – “The Story of Success”. You may be forgiven for yawning and thinking heard that before but seriously, this is a very radical approach. According to this book, the way we behave is rooted in our cultures and environments we were reared in no matter how far removed we are from it. It also goes on to prove that success is no accident but a combination of opportunities and hard work. The term ‘hard work’ is looked down upon these days, with smart work being the flavour of the season, but it amounts to the same things, gaining proficiency in your chosen field by constant application and practice and thereby getting better and better at it. Moving on to the the next book on the list, this one was an old favourite, ‘Freakonomics’, discovering the hidden side of everything has never been so much fun. An interesting thing to note about both these books is that while at the heart of it they deal with facts, figures, research and analysis, they are not the run of the mill economics textbooks (read: they don’t send you off to sleep) simply because they are narrated like stories with examples of real people, real lives which makes them so irresistible, you keep turning the pages waiting to see what happens next. And once you do find out, you not only have a great story but you’ve also learnt a few facts of life! And that brings me to the other 2 books that I read recently, ‘It Happened in India’ by Kishore Biyani and ‘Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch’ by Arindam Chaudhury. They are similar yet different books, almost mirror images of each other. While Kishore Biyani tells his story of success with the his theories of management hidden within them, Arindam Chaudhury talks about his theories and gives us examples to support them. In any case 2 things were very apparent once I was done reading these books; the first being that management in India is very distinct process (hence proving Malcolm Gladwell’s point that culture has everything to do with people’s behaviours). Traditional theories, models, best practices and procedures need to be customized to suit the Indian context instead of lifting straight out of popular literature. The second fact is that though there are plenty of people who have realized this truth and are doing things differently, there is hardly any record of it, nobody writes about or publicizes a new way of working which actually works in this country! So the big learnings for the month are to understand how our culture defines the way we work and use it to our advantage and also to make sure that we tell the world about how we do things instead of trying to mould ourselves to fit the so called universally accepted principles which are at best applicable to only half the world’s population.

And that my friends is what I think freedom means. Its about making the choice to embrace who we are instead of being ashamed of it and telling the world we are proud to be who we are instead of apologizing for not fitting into acceptable definitions.
Happy Independence Day…

One thought on “Freedom…”

  1. A very well connected write up and interesting. Culture, management and freedom. Highly interesting. It would really work if you could give this more thought and draw more connects. I have a feeling that a \”Eureka\” will then be imminent. Hope to see another one on the same lines soon.

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