The art and science of management has emerged as one of the most important fields of study in the modern world. However, too often we take a narrow view of the subject and look for management lessons only in the context of business organisations. What we miss is that management depends on human behaviour and thought, the way we approach challenges, the way we plan for the future, the way we respond to change and the way we interact with each other as individuals and groups. Thus, management lessons can be drawn from history, sport, politics, literature and the world around us.
Innovative thinkers have found texts of the past centuries, on subjects ranging from warfare to philosophy, to be rich sources of management insights. Management principles have evolved out of observations of successful people and organisations and relate to a set of well accepted attributes common to all of them. These principles have existed in various forms in ancient Indian society and culture. Old treatises with observations on the conduct of government, trade, diplomacy and social relations are a source of information on common practices at that time and lay down a framework of what behaviour was deemed to be both ideal and effective in realising the desired objectives. The Thirukural is a treatise on philosophy and life and has deep insights into human behaviour, on qualities that help or harm a person when it comes to interpersonal and social relations, politics and diplomacy. Over the centuries it has inspired generations of thinkers and writers.
Srinivasan has taken the commendable initiative to seek and share from this great work precepts that can be fruitfully applied by modern-day managers. Srinivasan is a long-time colleague and friend. An outstanding leader, he is also a keen observer of people and situations. As head of a successful company, his view on management is based on practical knowledge of business conduct. In this book he has drawn from the Thirukural specific verses and analysed their relevance to the management of business today, drawing fascinating parallels between socio-political situations in the ancient world and day-to-day issues that we now tackle in our management roles. His readable prose style and the ease with which he moves from the text of the kural to management situations make reading this book both a pleasure and a learning experience.
Srinivasan’s book is a remarkable attempt to distil the wisdom of this great work into easily understandable concepts for modern managers. His hands-on experience and knowledge of business, combined with his deep understanding of our culture and philosophy, is the great strength of this book. I am sure readers will find this an interesting and rewarding experience.
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