Business Doctors - A Review



So many books to read, so little time. Given the limited time at my disposal and so many books on my to-read list, I decided to put a strict schedule and knock off all the books on my to-read list before venturing into unexplored territories – the new authors. That meant I had to put a stop to book reviews of new books. But when I received a request to review a book with a premise of applying management consulting ideas to the world of mafia, I could not resist the temptation to take up the offer for more than one reason. The obvious reason is of course is my being a professional in the very same field. (Management consultant I mean, not mafia)The second and most important one is that one of my dream projects is to write a spoof based on business management theories and management consulting frameworks. This author seemed to have beaten me to the post. So professional curiosity meant I had to pick up the book.

Since I started this book with lot of expectation, the book started with a strong disadvantage as is always the case when expectations are high. For one, from the tagline ‘Management Consulting gone wild’, I expected a spoof that would be an out and out laugh riot, the kind I dreamt of writing. So I did not find the book so funny despite the rich sprinkling of dry humor all over the tale. But I guess I must be happy that Sameer has not written the book I wanted to write. If we were to apply correction for my preformed notions and undue expectations, this book I must say is notches above the common fare in the contemporary Indian fiction market.
To start with, the concept is indeed a very novel one amidst the same old oft repeated themes in Indian book market. The execution is meticulous with a smooth engaging narrative and a reasonably consistent plot.  We have here a senior partner at a small time consulting firm as a protagonist. He is hired by a mafia boss whose business is running downhill to revive his empire. The hero ends up taking up this “offer he cannot refuse” due to his own firm’s bad condition due to the recession. Further incentive comes his way in the form of seduction by the gangster’s wife and he goes around applying the management consulting ideas such as value stream maps, issue trees, organizational behavior theories etc. to solving the problems faced by the mafia. Overall the story proceeds at a reasonable pace and there aren’t too many dull moments.  
In some ways I found the book straddling two genres – regular crime thrillers and subject matter books packaged as fiction to interest readers and educate them at the same time. The book tends to lean more towards the latter but I feel the author did not go full steam ahead in the fear of losing the mainstream market. So we have a book that would not wow the serious reader seeking new management insights and at the same time having management jargon that goes over the head of the casual reader seeking entertainment.  My personal opinion is that it would have been better if the book had focused exclusively on one of the two segments – preferably the serious reader. For all we know, we might have had a masterpiece like Eliyahu Goldratt’s “The Goal”.
I would definitely recommend people in management professions and aspiring to the same to definitely give this book a try. Though it does not have anything new as such, encountering some of the familiar aspects in unusual settings will definitely will bring a smile on the face.  To the book’s credit I must say I felt it was definitely worth the time I took off from my reading schedule.

Author Bio: Sameer Kamat is the founder of MBA Crystal Ball and Booksoarus. His first book, Beyond The MBA Hype published by HarperCollins, is currently in the third reprint. Business Doctors - Management Consulting Gone Wild is his second book

12 comments:

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Good crisp review TF - (loved that 'management consultant not mafia :) )

The Fool said...

Thanks Suresh.

jaish_vats said...

Good review TF but I think this would not be a genre I might be interested in reading :)

Seeta said...

The thought about it could have been something one the lines of The Goal is very very interesting and you are right it would have def. appealed to serious readers. There is a reason why The Goal is bought and never given away :) loved the crispness in your review and I nod my head in agreement with the verdict as well.

The Fool said...

Thanks Jaish. Yeah - it may not be everyone's cup of tea.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Seeta. Seems like you too are a fan of the goal.

Rachna said...

That was a good review, TF. I had read Seeta's review too. I agree with your point that a book straddling two genres may end up disappointing quite a few purists. I wonder if this one will work for me.

The Fool said...

Thanks Rachna. Might work.

Pankti Mehta said...

Despite being a management student, I've never been inspired to read or write such things. But your review is tempting me to read this book.

The Fool said...

Well - who knows - you may like this book.

Destination Infinity said...

I like the concept, but to retain reader interest will be a challenge. Too many management concepts or even messages might feel like an intrusion into the story. Edutainment is not a very bad idea, provided entertainment is not compromised. Some excellent SF authors I know have used knowledge to enhance entertainment!

Destination Infinity

The Fool said...

True, Rajesh. About SF writers - I don't know which SF authors you refer to. But SF is hardly about education. Most of the main stream SF are speculative and don't truly impart any knowldge of practical use.

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