A collection of articles and speeches

Book: Doodles on Leadership

Author: R Gopalakrishnan

Publisher: Rupa

Pages: 198

Price: Rs 500

In the introduction, the author writes that he experienced leadership moments and learning’s at three levels: Transactional, corporate and holistic. He further writes that his earlier books were about transactional and corporate leadership, while this book is about holistic leadership.

According to the dictionary, ‘Doodle’ means, “a picture or pattern that someone has drawn while thinking about something else or when they are bored”. The book could not have been named more aptly: Doodle on Leadership Experience Within and Beyond Tata.

Out of 10 chapters, one can find interesting aspects on leadership in four of them. Rest of the chapters are on agriculture, judiciary, etc. and they contain nothing new. Author tries to coin a set of new word “Little India”, for “Bharat”, which few marketers love to call ‘small towns and rural India’. But apart from coining new word, the chapter has nothing new to offer.

The author R Gopalakrishnan is undoubtedly one of the best managerial minds that corporate India has seen, but unfortunately the book gives a picture that his understanding of India, reading on India is incomplete. His conclusions are more or less based on media reports rather than being based on his own findings and convictions.

In a paragraph, author laments over lack of outrage over more than 26000 weekly deaths in Bengal due to famine during British raj. Surprisingly in the next paragraph he quotes Amartya Sen, the person who attempted to give clean chit to British for Bengal famine. Author also quotes Justice Katju, who comes across as a man who gives statements in media to just remain in news.

While reading the acknowledgment, in the end of the book, one realises that it is not a book on leadership but collection of different articles, speeches, etc. by the author. It would have been ideal if this was disclosed in the introduction where brief on each chapter has been given and the word ‘leadership’ was not used in the name of the book.

A book has a responsibility towards its readers; in this case the responsibility is missing. And more than the author it is the editor and publisher who have failed the reader.