One is always wary of life-made-easy in 24 chapters. It’s very American, preachy, and frankly a bit mind-numbing. But then, Subroto Bagchi, CEO of IT services firm MindTree, is among a small (and alas diminishing) tribe that can neatly put an Indian context to very relevant matters of the professional—what many used to proudly dub as “being in service” not so long ago. Then, it was about the right value systems pummelled into place by paternal wisdom. For a small tribe, professionalism—driven by integrity, commitment, knowledge, humility, punctuality—was the new religion, pure and filled with purpose in an emerging India. Of course, much of this seems prehistoric. Even if we work around the clock and venerate the likes of Sreedharan, much has moved too far, too fast in the past couple of decades.
Firms and professions across India face an increasing number of cases of poor professional practices, from ethical misconduct and harassment to corruption. And, as Bagchi puts it aptly, people do not appreciate values when things are going well. For this he blames the absence of working experience at school and college; an education system that doesn’t impart the right values; and workforces that don’t clearly draw the line. Packed with experiences, this book is an attempt to put down basic professional issues and conflicts in a current context. Bagchi tries not to preach in a book that’s aimed at a younger audience. But I can think of many “captains of industry” who would benefit from a quick reading.