Inside Chanakya’s Mind
Radhakrishnan Pillai isn’t quite done with his fascination for Chanakya, not even after a handful of best-sellers — Chanakya in Daily Life, Chanakya in You, and Corporate Chanakya — all based on the 4th Century royal advisor’s treatise, the Arthashastra. While Pillai has firmly established his position as the modernist disseminator of Chanakya’s teachings, his latest release is a management guide, historical chronicle and self-help handbook all rolled into one, focussing on the concept of “aanvikshiki” or “the ultimate knowledge of self-realisation”. Easy to read, with youngsters in mind, no doubt, this is “ancient wisdom, modern gyan”, as one jacket blurb puts it, treading on being mildly pedagogical over matters such as of “Human and Divine Thinking”. For all its analytical wealth, yet, we’re holding on to our copies of Chanakya Neeti by BK Chaturvedi. Penguin Random House India, `350.
— Jaideep Sen
The CEO Who Lost His Head
The esoteria laced into this whodunnit by former editor of DNA Mumbai, Aditya Sinha, is its biggest undoing. Sinha sacrifices subtlety for luridness, not least with his characters unimaginatively named Buster Das (“Bastard” for short), and the police officers Sandesh Solvekar and Mona Ramteke. Sinha appears to be nursing personal jollies over his unceremonious ousting from DNA in 2012, and there might well be a few riant former employees toasting his book as a last hurrah of sorts. For the rest of us, though, the story of a murdered newspaper CEO — evidently based more on whim than genuine research — suggests little more than a plot gone wrong at the very beginning. Pan Macmillan India, `299.