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Book Review: Success Stories

In the last three years, for those who work in the financial services sector, image of many role models have been shattered

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What does it take to reach the top and stay there? The answer to this question is elusive and, make no mistake, it is impossible to write a book on this. Jayaram Easwaran, however, has achieved this impossible task in his book Inside the C-Suite. Easwaran’s book is a collection of 21 short stories. The first thing that one would appreciate about the book is that it is an easy read. The author has not made any attempt to sensationalise the subjects. Each story revolves around one of those situations that we commonly face at work. Easwaran is a master storyteller who weaves the stories around values that one needs to understand, not just for a C-suite job, but to succeed in a more meaningful way.

The first story in the book is about Param, whose father is a retired colonel of Indian Army. By the end of the story, Param realises how his honest father’s humble way of life is and why it is so valuable. Param, almost ready to give in to the temptation of taking a shortcut to be rich, is brought back to the right path.  A majority of us will find resonance in such stories.

In the last three years, for those who work in financial services sector, image of many role models have been shattered. Bankers and CEOs who used to routinely be part of the lists of top 100 powerful people have fallen from grace. In fact, right before I picked up this book , I was actually reading a news article about how a top banking executive was embroiled deep in a controversy. And once I completed the book, it struck me — the content of the book offers deep-rooted lessons and why they need to be told.  

Other stories in the book, too, offers important lessons one can relate with. Some of them are politics that play out in office every day or how insecurities drive people to act in a certain manner. Everyone would face or are bound to face such hurdles in an office atmosphere. Many of the characters in the stories show courage and deal with those situations with dignity, and mostly succeed.

For instance take the story of Shreya, a Columbia Journalism School student, who comes back to India and joins a media house. The narrative talks about an intricate lesson about building relationships.  Shreya is mentored by Sid in understanding the nuances of building relationship with office colleagues. Company heads and senior mentors in leadership position could use the example of Shreya and Sid in guiding their colleagues.

This book would inspire you to retain a certain amount of goodness in you while you aim for or occupy the corner office. That is the most important message of this book. It doesn’t pretend to tell you how to get there or be there.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Sankar Chakraborti

Chakraborti is CEO, Acuité Ratings & Research

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