Monday, June 6, 2011

The boss is not your friend by Vijay Nair

Have you always wondered what kind of an “animal” your boss really was and have racked your brains to find some way to tackle “it” effectively? Have you wondered about the “actual” motives of the organization you work for and how the vision and mission statements flouted so grandly by your organization conceals it’s actual intentions? Well,Vijay Nair’s irreverent,yet funny book “The boss is not your friend (A handbook for Indian Managers to survive all things Organizational) might be right up your alley and help you figure some answers.

Drawing richly from his career and his engagements as a consultant,Vijay peppers the book with anecdotes about the vile nature of not just “the boss” but also the organization. He starts of sagely with the hypothesis that “Corporations are evil” and goes on to stack one amusing anecdote on top of another to strengthen his argument. Some might feel that Vijay’s views are extremely jaded,but when one considers the blatant abuse of trust that a lot CEOs and companies have indulged in recently , one realizes that the book was probably born out of a hankering need to call spade a spade,something management tomes would never do. The book takes huge digs at some of the theories expounded by management books.

The Boss Labelling and Fixing instrument that is presented in the book and helps you find out what type your boss really is a hoot,really.The 6 types of bosses that Vijay outlines subsequently ,makes you actually think of all the mean bosses you’ve had the fortune of working with in the past and nod on as he describes characteristics of one obscene type of boss after another. The author’s tongue and cheek tone makes the book a real page turner. He uses the framework of a few management and socalist theories (like Maslow’s theory,CMM model, Schorsch’s framework of Immaturity )and adapts it the context of bosses ,CEOs and organizational behaviour.

Vijay has also drawn liberally from books and movies to develop his dogmas which he calls “DIGMAS”. It was particularly amusing to read about the parallels he draws between HR managers and Dementors in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books . Much later in the book, he compares The Matrix in the movie Matrix to Organizations. All these references to popular culture, along with his easy narrative style makes the book immensely readable.The book also gives tips and pointers at managing several other “evil” forces in the organization like HR managers, CEOs, team members and outsiders like consultants .

Somewhere at the end of the book, the author writes “ This book was never meant to change your lives. It contains no secrets that can illuminate your path. Neither does it help you pick up silly habits to help you succeed against all odds.Gardens or Gardeners have nothing to do with this book.Maybe all it did for you was tickle your funny bone.I am fine with that.” This according to me summarizes the objective of the book quite lucidly. The subservient techniques Vijay advocates might seem a little neurotic and arrogant to some, but one just has to look at the ground realities to understand that guerrilla warfare is definitely the way to go.If you don’t believe in the philosophy of “eye for an eye”,you might want to read the book just for a few laughs!.

Overall, an engaging book that’s been written well . I can see a lot of young executives relating to the style and the content of the book.

My Rating : 3.5/5

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  1. I want to read it. Nice review.

  2. The title sounded more like the book "You can't win a battle with your boss" but after reading your review it looks like a different book. I would like to read this one.

  3. A..Do pick it up.Its good fun

    Geetaa.. This book is more like how to win over your slimy boss :-)

  4. I really thought the same thing as Geeta above said. Good to know otherwise :)

    I will give it a try, though it doesn't sound like something I would try!

  5. Veens.. I am normally not a non-fiction person.But i was glad i read it . It was fun.

  6. Enjoyed reading the review. Would like to pick this one too.