Author: Asim Chaudhuri
Swami Vivekananda is not an unknown name anywhere in the world. The very utterance of the name brings forth to the mind thoughts about courage, boldness, action, victory, inspiration, energy amongst many others. As a bibliophile, I visit a variety of bookstore looking for interesting titles that I may consume. The Ramakrishna Math book store across cities have also been one of my sought after locations.
Though a lot of the times my purchases at the Math book store is closely related to my interest in vedic philosophy (also called Vedanta) – I normally scan through the other sections as well. Most of the times, the other books don’t get picked up as I almost always go in search of the specific genre. So when I saw the title ‘Vivekananda – A Born Leader’ the first response was to move on to the next display because I have seen and continue to see numerous ‘leadership’ works which try to enable the reader to emulate the personality.
However the name ‘Vivekananda’ on the cover made me pick it up on my second trot across the shelf. As I read up a few sections randomly, I found that there were a lot of snippets from Vivekananda’s communiqués and writings. Also my personal interest in the term paradox has been making me look up information on it to understand it further. When I found an entire chapter dedicated to this term, it added one more reason to consider picking the book up.
Interestingly on reading I found references to a number of modern management and leadership thinkers and their works such as Peter Drucker, Warren Bennis, Theodore Leavitt, Green Leaf, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, Max De Dree, John Maxwell, Tom Peters amongst many others.
Though the book has a rather large ( nearly 100 pages ) dedicated to leadership traits, I still found some fresh perspectives on reading them. There were also interesting traits such as ‘process focus’, ‘root cause emphasis’, ‘being impersonal’ identified as attributes. The chapter on measuring a leader’s accomplishment is rather short (just 8 pages) and superficial, but it still allows for reinforcement of performance measurement. A very important take away from the book personally is to develop the power of concentration towards positive and contributing goals. Adequate references are provided to Swamiji’s work on the subject, which I plan to take up in the near future.
For anyone interested even remotely in the area of leadership this book is a useful read. Though a large emphasis of the book is towards the concept of servant leadership – it definitely provides a larger perspective to the overall domain. The book has made me get more deeply interested and involved in the life and works of Swami Vivekananda, and has provided me with enough inspiration to rejuvenate myself and continue my journey. The references at the end of the book, is a good starting point for those interested in reading on business management and leadership. It contains references to number of classic works in this area.
It is also worthy to mention about the cover design and the book presentation, which makes it pleasing to the eye and comfortable on the hands. The book overall definitely serves to whet the appetite for a follow-on full course meal of Swami Vivekananda’s life and works.
In this 150th birth anniversary year of Swami Vivekananda, I hope many more people would get to read this book and draw inspiration!