Two Superb Reads

Over the last month, caught up with two outstanding books.

A Compass to Fulfillment: Passion and Spirituality in Life and Business is authored byKazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera, who draws upon his life’s work of seeing spirituality in his day to day job. The whole theme of the book is giving 100% to one’ vocation and thereby finding fulfillment in it. Some quotes:

For most of us, work accounts for the majority of our lives. If we can’t find fulfillment in our work, no matter how hard we try to find joy elsewhere, we will always feel that something is missing. Working diligently does much more than fulfill us. It also builds and refines our character and helps us hone our philosophy for living. In the practice of Zen Buddhism, itinerant priests carry out all the monastery’s daily chores, from preparing the meals to sweeping the yard. For the priests, these tasks are another form of practicing meditation: there is essentially no difference between devoting oneself to the daily chores of life and achieving a state of spiritual oneness by sitting in meditation. According to Buddhism, daily chores are a spiritual practice and working diligently is road that leads to enlightenment.

The second book that I have read is Gopalkrishnan’s “When the Penny Drops“, I love Gopalkrishnan’s style of writing and his way of drawing out anecdotes his from rich corporate experience. If there is one author that I would like to meet and converse with, it is undoubtedly Gopalkrishnan. His writings show the level of self awareness that is not easily found in other leadership books.  I had read Gopalkrishnan’s other book – The Case of Bonsai Manager and I rate it as one of my favourite leadership and management books. The Penny, outdoes that.


GK sets the tone by narrating a very beautiful story of a poet called Avvaiyar and the message of awareness. “What we know is but a fistful; what we do not know is the entire universe.” Everyone ‘knows’ this, but few are ‘aware’ of this. Awareness increases the desire to know.

GK draws this book based on a study conducted by the Tata Management Training Center (TMTC) in coorperation with Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), to find out answers to the CCL’s two questions on leadership development:

  • What kind of lessons do leaders in India usually learn?
  • How do they learn these lessons?

The findings were classified into, what the researchers called, the three worlds and the book is divided into these three findings.

  1. The first one is an inner world. It is about lessons relating to the person, including strengths and weaknesses.
  2. The second world is the world of people, this includes communicating with those around you and also engaging with others without hierarchy and authority
  3. The third world is the the world of getting things done, GK uses a very beautiful metaphor of architectural and engineering dimensions to bring home the point of leadership as a humane, affectionate, and inspiring vocation using JRD as an example.

Drop your plans for this Sunday and head over to the nearest bookshop and invest some time reading this book. I am sure it will do a world of good for your career.

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