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The Kama Sutra of Business: Management Principles from Indian Classics





Book: 'The Kama Sutra of Business: Management Principles from Indian Classics'

Author: Nury Vittachi

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, 2007

ISBN: 0-470-82223-6

Leader Values


The Kama Sutra of Business could be summed up by the old saying that “there is nothing new under the sun”. Of course there are new things like cars and computers, but human beings have changed very little since the dawn of recorded history. Or to use the terminology of Hong Kong-based author and inspirational speaker Nury Vittachi, the piece of wetware called the human brain hasn’t been upgraded.


As a result, many neglected texts of ancient wisdom are surprisingly relevant today. Vittachi proves this point by taking us on a guided tour through three Indian classics – the Kama Sutra, Bhagavad Gita and Arthashastra. Along the way he shows that “modern” business management concepts like principle-based leadership, putting your people first, establishing win-win relationships, time management and supply chain management have all been around for thousands of years.


Even more surprisingly, ancient Indian cities had many innovations that sound very modern. They were well planned cities, with schools, swimming pools, trading rooms, a stone “credit card” system, and standardized weights and measures. Some of the political and philosophical thought leaders were very conservation minded – today they would be labelled as greenies. Others were business gurus who could out-strategize Sun Tzu and outwit Machiavelli. There is indeed nothing new under the sun.


In The Kama Sutra of Business, Vittachi examines these ancient Indian writings and the lives of key thought leaders to extract guidance and wisdom for 21st Century business men and women. You could argue that there is nothing new here – but that is exactly the point of the book. We don’t need new management theories; we need to rediscover the wisdom of the past.


Vittachi admits that the book title might give potential readers false expectations of what they will find inside. After all, the original Kama Sutra is famous – or infamous – for being the world’s best known and most controversial sex manual. But that’s because copies of the Kama Sutra in English only give about 20 percent of the text. The full book covers a host of other matters about interpersonal relationships, wealth generation, education, ethics, rights and duties. But above all, it focuses on creating balance in our lives.


With India starting to take a larger role on the world stage (again), this entertaining and readable book is a useful introduction to many interesting aspects of Indian history and philosophy. And as a bonus, it may even make you a little wiser.