Saturday, August 2, 2014

Management Consulting Gets a Makeover



This review by Trisha Ray was commissioned by Sameer Kamat who was kind enough to wait for months and game enough to allow this scathing review to be published.


In a list of things that you would feasibly call ‘wild’, management consulting would rank pretty low, possible after pottery classes. With this prejudice in mind, I was a bit skeptical as I dove into Sameer Kamat’s thriller, Business Doctors: Management Consulting Gone Wild. The premise was intriguing enough. Woody’s Family Business is down in the docks, bleeding money and set to collapse in on itself, when the boss’s wife, Angie suggests an unusual remedy. Enter Michael Schneider, blue-eyed, Armani-clad, cool-headed management consulting wiz. The twist of course is that WFB is a mafia ring- with their fingers in a variety of pies ranging from pornography, to gambling, to marijuana. Schneider faces the unusual challenge of explaining to hard-headed gangsters how to run their business, while trying his best to dodge the mafia boss’ wife’s advances. WFB is something of an institution in the underworld, and even as they crumble, they send shivers down the competition’s spine. The best example of their ruthlessness would be the fact that their initiation ceremony includes a fight till death (or near death), which Schneider suddenly finds himself bang in the middle of. Reluctant at first, he discovers his flair for hatching nefarious schemes- including a series of outrageous jailbreaks, and a mafia boot camp
 
So far so good, but I missed out a key plot point here. The mafia boss’ name is Stephen Woody aka Woody aka Let’s Bring On the Penis Jokes. So many penis jokes, the most churlish of which is the name of the WFB casino…wait for it…Woody’s Pecker *cue adolescent giggles*. All this is at odds with the menacing figure that Woody is supposed to be- a rough, gruff ball of violence packed in a well-tailored suit. Humor is clearly not a strong point, most of which falls into a category I can only describe as dad jokes. The gangsters sometimes came across as Hindi movie clichés.



But I wouldn’t dismiss the book completely. It has its moments. The author clearly has a lot to share, and his words flow effortlessly on the page. Perhaps the one root problem I can identify is the limitation of a one-off novel format. Some scenes were unnecessarily stretched, and the parts that were interesting were rushed. Many of the relationships between characters were hastily summarized where they could’ve been expanded: the dynamics between Schneider and his colleague, Martin, for instance and even the curious partnership of Woody and his wife Angie (and Angie’s with others). The book also wasted a lot of space on building up the premise and then rushed through the ending in the last 3-4 chapters.

Not quite a diamond in the rough, but rather coal that’s begging to become a diamond, Business Doctors is a good read. I didn’t once feel like stopping, but was left hanging, wondering if it all just led up to this (which was a great life lesson, so I have that to be thankful for).


I give a 3 out of 5 rating to Business Doctors

 Title: Business Doctors  
 
Author: Sameer Kamat Sameer is the founder of MBA Crystal Ball, Careerizma and Booksoarus.
Publisher: Booksoarus 2014  


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23 comments:

  1. Hmpf! Consulting is exciting. It lets you review the business with a disapproving look, criticise it's policies and much more, while the management stutters and answers defensively. Then you give ideas on how to do things.

    Dick jokes? Really? Railway platform joke book's influence much?
    You have been kind in the review but doesn't sound like a good read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll take your word for it.
      Yep, dick jokes. But like I said, I wouldn't dismiss this book completely. In any case, everyone has their own views and inclinations when it comes to what qualifies as a good read :)

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Seems like the author of the book has written it in a hurry to give it an impression of a fast paced thriller, but this apparently has turned self defeating and the readers too might hurry past as well.

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish you hadn't deleted your previous comment. It made Trisha sit up and add more flesh to the review.

      Delete
    2. Agreed with the previous comment. Your earlier comment was a much-needed input :)
      The pace was choppy and uneven. 75% of it could have been condensed.

      Delete
  4. As Anshul says it's fast, the last I read was 31 and it was fast paced but a good read. A good post Purba.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Interesting... this seems to be another way of looking at the book :) I read the book and while there were a few grey areas here and there, I could connect with the humour and the execution of the Consulting angle esp. the processes of Consulting which many of who have been there have used, it was amusing to see that being played in this scenario.

    Given the area the book caters to, it might appeal more to the Corporate reader.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The biggest problem with reviewing a text is of course that the experience is always subjective :) It wasn't a bad read, but I couldn't quite connect with the characters. I suppose it would be more exciting for someone more familiar with that world.

      Delete
  6. I was a bit more generous with the rating of this one as I found the occasional winks of humour quite interesting :-) ..
    nice review here Purba... :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't reviewed the book. Trisha Ray has.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. I suppose it is, but then I'm biased :P

      Delete
  8. Ouch ! That is a scathing but completely honest review ! Loved it Trisha !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I was a bit reluctant about posting it, but the author was incredibly sporting and nice about it :)

      Delete
  9. hmmm I read a couple of reviews earlier on this one and they were glowing but I like this one as it seems to be written as it has been READ .. which is how it should be .. unbiased review ..

    I will say the same thing i wrote I would love to have a consulting firm like that one for sure .. :)

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it's getting good ratings on Goodreads, but like I've said, not everyone sees something the same way :P
      The story IS different, but I would never want to work in close quarters with a mafia ring o_O

      Delete
  10. Good review, Trisha! Wish I had time for indulgence in reading books:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's a habit to be built, but it's also very easy to lose when you have work and studies :/

      Delete
  11. Have you heard this before?
    Consultant is the person who looks at your watch and tells you the time and then gets paid for it

    ReplyDelete

Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

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