Books on leadership and self fulfilment come in the dozens these days. Especially after the financial crisis there is a lot of advice being provided to CEOs as to how they should run their business. Prakash Iyer, in his most recent book, The Secret of Leadership, has the reader guessing as to what one means by leadership. It is more in the nature of the sublime search for the leadership inside you and how one should react to situations when leading your professional life. It is a sort of self-help book which tells us how we should look at life and carve a niche for ourselves. The word “leader” is hence used in a broader sense and there is a hard attempt to extrapolate all the parables and anecdotes to a quality of a leader defined this way. The stories of Julio Iglesias or the making of KFC are well known today as to how one conquered adversity and flipped the coin towards the success zones. Iyer would call that as being a part of the broad class of leadership.
The book is divided into four parts and has several little stories that last for three-four pages. It starts with “the leader within” and moves over to the “leader’s mindset” and traverses the “leader’s way” before the finale on “leading teams”. Iyer gets endorsements from the likes of Madhukar Kamath, Rahul Dravid and Nitin Paranjpe, which is significant. Let us see some of the lessons that Iyer has got to give the reader in his framework.
We need to run our own race and should not worry about the kind of work we get to do as everything is important. The lessons we learn early in life are important and to illustrate this Iyer gives the example of the mother giraffe which keeps kicking her child to be prepared to face reality, which is escaping from the predatory animals. To discover the inner leader in ourselves we need to have what the acronym PHD signifies: passion, hunger and discipline. An interesting analogy drawn for explaining tackling adversity is the “tea