Book Review: Business Doctors: Management Consulting Gone Wild by Sameer Kamat
When I first read the title of the book, Business Doctors, I never thought I would read the book. I mean it sounds so technical. I thought it would a book talking about business management or something equally boring. But its tagline; Management Consulting Gone Wild did make me curious. So after reading the synopsis, I decided this book was worth a try. And I’m happier for that. This book took me on one hell of a ride . The story was strong, the characters were noteworthy and the very fact that the author used the Underworld setting with mobs and mafia, makes is damn good and enjoyable.
I stopped reading books by Indian authors, because, let’s be frank, it’s pretty much the same fricking thing again and again and again. The setting is either in IIT/IIM or some place such place, the basic story is pretty much the same. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, parents oppose and the couple tries to convince their parents that true love knows no boundaries. It’s all about the masala(spice) , like a Bollywood movie. I’m happy to say that Sameer Kamat strays from the obvious. The setting is different, the characters are different and story is different too.
Stephen Woody, head of Woody’s Family Business (WFB), is on the way to his doom. His business is sinking and there is nothing much he is able to do. Coming from a family of mobsters, Woody inherits his position as the head of WFB, even though he doesn’t have the brains to run the business. His business is run by his minions and all he gets is the daily updates. He is all brawn and no brains.
“But in sheer animal ferocity Woody beat them all and that’s why they respected him. Not because he had brains-he had never shown any signs of better brainpower than any of them. Not because he held the reins of the business. But because he was a brutal animal and they feared crossing him.”
Woody is the perfect example of the saying. “Jack of all trades, king of none”. He is involved in drugs, prostitution, gambling, porn industry and what not. He was losing all his money to his competitor and he needed a way to stay afloat. Enter Michael Schneider. Michael is a business consultant, but he is a victim of the economy too. He too is steadily losing business and he needs every job he can get to keep his head above water. Woody is an unconventional client, and though Michael initially doesn’t want to work for Woody, he later agrees.
This book is humorous, it’s serious, it’s well fleshed out with great characters. I loved the away how Angie, Woody’s wife explained the concept of “business doctors”.
“What do you do when you have a toothache?”, she queried.
“What?” Angie’s question seemed totally disconnected from the serious topic that they had initiated.
…”Well, I go to a dentist.”
“And what do you do when one of your key men get held up in jail?”
“I get my lawyer to bail him out.” Woody shrugged.
…”All I’m saying is, when you have a problem that you don’t fully understand, you approach an expert for help, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do. So?”
… “So if I’m facing problems in my business now, do you mean to say there are, er, business doctors who can help?”
“Yeas, there are. They are called management consultants. Sounds a little more sophisticated than business doctor”
One other particular line I liked was when one of Woody’s minions, Jacob, tells him about the situation with their pornography business. It is ripe with innuendos and very smartly done.
“The industry has gone flaccid too boss. It needs some intense simulation to stroke it back to like. Stiff competition has been erecting hurdles in our path. Our client’s aren’t coming…”
I loved the detailing that went into the book, from the prison break, to the running of the mafia. Everything. And some of the twists the author threw at us, especially the role played by Angie and the involvement of Stevie McMohan took the book to a different tangent altogether. It just confirmed my theory as to how Angie is much more than she looks. She is a master manipulator, pulling all the strings with the expertise of a seasoned puppet-master with the rest of them being the puppets. From the very first she was pulling the string. With an intricate plot like this one, Sameer Kamat sure is a winner.
As good as the book was, there were also a few problems I found. For one there were quite a few typos in the book. Usually a bit of typos here and there is not a big deal, but for some reason it stood out here(probably because I was also beta-reading another book and was paying a lot of attention to it). I also thought that the first half of the book was a bit technical and could have been written in a more layman terms. Also I found the points of view jumping from one person to another and got confused. This changed after the first couple of chapters, but every time I left the book for a couple of hours and came back to it, I had no idea who was talking.
The characters were expatiated and I especially like the intricacies of Angie’s character the best. Woody was dumb at best and I did not know if I should be irritated with him or find him endearing. That said, the book is arresting, with crazy situations and humorous writing. A definite recommend.