Dec 1, 2007

Review: Joker in the Pack

Just finished reading the book by Pandu and his friend. If you've studied at one of the B-schools where 24 hours in a day just didn't seem like enough, the book is a great route to re-visit those days and refresh enjoyable memories. And if you are considering going to an IIM or such-like for an MBA, or generally curious about what goes on there, the book paints a remarkably accurate picture.

It is difficult for me to really evaluate this as a novel, because I knew most of the characters and the story. So it felt more like a session with friends, reminiscing about the good old days over a couple of beers or coffee, than reading a book where a story gradually unfolds with unexpected twists and turns. But I'm sure people will enjoy it - because it has a smooth and engaging narrative that will not let you put it down. Also, the candor with which some of tougher realities have been described is admirable.

An honest review must also include criticism where it's due. I felt the narrative was too focused and presented a slightly narrowed view. Sure, life - in general, and particularly at an IIM - is tough. And we all worked harder to achieve ambitious goals there, than we've done elsewhere. But there were also times spent at Kebab shops, getting drunk at insti parties, playning comp games, or generally chilling with friends with Fauji's 'country' butter chicken and Romanov - which are some of the more pleasant memories, which we all will look back at and smile when our hair turns grey. If some of these had been included in the book, it would painted a more complete picture and been less intimidating to future Jokers in the pack. Perhaps they chose not to include such stuff for better commercial/creative reasons than I know, but that's my opinion.

Overall, it is a great effort, and I would recommend it to everyone who ever has any thoughts related to an MBA.

Sidenote to people who were on campus with Pandu - MUST read this. Chances are you'll find people you know in the book, and it feels nice!

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