Finding the balance between diplomacy and morality: review of the book Arthashastra

Finding the balance between diplomacy and morality: review of the book Arthashastra

We use the great guru Acharya Chanakya’s ideology and motivation in our training. We used to read his great thoughts in our native language translations. I wish Acharya Chanakya should have born in our country. Great respect for him, India was very lucky to have him. ~ a business diplomat

Whether you want to be a leader or be successful in your career, you do have to face the harsh realities of the world. Starting from dealing with groups, societal, office and hierarchical to international politics, Arthashastra is the best book that can teach you how to thrive in this ever-challenging world. The original version offers several insights from multiple perspectives and covers wide range of topics including economics, administration, leadership, responsibilities, and diplomacy.

As the saying goes ‘straight trees are cut first’, if one is not aware of how power dynamics work, the result will always go in the way of matsya nyaya (‘the law of fishes’) where the big always eats away the small. My important take away from the book is learning how even an incapacitated person can defend himself against his powerful adversaries and win on them just by understanding and shrewdly analyzing the situation.

Important note is that the book writings date back to more than two millenniums ago and was originally written by Acharya Chanakya in Sanskrit language. It has undergone several expansions, compositions, translations and redaction over the centuries. The present version available in the market is the translated version of the rediscovered manuscripts. The book by itself is very complex, exhaustive and meticulous. So you would be lost in details if you don’t have a context on authentic Indian history. To get better understanding and bigger picture, I would also suggest reading few other books such as Difficulty of being good (Gurcharan Das), The prophet (Kahlil Gibran), Krishna the man and his philosophy (Osho), David and Goliath (Malcolm Gladwell), Corporate Chanakya (Radhakrishnan Pillai) before going to Arthashastra as the book by itself is very thorough and extensive by its nature.

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