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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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Politics

Romney attacks Trump, saying he causes dismay around the world

Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate and incoming U.S. senator from Utah, sharply criticized President Donald Trump and recommended the U.S. leader had caused dismay around the world.

In a Washington Post essay distributed on Tuesday evening, Romney criticized a number of Trump’s activities in December.

“The appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a ‘sucker’ in world affairs all defined his presidency down,” he wrote.

He added that “Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Romney suggested that “on balance, (Trump’s) conduct over the past two years … is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”

Romney is staking out an independent position two days before he takes office on Thursday. It is unclear whether Trump will face a serious challenge in 2020 to securing the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

Trump last February endorsed Romney’s run for a Senate seat in Utah.

Amid the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney excoriated Trump as a “fraud” who was “playing the American public for suckers.” Trump responded that Romney had “choked like a dog” in his unsuccessful 2012 campaign against Democratic President Barack Obama.

Despite Romney’s earlier criticism, after Trump won the presidency in November 2016, he briefly considered tapping Romney as secretary of state.

In his essay on Tuesday, Romney said he “will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”

Romney has strongly defended press freedom and challenged Trump’s repeated attacks on some news outlets as an “enemy of the people.”

“The media is essential to our Republic, to our freedom, to the cause of freedom abroad, and to our national security. It is very much our friend,” Romney wrote in an essay in November.