Book Reviews: Does Good Karma Make Good Business Reading?

ChaosMiglani derived all sorts of insights from his numerous trips to India over the past 20 years. But most of them sound like the things you read on car decals: insipid bromides and assertions of dubious validity. “Waiting for perfection” will get you nowhere, he declares. Well, it certainly seems to have worked for Michelangelo and Mozart. Later, he asserts: “If we only stop and listen to our own inner voice, we can find all the answers we seek and move forward in the direction we really want to go in life.” Really? You mean the way Josef Stalin listened to his inner voice? Or Attila the Hun? Or Bernie Madoff? That inner voice?

“The fact is, embracing the chaos might work in India, where chaos seems to be a national pastime. But it will probably not work here.”

The fact is, embracing the chaos might work in India, where chaos seems to be a national pastime. But it will probably not work here. Once you start embracing the chaos, you run into serious sanitation problems. This is what the French call “banana tourism,” or slumming. It would be a bad idea if CEOs or physicists or air traffic controllers or prison wardens or stockbrokers or cardiologists started embracing the chaos.

As the old saying goes, “Never trust an airplane pilot who embraces the chaos.”

Miglani seems to believe that he has stumbled onto something positively earth-shattering during his many trips to India. But in fact, everything he has to say can be summed up in a few famous song titles: “Don’t Worry. Be Happy,” “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” “Keep Your Sunny Side Up” and don’t forget that fabulous angst-easing lyric: “Take it easy. Take it easy. Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy.”

Embrace the Chaos: How India Taught Me to Stop Over-Thinking and Start Living, by Bob Miglani (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, $16.95, 168 pp.)