Sunday, April 25, 2004

Short takes
The law in simple words
Randeep Wadehra

Winning Legal Wars
by Ranjeev C Dubey. Macmillan, Delhi. Pages 393. Rs 430.

Winning Legal WarsONE often gets confused while listening to jargon, any jargon. More so, legalese is so confusing that one is convinced that one has to be supremely intelligent to decipher, let alone gainfully use, the technical terms related to our court proceedings and other aspects of law. Therefore, in the commercial world a manager may feel daunted by the "unique vocabulary, the unusual syntax, the very way in which lawyers use words and sentences." So, is it impossible to take crucial decisions for one not fully conversant with the complex subtleties of law?

While knowledge of law is advisable, one need not be an expert in it. All one requires is a handbook that would simplify the understanding of technicalities, especially when deciding on law, litigation and legal strategy. Dubey’s tome does this quite thoroughly and effectively. This book is designed by the author to enable business executives to decide upon corporate strategies, contractual relationships and litigation related issues.

The book is certainly a trailblazer as far as demystification of commerce related legalese is concerned.


A Matter of Honour
by Philip Mason. Natraj, Dehra Dun. Pages 580. Rs 350.

A Matter of Honour Trust is the bedrock of all relationships. This is all the more true of armed forces where the entire organisational superstructure is based on critical human interdependence. Right from the jawans fighting on the ground to the Generals directing from the headquarters, trust remains vital, even when all sorts of laws, rules and regulations are in place for enforcing discipline. This trust takes various forms in the Indian Army, viz., loyalty to comrades, fidelity to an oath and unflinching courage.

These traits existed in various armies in the subcontinent even before the British arrived. However, the latter institutionalised them through convention and codification. Mason rightly says, "`85there was born a most unusual relationship between British officers and Indian men. Their confidence in each other conquered an empire; they established in India a centre of power that extended its influence far over Asia and into the Mediterranean."

When this confidence broke down a century later, it resulted in what the British refer to as the Sepoy Mutiny and we as the First War of Independence. However, it is true that Indian soldiers were in the vanguard of that rising. Yet, the British were able to regain their loyalty, building in the process one of the most enduringly magnificent military machines in the world.

This book is more than a mere history of Indian Army, its officers and men. It, in fact, analyses the various factors that go into the building of mutual confidence among various strata of the armed forces. An absorbing read.


Selling Skills
by Dr. B.L. Maheshwari. Ruchi Interface, Mumbai. Pages 101. Rs 100.

Selling Skills The dawn of market economy has changed the way products are sold in India. During our pseudo-socialist days sellers could get away with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude while palming off shoddily produced merchandise to customers. This is no longer so. With the opening up of the economy to competition there is now a wide range of choice for consumers. Now, salesmanship has become a vital function of all commercial activities. Therefore, there are specialised departments in every organisation worth its salt. Salesmen have graduated from the status of merely being errand boys of sahibs-in-cabins to high-profile breadwinners for the commercial set-up.

This slim volume begins with the history of selling while defining the term and its scope. Chapters like Career in sales, Develop your image, Six stages of sales, Territory management etc can be of interest to the readers.


Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It
by Michael Grose. Unistar, Chandigarh. Pages 200. Rs 150.

Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It It is often said that second sons of British aristocracy built the British Empire. As only the eldest son could inherit the family’s assets, the younger siblings were left with no choice but to either become adventurers, mercenaries or military men. Even though all siblings share a common gene pool, domestic and socio-economic environment and upbringing etc, their worldview could be strikingly divergent. In other words, the sequence of birth matters in the shaping of one’s destiny. This book takes the argument further.

Grose quotes from Frank Sulloway’s research work Born to Rebel published in 1996 to underscore the proposition that different birth positions impart specific characteristics to individuals. Thus:

* First borns are more conforming, traditional and more likely to identify with their parents.

* First borns are more achievement oriented, organised and responsible than later-borns.

* Later-borns are more gregarious, cooperative and easy-going.

* First-borns are more jealous, neurotic, intense, upset by defeat and more prone to stress.

* First-borns are more assertive and extroverted than later-borns.

One may or may not agree with the well-crafted arguments advanced by Grose, but one would like to know why and how the last-borns want to change the world. And, for that, you’ll have to read this enjoyable book.