Saturday, April 9, 2011

Your Brain and Business by Srinivasan S. Pillay

A case of Pseudoscience!

This book is supposedly meant for coaches of business leaders. Explaining the brain functions and structure, Mr.Pillay attempts to show how leaders can perform better in managing their organizations and getting the best out of their employees. The book is organized into four sections - (a) the Introduction covering the broad principles of how brain science applies to coaching and communicating (b) Relationship section explaining how positive psychology helps in coaching (c) Intervention section on how to effectively convert ideas into actions (d) the Conclusion, where the different brain regions and how the interventions affect them, are explained.

Each chapter lists a number of concepts, their application in business contexts and their connection to 'brain science' which according to the author is a division of neuroscience. Considerable technical jargon is used for explaining the various parts of the brain and how it relates to business activities. Most of it are quite unnecessary, repetitive and irrelevant. Over 35 to 60 references are provided for each chapter making the whole effort look a very impressive and scientific endeavor. However the book drifts from science to pseudoscience by morphing raw scientific facts and hypothesis into seemingly sophisticated tools for solving business management problems without using the rigor needed for good science. Many of the issues raised are real but simple psychology would be sufficient to provide answers to them. Recent discoveries like mirror neuron systems are twisted out of context to make them look very relevant for business leaders. Innovation, Creativity etc are very much dependent on the brain and hence understanding how the brain functions is definitely useful, but for that I would suggest much better books like 'The Tell-tale Brain' by V.S Ramachandran or 'In Search of Memory' by Eric Kandel.

' Your Brain and Business' does not have a single real life case study and it is very difficult to believe that the author has successfully used this approach in enhancing the functioning of business organizations. I would not recommend this book to any business leader or coach.

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