Thursday, October 29, 2009

Being Professional - A book review

I read this book - The Professional - by Subroto Bagchi.  This is not like one of the Who moved my Cheese.. kind of books.  Not as well written in my opinion, but makes up for it, in that it has a lot to offer for someone who hopes to be a good professional.

He does not discriminate between jobs. This is not just for the managerial cadre.  (I have never understood the term 'professional courses' in our country - does that mean, all those who are not engineers, doctors, lawyers are not professionals? ) .  All of us, whatever our jobs may be, according to the author, are professionals - and ultimately he says being a professional is a matter of personal choice, and the values we opt to live by.

Integrity is important, and he laments that this  quality is very poorly understood.  Even little things like misusing office stationery, long phone calls are all that one should consciously not be doing.  He also feels that one has to look beyond money, while base comforts are necessary, apart from that, the quest for material success erodes self worth.  As you advance in  your profession, he adds one should keep touch with the basics even as you start delegating to others, otherwise he warns, decay sets in.

Towards the end he lists out what being unprofessional is - missing deadlines, not respecting privacy of information, passing on the blame, mindless job hopping ....among others.

He writes, the day you feel empty, shift attention from yourself to others - go spend time time with those who have just joined the organisation, help an intern with his work, take on pro-bono work with an industry association - and - see how the pitcher of emptiness begins to fill again.

There is a nice bit of advice for the mid-career professional, for those who want to make a difference to society. Do small things on a sustained basis he says, do things for your profession; do not worry about changing the world.

Like I said, this may not be the best book, even though he has quoted a few incidents to illustrate various aspects, some of which I thought were unnecessary, it can even drag at parts, but this is writing that are not just words meant to impress.  It is a sincere narration of what he truly believes are values one should possess to be a good professional. A book that is easy to relate to.


  1. I am reading his "High Performance Entrepreneur" and liking it. Maybe, I'll buy this next.

  2. Nice one. Loved reading it. One of the unprofessional thing I have seen is some manager's behavior when reviwing performance with the employees.

  3. Oh nice one. Book reviews from you - absolutely welcome. Please keep them coming.

  4. From your review, the values that the author has discussed in this book, seem to be useful for life in general as well as professional life.

    Nice review- makes us want to read the book!

  5. SG - I hear quite a bit about the type of managers you talk about. And youngsters these days get so badly affected by such reviews.
    Deepak, Manju - thanks. You should read the book. As you mentioned these values hold good for life in general. Author says, when you are professional at work, some of the values will obviously better your personal life too.

  6. The review is candid and even blunt.But it leaves the impression that the book is one to be read.Thanks.This is the first visit.I am impressed

  7. Dear Radha,
    Good evening!first time here.reading is one of my hobbies.after reading the review,i feel like buying this book.
    there is always scope for improvement in personal n professional life.we need values n guidelines.
    the author has done a great job.and you have done your share too.:)
    wishing you a wonderful weekend,

  8. Parthasarathi, Anupama - thank you.

  9. You have reviewed the book elaborately, without giving out much too. Nice. At present Indu Sundaresan's book is waiting for me to read. Let me try to get this book too to read later.

  10. Not in to these great books unfortunately, I must try one of them.

  11. Some of the things he said make much sense. While they may be things we might already have an idea of, it helps to have them brought into focus.

    I think professional has changed in meaning from years ago when people took it to mean a doctor, an engineer and the like.

  12. It sounds like a very interesting book I go look or its in our store


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