J Prakash - My book is for the Millennials
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J Prakash sums up his book ‘IT Killed Capitalism‘ in a perfect sentence – “My book is unique, as it is by a 73 year old capitalist.” Let’s find out why a Septugenarian capitalist would write a book for the Millennial generation and their future.
On being a hardcore pedrigreed capitalist
J Prakash belongs to a generation we respect – he calls himself a ‘pre-millennial.’ It was interesting to know about his academics and work before he decided to write this book. We discussed about two sides of his personality – the super successful professional and a keen observer of humanity.
“Well, the book was never my intent. To understand how I ended up writing this book, needs an understanding about me. I am an Engineer from the prestigious College of Engineering, Guindy from Madras University. I am an MBA from another prestigious institution – Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Product of a high pedigree upbringing. This self-boasting is critical to understand the metamorphosis of me evolving to be an author. I was a hardcore capitalist. Good at marketing, financial and fund-raising skills. Beating the competition was my Mantra. Super financial deal making was my craft. Profit was my measure of excellence.”
“There was also another side to my personality. I am an avid observer. My learnings are through observations. I am a poor reader. Human-ness is important to me. Assuaging human feelings is my priority. I am from an era where the emphasis was on humane and fair management. Systems and processes were considered as paramount.”
How did the seeds of idea for the book germinate?
“When I started to train professionals on a topic, which I believe was my speciality, enterprise architecture, it came as a shock to me when I noticed that management was asking `What is Enterprise Architecture?’ I assumed that ignorance on the part of corporate management was the cause for this. When I realised that in fact `What is Management?’ is the order of the day, I got to dig deep to understand the reasons for such transformations. I saw that management had become incidental. That again made me appreciate, among other truths, the flaw in my pedigree of understandings about humans, about management, about governance and governments, about economics, etc. When I was contemplating about the remedies, I saw that capitalism had become a past tense already. I saw the reasons for it. Anxiety took over. I started to worry about the future of humanity.”
J Prakash realised that he was different from the new generation of people called Millennials. This realisation changed his thoughts and ideas about the world and economy as well.
“I observed that millennials are the exact opposite of pre-millennials. I could make a prognosis as to where they are heading. That lead to a different worry for me. I could see that we, pre-millennials, particularly those above 50 years of age, with our thoughts and behaviours completely irrelevant to them, are controlling the world, its economic and political behaviours. I got worried about the mess we are indulging in. I felt the urgent need for us to step aside. Hence, I thought, I must compile my thoughts and present them to the world. The idea of the book got germinated.”
‘IT Killed Capitalism’ – Key thoughts about the book
“My book is unique as it is by a 73 year old capitalist. My realisation of the greed and unfair practices of my generation and our predecessors. In the book, I confess apologetically and I emphasise the need to handover to the millennials. I profess that our experiences are completely useless for this generation. This world is nothing of what my generation had lived in.
As the book is addressed to the entire population, the language and communication became a vital consideration. It had to be simple, devoid of jargons and still it had to explain the subject which is full of jargons. One could not avoid jargons completely. I had to explain the jargons. Again, the book is a collection of my evolving thoughts over a lengthy period of time, for I felt that that was the only way to establish the genuineness of my thoughts, I had always had to establish the context for each article. Being in India, several contexts were taken from the happenings in India. That does not mean the points made are relevant only for India. They are relevant for the entire population of the world.”
‘My friends rejected many of my views, but nudged me to continue writing’
“A writer, like artists, always suffers creeping self-doubts about the validity of observations.” This is one of the best things we have heard recently from a writer. It speaks volumes about the writer’s personality and his keenness to express his thoughts via writing. J Prakash mentioned a few more interesting points about his writing process.
“I had shared my articles with a number of people from all generations and demographics. Consistently, my thoughts used to be rejected as nonsense, radical and so on by the `Irrelevants’ of my generation and used to be hailed as truth, amazing insight, excellent observations and so on by the `Relevants’, the millennials. I knew I was proceeding in the right direction.
I must also thank my generous friends like N Kumar, though they consistently rejected many of my views, used to keep nudging me to continue writing. Kumar used to keep thanking me many times that I made him think.
As I mentioned earlier, I am an avid observer. This ensured that I never got influenced by the thoughts of others. I coursed my path. Even though I am not a reader, thanks to internet, I had access to so much of information which I used them to confirm the validity of my observations. I gave more importance to the behaviours. Data are important, beyond a point they do not convey much. They are subject to manipulations and misinterpretations. Behaviours reflect the embedded thoughts and needs and wants.”
‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand is my favourite book of a lifetime
“Ayn Rand is my inspiration. My favourite book of a lifetime is `The Fountainhead’ and the idea of `Self-Concept’ is the core theme of that book. I used to like Arthur Hailey and Michael Crichton for their authentic research and details. Tamil writer Sujatha was one such author I admired.”
‘Write in a Simple Language’
This is our favourite part from authors – tips and tricks of writing, especially non-fiction books. Here are a few from J Prakash.
“I always believe that the intent of writing is to communicate. Therefore, it should be written in simple language. Pompous language, apart from being entertaining, never serves the purpose of communicating.”
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