Writer: Ravi Subramaniam
Publisher: Rupa and Co
If God Was A Banker is a story about two management graduates, who make their way up in the world of banking.
Verdict: Now the book was released in 2007, so its quite old, meaning most of you have already read it or have heard something about it. I just finished reading it a few days back and felt the need to write a review on it. So here is my view of the book.
Ravi, the author, is an IIM-Bangalore pass out and has worked in a retail bank himself, thus his knowledge inside the world of banking is reflected in the book and makes the best bits for a reader. The politics, the working strategies and styles, the backgrounds of employees, the smart tactics and well though of ideas and schemes that are implemented by banks gives a general insider’s view of a bank makes it really interesting and fun.
The story is about Sandeep and Swami, who start out at the same time at this International bank called the New York Bank. They are in constant competition, Sandeep is charismatic and a leader, who uses his wits and charm to get ahead in life whereas Swami is a typical middle Class, Tam Bram, who doesn’t drink or smoke, works hard and uses his intelligence and knowledge to get the desired results. They are guided by Aditya, who mentors them and helps them make their name in the world of banking. They form the central main characters, with Kalpana and Natasha having a major part as well.
It book starts as a flash back of Sandeep, who has an important meeting to attend in a few minutes and which may have severe consequences. Chapters shift from the current scenario in New York to the past and back simultaneously. The author has a wonderful way of ending a chapter right when one is curious to know more. Furthermore, he ends the flashback and goes back to the current scenario just to play with us, making the reader read one more chapter. Each chapter is short and simple and arouses ones interest in the story. The language is simple but the graphic scenes may not be liked by most (though they are nothing more than a way to make Sandeep’s character darker).
Some of the things in the book are too much at times. It portrays that in corporate world any girl could succeed only after sleeping with her boss or after marrying them. Every women in superior position is portrayed to be sleeping around (except one) and there are no real strong women characters who hold good positions in banking environments. South Indians are humble and gracious whereas North Indians are intelligent and great charmers but without moral ethics. This bias can be felt and maybe its the author’s surname selection that’s to blame. Also, someone based in Kolkatta could manage entire posting , promotion and appraisals of a MNC bank based in New York, which seems highly unlikely and sometimes questionable. It loses its hold on realities of a normal banking environment. Thus, the book gets placed in fiction and one should be sure not to believe this to be the actual work environment in any office, let alone the banks.
To sum it up, it’s a good read and will be liked by most, especially bankers and IIM graduates.
Writer: Ravi Subramaniam