THE GROWTH QUOTIENT opens with ten questions, including: “Do you lead a team or wish to lead a team?” “Do you want to accelerate your career and be more in less time?” “Do you want to be more productive and save two or more hours per day?” These are the things Suram, as the author calls himself, purports to teach through a series of lectures, exercises, and thought experiments, all informed by a lively spiritual background. It’s Jim Collins meets Bhagavad Gita.
Suram (aka Subbarao Mukkavilli) writes in straightforward prose that is easy to follow. And he is an encyclopedia of management trends, name-dropping the Johari window, the Dunning-Kruger effect, the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, Richard Feynman, VUCA (a U.S. Army acronym), Jeff Bezos, Alfred Nobel, and more. Yet he doesn’t flesh out these examples, as if he thinks the mention of them is enough. For an MBA grad, maybe so. For the average reader, likely not. This lack of detail is of a piece with the book’s chief weakness: it doesn’t have a clear purpose. The title, GROWTH QUOTIENT, implies that it is a self-help book, intended to inspire people to maximize their potential, whatever that potential is. The preface backs this up with its questions about time management and efficiency. Yet the introduction goes on at length about leadership, implying that the goal of the book is to make leaders out of its readers. Later, Suram claims that the “mindsight” of an average corporate worker “will be around 20/800.” He doesn’t explain the term or how he came up with that number, and when he says, “This book is all about improving your mindsight,” which seems a different goal from maximizing potential or becoming a leader, many readers will be rightly confused.
Some people don’t want to be leaders. They want to go to work, do their jobs, and live their real lives outside the workplace. Is this book for them? Can the growth quotient technique be applied to, say, stamp collecting? Gardening? Parenting? Suram doesn’t say. He also seems preoccupied with COVID-19, bringing it up throughout the book. The virus has, of course, changed a lot of things, but the book doesn’t explicitly tie its message to those challenges. This is a shame, as managing during this pandemic is a crucial topic that scholars are scrambling to study. With a tighter focus, Suram’s book could make a contribution to that genre.
THE GROWTH QUOTIENT challenges readers to make the most of opportunities for success, and though clearly and passionately written, it muddles its message with a lack of clear purpose.
~Anthony Aycock for IndieReader