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November 1, 2011

Book Review - 53 : The Incredible Banker


Publisher: Rupa Publications
Author: Ravi Subramanian

The Incredible Banker is a story set in ‘Greater Boston Global Bank’ (GB2), an American Bank struggling to grow in India. It’s business is usual – until one day the CEO for the bank, Ronald McCain is quickly summoned out of his morning meeting to the RBI headquarters to meet the Governor. On his arrival, the Governor reprimanded Ronald McCain catching him totally off guard. How could something as catastrophic transpire in an organization considered to be the ultimate in banking? Ronald has no answers and numerous questions to answer.

On an another plot point, when the CBI lands up at Deepak Sarups doors trailing the scent of a the same scandal, Ronald decides to distance the bank leaving Deepak, a senior executive, to fight his own battles. Will Karan, Deepak's one time adversary and now a Journo, bail him out? Will Savitha, his girlfriend, stand by him? And will his family; the CBI and more importantly the country believe what he says? With the media and CBI in hot pursuit, Ronald can't help but wonder what his fate has in store for him an intriguing tale of love, politics, unbridled aggression and money laundering.

The story in itself is intrigue and complex, and with a brisk pace it provides a worthy weekend reading. The attention to detail about the banking operations is commendable and the author brings in interesting plot points ranging from Naxalities of Chattisgarh to the top management predicament about retail operations of the bank in Singapore. There are characters introduced in every 20-30 pages which introduces to an array of diverse personalities from the hierarchy of retail banking. I particularly liked the character of the CEO, Ronald who is probably etched with utmost sincerity and provides bouts of anxiety, success and anguish throughout the book. Some of the characters are under-developed (For instance the wife of a corporate head in the bank totally unaware of an extra-marital affair of his husband ); but still things move at such a hefty pace, you won't probably notice these things. The language is simple and even though banking jargon are used abundantly, you won't feel like suffocated in a boring corporate strategy meeting.

The only glitch i found in the book was the length, which could have been shorter by around 40 odd pages. There are long portions of back stabbing and corporate politics, reoccurring so many times in the book that it takes sucks away from the fun you are having while reading the main story. Ultimately, the author paints all the characters in broad strokes with grey shades, giving readers very little chance to feel sympathetic towards any of the them. No doubt, there are ample incidents of served imaginings telling us how cut-throat the competition is in banks where you are as good as the last target you have achieved. But how much of these corrupt measures you can take in one single book? It goes overboard while portraying the office politics and at times, stalls momentum of an other otherwise brisk narrative.

I am going with 3/5 for Ravi Subramanian's 'The Incredible Banker'. I quite disliked the author's only non-fiction attempt, 'I bought the Monk's Ferrari'. In an email conversation, he was candid enough to admit that he want to stick to fiction genre for a while even when his only non-fiction book had sold 60k+ copies. I believe every author should try different, but ultimately find his forte. Ravi, with his latest attempt takes a right step in that direction. For all other readers out there, go ahead and get engrossed in the world of banking and politics therein.

1 comment:

Rahul Sharma said...



Your book incredible Banker is truly awesome , ‘ WOW’ is the word to say, please find my review on the same :
The book starts describing each city in India, with simple wordings all through.
The word ‘ googly ‘ really inspiring ‘ in thing’ in today’s corporate world.
My Experience:
Beyond a point in time I could not move further as it was so realistic and made me feel I was typically seated amidst MNC atmosphere although I was at home with my lappy.
The book then goes on to describe how not only leaders, but people in general rely on their connections with other people for emotional stability, the fact that other people can change our very physiology and therefore our emotions, and how people, can inevitably “catch” feelings from one another.

This is especially true of the leader simply because everyone watches the boss. Even when the boss isn’t visible, his or her attitude affects the mood of his direct subordinates, and a domino effect will eventually ripple through the company’s emotional climate.

A Boss should be vigilant at all times….

I still feel there are quite a few people in Senior Management level worse than Naxalite, worse than your character (Savitha) and these people get highly paid and weed away innocent people life, know not who would bell the cat to find and trash . …………….OMG!
My Recommendations :
'A must read by MNC cultered bankers / all present day corporate execs