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Chanakya in Daily Life by Radhakrishnan Pillai

I don’t feel appreciated by my family. My efforts go unnoticed.

Where is the joy in my work? I feel suffocated!

I have an exam coming up, but I am not able to concentrate on my studies.

Most of us may have had such thoughts at different points in our lives. Radhakrishnan Pillai, in his book Chanakya in Daily Life, addresses such issues and offers life lessons. He does this by drawing on the teachings of ancient Indian scholar Chanakya.

Chanakya was a political strategist who helped Emperor Chandragupta Maurya ascend to power. He played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Mauryan dynasty and its expansion in India. An astute observer of life, Chanakya laid down a set of principles for Chandragupta that helped him become an exemplary leader. He also wrote treatises–Arthashastra and Chanakya Niti–on how to govern an empire efficiently.  

While Chanakya’s work outlined principles and guidelines for rulers and leaders, Pillai’s Chanakya in Daily Life extends that insight to our personal pursuits. The book has three major sections–Personal Life, Professional Life and Family Life. Each section is further divided into chapters that are no longer than a few pages. Making for a crisp read, each chapter focusses on one facet of life and presents a nugget of Chanakya’s wisdom.  

For instance, the chapter ‘Your Swadharma’ is all about discovering what makes us happy. It urges us to find our calling and do that one thing right. The chapter ‘Silent Time’ stresses the importance of taking out some ‘me’ time for ourselves amidst the ruckus of our lives. Yet another chapter elucidates the importance of waking up early to begin the day in a disciplined manner. Covering a range of topics, the book is bound to interest readers from all walks of life. Discovering their own favourite chapters, readers could then bookmark life lessons forever in their minds.

The book is exceptional in the way it lays out a blueprint for life. Pillai breaks down Chanakya’s original wisdom and expands its meaning. He then suffuses the chapters with his own understanding of the original work. Therefore, each sentence not only radiates the wisdom of Chanakya, but also offers a sneak peek into the sharp mind of the author himself. In a nutshell, carries age-old wisdom repackaged to suit the needs of the modern times.  

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