Thursday, 12 November 2015

Book Review: A Dog eat Dog-food World, by C. Suresh

It is easy to lament the death of humorous writing, I suppose. It’s not a genre that’s popular, though one would imagine people would rather like to laugh, and what passes for humour tends to be the unfunny (I’m looking at you, Kapil Sharma) or the crass (AIB). Written humour relies on absurdity or carping criticism, if most humour blogs are anything to go by, and the art of actually plotting a funny situation or using words to paint a smile on the reader’s face seems long gone.

Well, sometimes you find a diamond in the rough.

A Dog Eat Dog-food World positions itself as a ‘hilarious pseudo-history of marketing management’, and this is one instance where the blurb is exactly descriptive of the novel. Through the story of the Fortune family, Spike and hapless nephew Jerry and their business rivals Tom and Jasper Rich, C. Suresh explains (and de-constructs) the theories of management as taught in B-schools the world over.

But if the management spiel is funny (and it is, there are passages of Dilbert-esque genius in here), the language is even funnier.. Salesmen of dog food and cat food are mobbed in the streets. Brilliant marketing ideas are born at the end of a sharp feline claw. Rivalries formed on school playgrounds play out in corporate boardrooms. And through it all, gems of phrasing abound. The author surprises you with a throw-away line of such hilariousness that the book has to be put away (or the Kindle, in my case) for a few moments so that the joke can be savoured.

I suppose if you’re one of the people who takes management theory seriously or likes jargon, you may not like this book – because it takes no prisoners  - from management reports to market research, product extension to life cycles, no aspect is spared the harsh glare of C. Suresh’s humour.

A Dog Eat Dog-food World is a small volume, but it’s brilliance is anything but limited. To catch a glimpse of what PG Wodehouse might have written had he turned his mind to the skewering of management theory, give this one a shot.

TL;DR: Don’t think. Buy. (Kindle India) Buy paperback. Buy (Kindle International)

Disclaimer: I am acquainted with C. Suresh through social media. The book has been purchased at full price and reviewed without any encouragement whatsoever from the author, who, it may be inferred, would rather be swallowed up by the earth than aggressively market his work.


  1. Wow! Thanks Percy! And how right you are - it does seem a more pleasant thing to be swallowed up by the earth than to push my cart of books screaming, "Books for sale" :)

  2. That's a great review, Percy. I'm with Suresh on that. A lot of us writers write because we are shy and writing gives us the freedom of expression. Marketing is an anathema but can't be helped. What needs to be done, needs to be done.

  3. Brilliant review, Percy. I have read this novella and I agree with you completely. Humor is one of the toughest things to write, and humor written in such a subtle manner that even, Himself (read PGW) would have been glad to read, is incredibly hard to write. It is my hope that discerning readers will take a chance on this book and read it--they won't be disappointed.

  4. Lovely review. Loved reading it. I agree with you on every word Percy. I read it back to back twice on the same day. Review coming soon. :)