Book Review: A Dance with the Corporate Ton: Reflections of a Worker Ant by Lata Subramanian

I’m happy to be reviewing the first book for Write Tribe. A Dance with the Corporate Ton: Reflections of a Worker Ant by Lata Subramanian.

Book blurb

Human nature and human tendencies don’t change easily. What held true and was accepted generations ago, is so even now. However, the names have been upgraded for our generation’s convenience.

Lata takes us on a roller coaster ride by chronicling her life experiences right from her formative years, her schooling, the lifestyle she had to lose out on, her first job, the many ups and downs in her career, her strengths and weaknesses as a person and a manager, to the time she chose to hang up her boots while being at peace with herself.

While there are moments that will make you laugh, most of the time you’ll be moved by the sheer ruthlessness with which the corporate world works. Using fashionable words has become fashionable nowadays but throwing a big word here and there doesn’t mean that you’re good at your job. This, and lot more corporate gyaan is up for grabs in this book.

My review

Throughout the book, Lata has taken the example of the snobbish and archetypical behaviour displayed by the London ton and moulded it in the today’s corporate scenario, rightly calling them the Corporate Ton.

Being a part of the glamorous advertising world but not looking the part is something that has lent much humour to her story. Since the ‘fair’ brigade is generally considered to have been descended from some superior progeny, average-looking women have to prove their mettle to be taken seriously. Lata shows that persistence and resolve do help.

While the book takes a while to get you interested, once the pace is set it keeps you glued. There are a bit too many footnotes in the book but they’re helpful in establishing a flow in reading. I liked the interesting pictures depicting the then-and-now situations between the London ton and Corporate tons.

On the slightly downside, Lata has given excruciating details about her colleagues and seniors, but has kept mum about her personal life, which I assume was by choice. As a life story, I wish she’d spoken a little more about it since as a reader I would’ve liked to understand what role domesticity plays in a female corporate manager’s life.

Other than this minor glitch, the book is an interesting read. I’ll specifically recommend it to people, especially the starry-eyed B-school passouts, who think that armed with a fancy degree climbing up the corporate ladder is a breeze.

I will give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

About the author

An Economics graduate, Lata Subramanian has over 35 years of work experience across a range of service related industries such as Advertising, Civil Aviation, Hospitality,Marketing and Publishing.

She is a voracious reader and loves to write. Her love for writing led her to accept the post of Managing Editor, The Smart Manager; a position she held between 2008 and 2010 when she was in Publishing. She is now a hobbyist writer and blogger, publishing posts regularly on her blog, Lata Wonders.

Lata has just hung up her boots, retiring from corporate life to blog and maybe write a book or two. The last position she held in the corporate world was CMO, Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) Limited – a leading Leisure Hospitality and Vacation Ownership company in India.

Lata’s favourite description of herself is that she is a student of life and herself. That lifelong interest has led to her first book A Dance with the Corporate Ton: Reflections of a Worker Ant.

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