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 the theories of management as taught in B-schools the world over.
People who read Dilbert might have found some similarity in the cover design. The idea of the book is also similar – a corporate parody. While Dilbert consists of individual standalone comic strips, in this book Suresh has knitted it all together in one complete story line.
A dog eat dog-food world is the story of a man who discovered that the path of life is strewn with treadmills and, if you get on one by mistake, you could keep running all your life to stay in the same place. The story of how just minding your own business can lead to unexpected consequences, guided by the ‘invisible hand’ of long dead economists. Anything you learn from the book – be it the basics of marketing management or a satirical view of society – you do at your own risk.
The story is set in an imaginary world that Suresh calls the alternate history and gives funny explanations on the origin of various management concepts such as market segmentation, pricing, brand recall, market research, management consulting et al as the reader is taken through the fascinating tale of the business battle between the tycoons Tom and Spike. Anyone who has worked in the corporate world, unless indeed he is one of those who have succumbed to the corporate myth to such an extent that his mind has been purged of all humour, is bound to giggle with delight all the way through this riotously funny book. It probably ought to carry a warning that it should not be read on public transport.
At the same time, while entertaining the reader to the point where asthmatic readers would do well to have their medication at hand, the book actually lays out the principles of marketing as it works in today’s society in a very precise and understandable way. One doesn’t often see such a combination of sheer entertainment and useful information. The writing is smooth, the ideas flow uniformly, uni-directionally, and that is so important because one can tend to go all over the place especially when humour is such an integral part of the book and gets incorporated along with a story and a lots of management lessons!