Outsider by Shirish K Singh — A review
There are plenty of books out there giving us the inside story of a particular segment of our corporate world, be it banking, stock broking, fashion, law, media, jails, music, hospitals, airports, name it and it’s there. But this is the first book that I have come across that gives you the dirt on the Health Insurance industry.
Health Insurance is something that is touching all our lives, for we are covered through personal policies, corporate covers or government schemes. And we all have different experiences, often grievances with the system. Here is a insider’s view point, made interesting for the lay reader, as gripping fiction.
But this just isn’t about Health Insurance, although it touches upon all the players in the game, the insurers, the TPAs, the providers, the corporate, the regulator and the beneficiaries. This is about running a corporation, how it is done, and how it ought to be done. It is also about relationships, about love, about motivation, about finding peace. Briefly, it is about life.
The author has deep insider knowledge not only about the health insurance industry, but also about advertising, the corporate world, and the armed forces, which gives authenticity to his characters and his plot.
The story is about a corporate tycoon who hires an inmate of an ashram to turn around one of his ventures, a health insurance company, which is floundering.
The new comer is an enigma, and is an outsider to the industry, hence the title.
He interacts with the various key players, all of whom have their own agenda, and a power play unfolds which one sees in any corporate boardroom across the globe. Industry insiders might find startling similarities with some prominent figures in the business.
During these maneuverings our protagonist, Satyakam, the outsider, inevitably comes close to some of the other characters, and his mysterious past begins to unravel, creating upheavals in many of their lives, ultimately leading to a catharsis.
This indeed is a turnaround story, a turnaround not only for the company, but also the lives of their protagonists.
There are management lessons to be learnt here, for the insurance industry, especially health, and also for any corporate in general, as well as lessons to be learnt about life itself, on how to deal with love, loss, and learn to live in peace with oneself in this difficult business called life.
I recommend that you give it a try