Mainak Dhar’s The Cubicle Manifesto is a charming if slight story about a tech company middle manager who turns his professional and personal life around by putting down his BlackBerry and his laptop and learning to be less work-obsessed.
Dhar’s protagonist is Mayukh, an indentikit under-pressure worker, whose computer is infected by a mystery virus that starts controlling the hours he works and sends him the kind of preppy messages so beloved of self-help gurus and life coaches the world over: “Prisoners eat in their cells, free men do not,” reads one. “Just 15 minutes for yourself each day adds up. Do the math, genius,” says another.
What do you know, but by obeying the virus’s instructions, Mayukh’s life is transformed by book’s end, as he powers his co-workers to ever greater achievements while managing to spend more time with his long-suffering family. Naturally, there is a broader point to be taken away from this thin volume, one which Dhar spells out in the book’s introductory note: “You may find that overthrowing tyranny helps liberate you to perform better at your job.”