x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

The Cubicle Manifesto: Middle manager steps outside the box

Mainak Dhar weaves a charming story about a tech company middle manager who turns his personal life around by learning to be less work-obsessed.

The Cubicle Manifesto
Mainak Dhar
Random House India
Dh40
The Cubicle Manifesto Mainak Dhar Random House India Dh40

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.”