Through the Looking Glass

Politicians and bureaucrats seem to live in a world away from the concerns of the common man, the working professional, the farmer, the daily wage earner. Their actions and statements do not quite seem to mirror the lives, opinions, or needs of all their constituents. Such a perception is flawed, however. To understand the workings of the world of a public servant, their perspectives and challenges, we must necessarily break free of our own comfort zones and cocoon of conditioned ideas.

Through the Looking Glass, written from the unique perspective of an outsider who became an insider, gives the reader a ringside view into the corridors of power – the pulls and pressures, the challenges and excitement, indeed, the power and its constraints. Narrated with clear-eyed logic, the author, a finance and strategy professional inducted into a bureaucrat’s world, traverses the challenge-strewn path from bemused bewilderment to holistic understanding of the workings of a vast nation in the throes of change.

Read this book to understand the System which is vast, complex, and set in its own momentum. Understanding it is the first step in bringing about change. To bring the change you wish to see requires tremendous persistence and power. The power lies in our hands to play active roles in the making of India. Join the author in his journey of making some change real.

What people say

This is a rare book. Very few people come from the private sector to public, even fewer articulate their experiences clearly. The book identifies the idiosyncratic design of our system, the challenges facing it, and show a pathway to resolutions. If you want to know how India works and how it can change, this is the book to read!

Suresh Prabhu, Former Union Minister

Akhilesh’s transition from private to public sector puts him in a unique position to offer incisive perspectives. This book is a superb synthesis of the current system by an outsider who became an insider. A must-read for anyone who wants to work with bureaucrats and politicians.

RN Choubey, Member, Union Public Service Commission; former Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation

There is an entrepreneurial streak in Akhilesh’s journey. The book portrays a deep desire and curiosity to know how the other side works. The power to make change happen lies within all of us: “apna utthan apne haath“!

Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder,

This delightful book shows that policy making is not the solving of a sum but the painting of a picture. Human Capital and Cognitive Diversity matter for policy outcomes and it will hopefully inspire many more young people to volunteer for public service

Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, Teamlease Services

I have had occasions to observe Akhilesh in action in New Delhi where he was able to seamlessly integrate his impeccable educational background and private sector experience into the unstructured world of public policy and sector economics. He left his imprint on many innovative civil aviation initiatives announced during his engagement in that Ministry.

Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, Feedback Infra Pvt. Ltd.

The book represents an outcome of ‘industry meeting the government’ to figure out ‘how to?’ of policy formulation and implementation. As India experiments with lateral entry in the higher echelons of its bureaucracy, this intellectually stimulating account should allay all remaining doubts about the utility of this strategy.

Prof Rakesh Basant, Professor of Economics, IIM, Ahmedabad

Other writings

I’ve also written another book called ‘The Making of India’ as well as many articles on economics and policy making.

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