A Course Like None Other At IIM Lucknow – Leadership Through Literature

There’s a particular course that I’ve taken up this term which sits with me for various reasons. The course is unique in its own sense and very different from standard b-school courses. It’s called Leadership Through Literature. For starters, 2 professors take the course simultaneously and have not split it up into half by pre and post mid. Professor Neerja Pande and Professor Himanshu Rai take this course at IIM Lucknow.

What is unique about this course is that one of the professors, Prof. Neerja Pande comes from a background of literature and Prof. Himanshu Bhatia just enjoys reading and is a professor in the HR domain at IIM Lucknow.

One of my favourite quotes by Prof. Rai which he happened to narrate in the 2nd week is “Feelings may not be limited by language but the thought is.”

In the same class, Prof. Pande said, “We are curious and exploratory. This makes us make choices freely.”

The course has not 1 or 2 but 8 prescribed textbooks. What’s more is that you need to watch 8 movies along with these, assess both the books and the movies keeping in mind themes that have been set for each of these weeks.

The aim of the course is to be able to under leaders, leadership and to understand yourself better to finally go on to become a better leader. Taken in the backdrop of contemporary classics and renowned books, the course works its way through to finally make you realize the key attributes of leaders by mapping protagonists of both the novels and movies to modern-day leaders.

The books that have been prescribed as a part of the course, along with the movies and themes mapped to each of them for the 8 weeks are given below:

  • Book: Alchemist; Movie: Dangal; Theme: Vision and Action
  • Book: Siddhartha; Movie: Doll’s House; Theme: Passion and Compassion
  • Book: Gandhi’s My Experiment with Truth; Movie: Making of the Mahatama; Theme: Ethics
  • Book: Beyond the Last Blue Mountain; Movie: Pursuit of Happiness; Theme: Career and Character
  • Book: Othello; Movie: Othello
  • Book: Prince; Movie: A few good men; Theme: End vs Means
  • Book: Galileo; Movie:St. John’s Wort; Theme: Freedom and Responsibility
  • Book: Yuganta; Movie: Rajneeti; Theme: Faith and Reason

In case you love some of these books or movies just like I do, this course is something you wouldn’t want to give up for the world!