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Coinman : An Untold Conspiracy - Pawan Mishra

I received this book to review as part of a Goodreads initiative. The synopsis of the book appealed to me as it is set in an office environment and my background in human resources and organisational behaviour added more fuel to the metaphorical fire.

The protagonist of the book is a chap called Coinman, your average office goer who finds himself at the brunt of office politics and a victim of bullying behaviour. It was difficult for me to not classify the various miseries that Coinman faces as gross misconduct on part of the perpetrators (Yes, my HR hat remained tightly secured).

The book is based in a small city in North India and the characters that you come across are easy to identify if you have worked in a small private ltd company in India e.g. the loyal employee with an unreasonable sense of entitlement, a clique of 3 to 4 employees who dare not deviate from group norms, an ‘off-handish’ manager, a female employee who is the ‘heartthrob’ of every male employee solely because of her perceived film star looks and last but not the least, senior management who only make an appearance to reprimand or fire someone.

I couldn’t help but empathise with the protagonist and wanted him to succeed against the bullies in each cruel situation. Although the plot was well thought through, I felt that the use of language left much to be desired. Having said that, I will give the benefit of doubt to the author as this may have been done intentionally in order to be in sync with the characters and the setting. There are many Hindi terms used in the narrative which gives the reader a good feel for the environment in which the story transpires. A glossary with the terms explained is useful for a reader not familiar with Hindi.

My profession dictates that I am alert to the prevalence of bullying in the workplace so I must emphasise that I felt very uncomfortable reading about the details. This doesn’t take away from the fact that this type of behaviour is unfortunately not uncommon in organisations. Therefore, by addressing this often ‘brushed under the carpet’ topic, Mishra has indeed done well.  Finally, does the book have a satisfying ending? I’ll let you decide!


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