CCRG Book Spotlight: Two Birds in a Tree: Timeless Indian Wisdom for Business Leaders

Introduces Being-centered leadership, which emphasizes the higher reality of business (such as its connection to humanity and nature) to create lasting business value
•Offers a four-stage road map to guide leaders in their efforts to realize this new approach
•Features moving examples of Being-centered leadership by twenty-one CEOs of globally recognized companies

Financial meltdowns and environmental disasters have made it obvious that business leaders have a responsibility for the environment and society with which their business is inextricably intertwined. But it’s one thing to understand that idea—Ram Nidumolu knows that nothing is really going to change unless leaders feel it. Stories and metaphors have a power to transform that dry facts and numbers don’t, so in this extraordinary book, Nidumolu turns to the ancient Indian philosophical texts, the Upanishads, to offer leaders a powerful message that transcends religion, culture, and tradition.

Two Birds in a Tree takes its title from a parable in the Upanishads. One bird, in the lower branches, hops from branch to branch, anxiously eating all the fruit it sees. The bird at the top of the tree sees the tree below and the world beyond and understands it is part of a larger whole. The higher bird is in touch with and symbolizes what the Upanishads call Being, the fundamental reality that underlies and unifies all phenomena—the very essence of existence.

Leaders whose sense of self is anchored in Being won’t have to think about “corporate responsibility”—their actions will be driven by an instinctive sense of interconnection. Throughout this profound and enlightening book, Nidumolu uses stories not only from the Upanishads but also from his own life as well as the experiences of CEOs of global companies like PepsiCo, Southwest Airlines, Timberland, Costco, and many others to illustrate the principles of Being-centered leadership. And he provides what he calls a four-stage road map to help leaders cultivate a conscious connection to Being.

But this is a book meant to inspire, not prescribe. Nidumolu doesn’t offer a specific, step-by-step set of instructions. Rather, he offers leaders advice, encouragement, examples, and inspiration as they make their way from the lower branches of the tree to the highest.