PREFACE

This book provides a simple practical pathway for everyone to live a healthy, happy and productive life every day. The concepts and practical steps described in this book are based on my experiences as a person and as a happy executive in India, America, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mauritius and other countries.
I spent my formative years in Mahatma Gandhi’s post-Independence India, graduating in engineering as a top student, as well as the university athletics champion and football player. Later, I worked in higher education, and pursued my professional life as a management systems expert in America, India and other countries.

I developed the happy executive concepts in this book by applying Management By Systems (MBS), an innovative systems approach I developed in the late 1960s while completing my doctorate in industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin. MBS is an integrated systems approach that leads to a Win-Win-Win situation, since it benefits all involved.

The 21st century has brought a lot of changes, and I believe we need a new, progressive way of viewing the world around us, and operating within it.

My Management By Systems (MBS) Approach reflects this new perspective. MBS looks at everything as a system with specific goals and objectives. Then, it helps to develop the most cost-effective strategy and plan to make the best use of the available resources to meet those objectives and goals. The most important resource is the human resource, followed by financial, information, technology, physical, material and time. I explain this way of systems thinking more explicitly in Chapter 1 and Chapter 10.
Traditional thought usually views events or items as stand-alone entities. But by viewing them as elements of an inter-related system, those entities can be made more effective and efficient.

Many of these holistic ideas have been part of our Eastern philosophy. They are quickly becoming part of the new 21st century world view. For example, there is the spiritual belief that we are all part of one dynamic force or energy field. There is a new holistic scientific approach based on quantum physics. There is the view of global, rather than national economies. What happens in America or Europe or China or India affects people everywhere. We live in an inter-connected world today. We talk about the global economy and global warming.
The internet has played a large part in this globalization process, opening up new relationships between disparate groups working toward common goals. Just look at the important role social media played in the recent Arab spring events in the Middle East and the 2012 United States election.

The systems approach is especially timely, considering the recent colossal failure of the Wall Street financial firms to think through or be concerned about the chain effect of the highly complex mortgage derivatives. The piecemeal and reckless approach of these firms led the US and the world into American and global recession.
The autobiographical Part II of this book will introduce you to my systems approach and how I have applied it to governments, businesses and individuals. I have found MBS to be highly beneficial in all settings. MBS will help you not only in your professional career, but also in your personal life.
Over the last several decades, I have applied the MBS systems approach in several ways:

  • I have advised many national leaders, helping to usher their countries into the 21st century. These achievements include using my systems approach in governments: bridging the East and the West successfully; and advising Mr. Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s on creating a vision to make India an IT power.
  • I applied this systems thinking to the individual by helping to develop three World tennis champions—Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Jim Courier. My ideas of Total Tennis, the Happy Executive, and the Holistic Executive evolved from systems thinking about enhancing the individual.
  • Later, when I moved on from the tennis academy, I took this concept a step further bydonating my personal funds to found the non-profit National Education Foundation (NEF) in 1989. The NEF mission is to provide quality education to people everywhere, especially the underprivileged, using my systems approach. Having led NEF to become the national non-profit leader in the US in bridging the academic divides in schools, I have hopes that NEF will become a global non-profit digital education leader in bridging the digital, academic and employment divides.
  • Currently, I am also in the process of developing the Kuttan Preschool System. I believe that instilling the love of learning in young children, and helping them to develop a healthy mind–body–soul nurturing lifestyle from a very young age will lead to a better world.
  • On a personal note, by using my systems approach, I have lived a full, healthy and happy life! I have been at work every day bright and early!

I am very proud of the fact that my wife and I raised a son and a daughter, who are very accomplished, caring and dedicated to serving and helping people.

I have practised yoga and meditation daily since the age of five. I have increased my workout by one minute every year—thus exercising 72 minutes every day now.

Throughout my lifetime, I have had the rare opportunity to work with all kinds of people, at all levels, in several countries in many diverse areas such as information technology, digital education, development, school and college education, healthcare, social security, transportation, traffic safety, and sports. The changes, especially in globalisation and technology that I have witnessed over the years, form the basis of my message in this book.

I am often referred to as the father of “cyberlearning,” a term I coined in the early 1990s to describe learning via the Internet. I am told that my contribution to the English language is the word “cyberlearning.”

As a result of my unique perspective and achievements, I have been asked by many to give some timely advice and guidance to Indian executives and youth, and hence, this book.

This book would not have been possible without the unconditional and active support, love and assistance of my wife Claudia, our son Roger (Raj), and our daughter Maya. I am also grateful to all others who assisted with this book, including Masood Huq, Tapan Chaki, Dr. Laurence Peters, Dr. William Diehl, Margaret Kale, and Tamara Stephens.
I dedicate this book to the Indian executives and non-executives alike, who can play a significant role in the welfare of India and the world in the 21st Century, to my family, to my dear departed parents, Narayanan Palpu and Dr. Narayani Lakshmi, and to Mahatma Gandhi. Both my parents and the Mahatma were my role models.

Note: This book provides excellent lifestyle guidelines. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you are taking medication of any kind, adding supplements or making dietary changes, a physician should be consulted before beginning any exercise program.
This book is current as of July, 2013, and as new information becomes available through research or experience, some of the information in this book may need modification. You should always seek the most up-to-date information and guidance on your exercise, medical care and treatment from your physician or healthcare professional.