Two Birds in a Tree

Timeless Indian Wisdom for Business Leaders

Ram Nidumolu (Author)

Publication date: 10/07/2013

Two Birds in a Tree
  • 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.

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Overview

  • 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.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Ram Nidumolu



Ram Nidumolu is a business consultant, entrepreneur, business scholar, and lifelong student of philosophy. He is the founder and CEO of InnovaStrat, which provides consulting and advisory services to help executives at Fortune 500 companies develop a corporate vision and strategy for sustainable business. He has helped global companies such as FedEx, Alcoa, Intuit, Puma, and others create a compelling strategy around sustainable business, innovation, and technology. His monthly briefings on sustainable business trends are read by hundreds of executives at more than eighty Global 500 corporations. 

Ram was the lead author of a celebrated Harvard Business Review article “Why Sustainability Is Now the Key Driver of Innovation,” which accelerated the field of sustainable innovation. He has also written for Stanford Social Innovation Review and other publications. 

Ram is recognized globally for his executive insights, practices, and thought leadership in the areas of sustainable business strategy, sustainable innovation, natural capital management, and sustainable business growth. He speaks frequently to business audiences on the future of business leadership, strategy, and innovation. 

He was previously a high-tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and on the business school faculty at Santa Clara University and the University of Arizona. 

Ram is currently also an affiliated scholar at the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory, Stanford University. He received his doctorate in management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.  

This book synthesizes three fields he has thought deeply about and practiced over the past thirty years: sustainable business, entrepreneurship, and the wisdom traditions. 

Ram lives in a cohousing community in Santa Cruz, California, with his family and a domesticated Indian street cat.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Chip Conley

Introduction: Being Inspired to Lead

Part 1: Being-Centered Leadership

Chapter 1: Being in Business

Chapter 2: Being Connected

Part 2: Recognition

Chapter 3: The Higher Reality of Rituals

Chapter 4: The Higher Reality of Business

Part 3: Experience

Chapter 5: Engaging with Experience

Chapter 6: Deepening the Experience

Part 4: Anchoring

Chapter 7: Anchoring in Suffering

Chapter 8: Anchoring in Well-Being

Part 5: Leading by Example

Chapter 9: Leading by Inclusion

Chapter 10: Leading as a Steward

Chapter 11: Leading as a Sage Freedom

Conclusion: Real Business Freedom

Notes

Glossary of Sanskrit Terms

Acknowledgments

Index

About the Author

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Excerpt

Two Birds in a Tree

INTRODUCTION

Being Inspired to Lead

Being is One:
The wise say it
In many ways.
RIG VEDA

This is business, not personal.”

How many of us have heard this at work? It is as if we are expected to set aside our real being and put on our business persona when we enter through the corporate door. For that matter, how many of us ever talk of being in the workplace? Instead, almost all models of business leadership are typically about doing and having—that is, what should business leaders do in terms of actions and have in terms of capabilities to succeed? Yet these conventional models of leadership are failing us now as we careen from one global crisis to another.

This book is filled with more than forty stories meant to inspire business leaders to reimagine their role as human beings (rather than human doings or havings) in solving the global crises that business helped create. It includes stories from the wisdom of ancient India, personal experiences, and more than a score of examples of transformative business leaders. These timeless ideas are brought together through an overarching allegory of two birds in a tree that first appeared more than three thousand years ago in one of the world’s oldest sacred texts.

A New Narrative

To be honest, this is not the kind of book that I thought I would write. While this book is descriptive and personal, my professional career has been largely prescriptive and impersonal. You see, I’ve spent the last thirty years immersed in business data and analysis—first as a student completing long years of doctoral studies in business, then as an assistant professor of business at research universities, next as an entrepreneur implementing business solutions based on customer and product data, and finally as a sustainability consultant and researcher helping senior business executives of Fortune 500 firms. I’m an analyst through and through, you may say.

But this is not a book for analysts. This is also not a book of business practices for solving the world’s problems. The solutions are not so neat, simple, and universal that they can be listed as practices. Instead, this is a book that tries to inspire a new kind of leadership. I chose this approach for a simple reason: we are storytelling and story-seeking creatures who are moved by descriptions (not prescriptions) about the kind of person we want to be. This book aims to explore through inspiration rather than prescribe through practices.

We are at a turning point in our history, as our science and instincts tell us. What we do in the next twenty years in business will determine our future way of life, our children’s heritage, and the fate of many species on Earth. It is hard to imagine that for our entire history until the 1800s, a person could expect to live for less than thirty years on average (while now that number is seventy). Indeed, for much of human history, our lives were “poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” in the philosopher Hobbes’s memorable phrase.

Capitalism and business (by which I mean modern industrial and services corporations) enabled the large-scale production of goods and services that lifted entire countries out of this misery in just two centuries. As a result, global per capita income increased tenfold between 1800 and today, with a hundredfold increase in America alone. All this progress was achieved despite the world’s population increasing sevenfold, rising from 1 billion to 7 billion, in the same period. It is an economic achievement without parallel in the history of the world.

Yet this growth in human prosperity has come at a great cost to the larger context that is foundational to business, such as nature, humanity, and the credibility of the economic institutions of capitalism. Two-thirds of our water and land ecosystems (forests, wetlands, coral reefs, oceans, etc.) are now degraded significantly. We are at risk of a global warming of 4°C–6°C above preindustrial levels, largely because of industrial activity.1 We are losing species at a hundred to a thousand times the rate of their natural loss. At this rate, we will kill off 30 percent of the world’s species by 2050 and 50 percent by 2100.2 We are triggering the sixth great extinction of species on Earth, called the Anthropocene since it is due to human industry.

Over twenty thousand children die every day from poverty, hunger, preventable diseases, and related causes.3 The vast majority of the 100 million people who are expected to die by 2030 from pollution, hunger, disease, and natural disasters if the world does not act fast on climate change will be the world’s poor.4

In America, only about 30 percent of employees feel engaged in their work.5 This alienation has increased as the gains of business have largely accrued to those at the top. While the ratio of CEO pay to average employee pay in America was about 30:1 in 1980, it is now around 243:1.6 The spate of corporate scandals in recent years has led to a crisis in the public’s trust in the integrity of business leadership. In 2012, only 18 percent of the global public trusted business leaders to tell the truth.7

Yet these statistics have done little to fundamentally change business. Even worse, they seem to have numbed the public. Here’s another statistic as proof: in a recent survey of twenty-two thousand people in twenty-two countries, the percentage of people who thought ecological problems were “very serious” had dipped to its lowest in twenty years.8 We desperately need a different approach for making the case for change.

While people tune out as numbers foretell a dire future, narratives cling to the mind. We instinctively know what psychology has concluded: real change happens not through the practices of the reason-driven mind, which rationalizes what we have already decided, but through the emotion-driven mind, which is moved by the images that stories and other narratives evoke deeply.9

If the great English statesman Winston Churchill had said that he had nothing to offer but “more data analysis,” instead of “blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” as he roused his people to war, his message would have been much less compelling. This is why I will try to describe a new model of business leadership through stories.

The Fundamental Question

After three decades of observing, teaching, and participating in business and business leadership, I have come to the conclusion that something tremendously important has been missing all along. It is the question of why business and business leadership exist at all.

In truth, the buck stops with business leaders, such as corporate leaders and corporate investors. They are the ones who have to balance the interests of governments, the public, customers, other investors, and other stakeholders in business. If business is chiefly responsible for our current mess, then it makes sense that business should be chiefly responsible for fixing it.

When business leaders see business as disconnected from the world and pursue a purpose that is limited to themselves and their company, they are following a closed model of capitalism. They differentiate their company and themselves from others by asking, How can I do better than others within my closed system? How can I get a bigger share of a limited pie than others?

It is no wonder that the popular approaches are failing us because they do not focus on restoring the context so that business can operate well. We need a new purpose that puts the restoration of nature, our humanity, and institutional credibility at its core.

Business has tried to fix the symptoms without going to the root of the problem. It has done the minimum and given us corporate social responsibility initiatives that are peripheral to a company. Instead, what we need is a more inclusive approach that asks leaders to make the setting in which they and their companies operate central to their decision making.

In such an inclusive approach, while leaders recognize the importance of profits and growth, they don’t see them as the primary goals. Instead, they see them as the outcomes of larger goals that preserve and renew the foundations of business.

Amid the pressures of everyday activities and the business demands of the short term, establishing the priority and resources to take care of the contextual foundations is hard unless there is a strong motivation to do so. For all these reasons, business leaders need to first get inspired before they are willing to act. But what’s the key to inspiration’s door?

Being: The Mother of All Concepts

My own experience has convinced me of the need for fundamental changes in the underlying beliefs that drive the mind-sets of business leaders. In turn, these beliefs are heavily influenced by a business leader’s identity or sense of business self.

When our inner sense of our business self and our beliefs about business and its context change, then our behaviors, practices, and outcomes will follow. At first, this insight seems remarkably easy to implement—all we need to do to improve business is to improve the inner selves of its leaders. Of course, changing one’s inner self is the ultimate quest and concern of the world’s ancient religions and philosophers. Millennia have been devoted to this quest, yet the process of real inner change is rarely easy or clear.

When talking of identity or sense of self, we begin with the surface identities we assume in our personal and business lives. As we dig down, we realize that our sense of self is really much deeper than our surface identities, such as the organizational title given to us by our company. It is also much deeper than our attributes (such as our business skills, age, or gender) or even our definitions (such as our name).

As we continue this stripping away of identities, attributes, and definitions, we come to the question of who we really are at our core, behind the shifting qualities and limitations of our life. We arrive at the question, What is the essence of a human being? In doing so, we are revisiting an inquiry that is at least three thousand years old and gave rise to the world’s first philosophical idea: the concept of a fundamental reality called Being that is beyond and prior to all attributes and limiting definitions.10

Put simply, Being is the very essence of existence (to be) that is available to us at our core. According to this view, all things in the world emerge from this reality, which is their fundamental essence. The philosopher-sages of the civilizations of Greece, India, China, and the Middle East twenty-five hundred to three thousand years ago were especially preoccupied with Being. It has been described in many ways (the One behind the many, Ultimate Reality, Truth, the Eternal, Godhead, and even God) and through many tongues (Brahman, Sat, Nirvāa, Tao, Sein, Ousia, Ontos, and others). It may be the mother of all concepts since it is about the very nature of existence itself.

Being and related concepts have transcended religious, spiritual, cultural, and philosophical boundaries over the past three thousand years and have become embedded in our ways of living and speaking today.11 For example, there are eight forms related to the verb to be in English, more than those for any other verb. In truth, Being is relevant to anyone interested in what it means to be a human being.

The Upanishads

If the search for Being was the first philosophical quest, then ancient India was the place where this quest reached the peak of its early development. Insights on Being, our real identity or sense of self, and many other topics were explored in a series of texts, of which a group of philosophical books called the Upanishads is the most important. While hundreds of Upanishads have been written over time,12 twelve to thirteen are considered the most important.

The Upanishads are also called Vedānta, or the end of the Veda. This is because they are the essence of the wisdom contained in the Vedas, the sacred works of ancient India that were foundational to Vedic religion and its later variation, Hinduism. However, because the Upanishads deal with Being, they are meant to transcend Hinduism itself and be relevant to all religions and cultures.

Many of the principal Upanishads were composed during 800–600 BCE, before the time of the Buddha. Although the authors of the Upanishads are unknown, they describe sages whose purpose was to educate disciples through instruction and their life’s example. The Upanishads convey their wisdom through stories, assertions, imagery, exhortations, descriptions of procedures, and other forms of instruction. They were composed in Sanskrit, the language of the learned classes of ancient India and one of the oldest Indo-European languages.

While the imagery and language used in the Upanishads are often culturally grounded (and sometimes anachronistically male oriented), the underlying meaning is universal. For example, the Upanishads used the image of two birds in a tree to describe the inner struggle between selfish and selfless interests that we all face. I will use this metaphor and the journey of bringing these birds together as the book’s overarching vision of how business leadership can restore the larger context of business while pursuing corporate-specific interests.

The stories in the Upanishads may sometimes appear simplistic and even repetitive, much like Aesop’s Fables or other folk tales. But this very simplicity and repetition of truths are what lead to a deeper illumination. The core truth the stories convey is that Being is the foundational reality of this world and is accessible to everyone. Moreover, this realization is the best of all human knowledge.

While different ancient religions and cultures have resonated with the central concepts of the Upanishads,13 for me, there is a personal reason. As a person of Indian origin, I have developed a particular fascination with and understanding of the Upanishads in the last twenty-five years. In the process, they have become “the consolation of my life, and will be the consolation of my death,” as the German philosopher Schopenhauer wrote. My own experiences in applying the Upanishads have given me a direct perspective on leadership approaches. I will draw on them throughout this book as I outline the journey to Being-centered leadership.

Being-Centered Leadership

Being-centered leadership is the effort to lead from a place of seeking to realize Being. Because this realization is never complete, Being-centered business leadership is an ongoing effort to apply one’s sense of Being to business life—it is a vision of leadership at its highest level.

A key part of Being-centered leadership is to realize that we are damaging ourselves when we damage the larger context that is foundational to business. Moreover, a sense of shared purpose in restoring these foundations is not at odds with individual purpose. It is central to its realization.

Given that Being has preoccupied millennia of religious thinkers, philosophers, and cultures, it is not too much to ask that it be included in business thinking and action too. It has been a central quest of our species, especially when we faced existential crises, and it is what helped us reconnect to our world.

As such, Being is the inspiration for making the contextual foundations of nature, humanity, and institutional credibility central to business leadership. With the help of the Upanishads, my own experience, and examples of many CEOs of our time, I hope to illustrate the importance of an awareness of Being for business leaders.

Who Should Read This Book?

While this book is about business leaders in corporations and investment firms, it is really for all people who are interested in playing a leadership role (regardless of their position in an organization) in enabling the better world that is the promise of real capitalism.

The purpose of this book is to inspire inner change in aspiring business leaders. This book is therefore about how to be an entrepreneur of the inner world in order to fundamentally transform the way business operates.14 Since everyone has an interior, every person associated with business has the potential to be a business leader. More important than job title is the sense of curiosity, caring, aspiration, and search for meaning in the reader.

If this book is meant for every aspiring leader, then why focus on stories of CEOs? The first reason is pragmatic: more than anyone else, the CEO is the person most responsible for managing the relationship between the company, its stakeholders, and the world at large. As a result, CEOs have the most opportunity for integrative leadership and the most influence on a company’s journey toward real capitalism. The second reason is vicarious: we are all curious about what it is like to be a CEO and to face the challenges that CEOs face. CEOs are the showbiz celebrities of the modern world where the main show in town is business.

The third reason is motivational: we repeatedly hear about CEOs behaving badly and losing the trust of society, but we hunger for stories of CEOs who can inspire us with their values, beliefs, and actions. And the final reason is exemplary: despite the difference in influence, CEOs have experiences that are relevant examples for our own settings since they deal with changes to an interior world where we are essentially similar. We are all human and subject to similar internal struggles.

How to Read This Book

Though we have much in common with one another, no two journeys are the same in the exploration of Being. Just as even a well-embellished road map does not reveal the specific distances, the pitfalls and shortcuts, and the stops and starts along the way, this book too may not give you all the details you may want. It is important to keep in mind that the goal is inspiration, not detailed practices.

I have provided a four-stage road map—the REAL road map—as a way to organize what can be something of a messy topic. But it is best to think of the book as a broad narrative that embellishes the road map, sometimes taking detours to see interesting wonders, often describing ancient and contemporary stories along the way, occasionally encountering strange sights that need another visit to understand, and frequently pointing out personal experiences that deepened my own journey.

A great deal of this cultural landscape may be new, as if the road map were now suddenly written in a strange language and marked with strange names, symbols, and other references that your cultural upbringing cannot interpret readily. You’ll need to remind yourself that you don’t have to understand every sign and conversation or pronounce every name well, that you are only passing through to get a feel for the place and region.

During this exploration, you may become impatient and want to be told what to do: Which specific road should I take and where should I turn and where should I stop for nourishment? I’m afraid I’ll not have many of these answers because this is only a road map. You will have to create the guidebook yourself because this is your own unique journey, after all. Two helpful pointers are the “Tweets and Seeds” sections at the end of every chapter—the former lists the key conclusions in tweetable form (less than 140 characters each), while the latter provides food for deeper thinking. Together, they provide an easy way to grasp the many ideas in this book.

Despite this help, if the concept of Being remains relatively unfamiliar even at the end of this journey, you are in good company. Being has continued to remain elusive even after the best minds, storytellers, and sages in history have tried to explain it. This is because Being is (by definition) beyond the reach of our ordinary senses. Yet it is something we also grasp intuitively since it is the essence of our own beingness. So near, yet so far—this is the irreducible mystery of Being.

Why then should you even attempt this exploration, if all you have is a high-level road map with some interesting scribbles? For the same reason that hundreds of millions before you have: to understand themselves better, to know who they are and where they came from as they make this inner journey.

In exploring this oldest of questions there is the opportunity to change business, and through it, the world itself. In the poet T. S. Eliot’s memorable phrase, there is the hope that “we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all the exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

This is the promise of Being-centered leadership.

 

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TWEETS

• What business does in the next 20 years will determine our way of life, our children’s heritage, and the fate of many species on Earth.

• We are well on our way to the 6th great extinction of species on Earth, called the Anthropocene since it will be due to human industry.

• Business needs a new purpose that puts a restored larger context at the center of its decision making.

• Being is the very essence of existence (to be) that is available to us at our core.

• Being-centered leadership is the effort to lead from a place of seeking to realize Being through business.

SEEDS

• To what extent do you think future technologies will address the problems we face today? Are all these crises really overblown?

• How much do the needs of the contextual foundations of business figure centrally in your own company’s decision making?

• How important has your own identity or sense of self been in shaping your personal beliefs and behaviors? Which identities do you most relate to?

• How relevant do you think the ancient concept of Being is to today’s world? How might you adapt it to a modern setting such as yours?

• What is the role of inspiration in encouraging changes in your behavior?

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Endorsements

“This book provides a timely—and eloquent—reminder that business does not operate in a moral vacuum and that tomorrow's business leaders will need to be driven by a deeper sense of purpose. After reading it, no one can doubt that business can—and should—become a giver and not a taker in a system that gives it life in the first place.”
—Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

Two Birds in a Tree beautifully describes principles that enable leaders to give back to humanity and nature while running successful companies. It is a book filled with wonderful images and stories, both ancient and modern, that are worth savoring.”
—Casey Sheahan, CEO, Patagonia

Two Birds in a Tree helps open up our minds to the importance of leadership that is anchored in our interconnection. As leaders, we need to listen more deeply to each other, find purpose in our work, and commit to making a positive change in the world.”
—Eileen Fisher, founder and CEO, Eileen Fisher, Inc.

“If we are to make a transition to a humane world where business restores equality, ecology, and equanimity, it will be based on the principles revealed in our ancient collective wisdom as so beautifully portrayed herein.”
—Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest

“Through an illuminating journey into ancient Indian wisdom, Two Birds describes a new type of leadership that can help us manage our businesses successfully and sustainably, rather than at the expense of the planet and people. It beautifully shows that the true sustainability of humanity is actually a matter of the heart and mind, compelling us to act consciously for the future rather than continuing to ignore today's realities.”
—Jochen Zeitz, Director, Kering; former Chairman and CEO, Puma; and cofounder of The B Team

Two Birds provides unique insight about the balance needed between our roles in meeting the financial goals of our business and in improving society. The reader can quickly identify with each bird and the branches we all navigate in our career and personal lives to enable continuous learning and adapting.”
—Kevin Kramer, President of Wiring Division and Vice President, Stoneridge, Inc.

“Ram Nidumolu has done a beautiful service by reintroducing us to the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads. Far from being out of date, this wisdom is a contemporary, brilliant lamp that both exposes our current destructive ways and illuminates the way out of this perilous time. For those who yearn to offer meaningful leadership in service to this time, this book offers clear guidance.”
—Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science and So Far from Home

“A brilliant and inspirational look at how business—which today controls global economics and politics—can fix the messes it created.
Two Birds encourages those responsible, now and in the future, to take the reins of leadership and truly lead.”
—John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“Those who read Ram Nidumolu's remarkable book on the future of leadership will find a deep well of inspiration and wisdom. Both are things they desperately need at a time when so many of them are being forced to draw on their deepest selves to provide their people with purpose and a sense of direction.”
—John Elkington, cofounder of SustainAbility and Volans and author of The Zeronauts

“Nidumolu's use of the Upanishads weaves an ancient story about Being that is still deeply relevant today but has been hidden by our Western ways of thinking. Being must be reawakened if we are to find our way out of the havoc our thinking has produced.”
—John Ehrenfeld, former Director, MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment, and coauthor of Flourishing

“People forget facts and figures, but they remember good stories. It's no accident that the world's great spiritual leaders all teach by storytelling. Great business leaders know this too. Ram Nidumolu is a master storyteller. Read him and reap—great results!”
—BJ Gallagher, coauthor of A Peacock in the Land of Penguins

“The most compelling executives today have mastered not only business strategy but the philosophical realms of social and environmental responsibility.
Two Birds in a Tree cleverly explains how today's business leaders can leverage ancient Indian wisdom to achieve holistic corporate and personal success today.”
—M. R. Rangaswami, founder of Corporate Eco Forum and Indiaspora

“The conversation about a new level of consciousness in business leadership is overdue.
Two Birds in a Tree not only informs this important conversation. It inspires us with powerful stories rooted in ancient wisdom. I will share these beautiful allegories with colleagues and clients for years to come.”
—Larry Dressler, author of Consensus through Conversation and Standing in the Fire

“A brilliant story-based approach to effective leadership,
Two Birds in a Tree takes a very different path. Rather than offering the latest-and-greatest management theory or practice, it draws on insights from the world's oldest recorded wisdom, making it enormously relevant to today's business challenges.”
—Dr. Chris Laszlo, coauthor of Embedded Sustainability

Two Birds draws from the universal well of ancient wisdom and offers us stories and modern examples that literally change our minds about business. We imagine and live out of the idea of a separate self at our own peril and that of future generations. With this book, Dr. Nidumolu has provided the key that inspires and empowers us to change the mistaken idea of separation. It is a must-read for every person in an organizational leadership role.”
—Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian, Spiritual Director, Center for Spiritual Enlightenment

Two Birds in a Tree is truly inspiring. The writing style is beautiful and authentic, attributes that are rare for a book intended for business. The balance between personal experiences, personal observations, stories of business leaders, and stories from Upanishads is just exquisite and quite a feat. This is a book I will read and reread, since a book like this is a highly personal journey.”
—Mohan Sodhi, Professor of Operations Management, Cass Business School, London

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