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Discover the Alchemist Within

Discover the Alchemist Within
Taking the First Step Towards Personal Growth

First Edition
  • Kartikeyan V. - Leadership and organization consultant, coach and facilitator
  • Rachna Nandakumar - Consultant, areas of strategic human resources and organization development
  • Vishwanath P. - President and CEO, Institute of Transformational Coaching LLC

September 2018 | 268 pages | SAGE Response

You are more! You are more than the roles you play in your life, more than a set of behaviours, more than what you have been told you are. So, then, who are you? This question beckons you to commence on what may be the biggest adventure of a lifetime—the journey of discovering yourself.

In this book, the authors shift the focus from the utilitarian paradigm of ‘being the best’ to ‘being more of yourself’. This is a book for those wanting to embark upon the path of self-discovery and wholeness. It deftly weaves together elements from Karnatik music, psychology, Eastern and Indian principles of life and living to help individuals, leaders and organization systems to build meaningful agency and live integrally in the times we are in.

The exploration is made more exciting by the 4 worlds and 16 symbolic identities that exist within each of us. The book gives expression to every human being and helps readers identify the constellation of identities that are uniquely playing out in their lives. Psychological identities like the Mother, the Trickster, the Warrior and the Ruler have been part of the inner worlds of all of us and will continue to be. The book brings to fore the patterns, dilemmas, gifts and the drama of the different worlds and their inhabitants, and by befriending them, we befriend parts of ourselves. We become more.

Foreword by Anil Sachdev
An Invitation to the Alchemist in You
Introduction to the Transformative Alignment Map
The Four Worlds
The World of Structure and Order
The World of Autonomy and Initiative
The World of Connectedness and Nurturance
The World of Flow and Unfolding
The Sixteen Symbolic Identities
The Administrator
The Artiste
The Collaborator
The Curious Child
The Custodian
The Guide–Mentor
The Healer
The Mother
The Muse
The Provider of Resources
The Ruler
The Strategist
The Troubleshooter
The Trickster
The Warlord
The Warrior–Crusader
The TAM Playbook
The Way Forward
Appendix 1: The Two Axes of Orientation
Appendix 2: TAM Self-assessment/TAM Self-certification

“A book that brings into the world a rare seeking that is often kept at a distance.... The authors have proposed a ‘musical composition’ that smudges organizational and individual separators, persuading the philosopher and the pragmatist to find each other within themselves.”

T M Krishna,
Karnatik Vocalist, Writer, Social Commentator, Magsaysay Award Winner

Through this book, we are introduced to the Transformative Alignment Map (TAM), which is a profound concept that seeks to explain the relationship between the individual and the system. The high level of clarity that the authors have about the concept has enabled them to treat this complex subject with astounding simplicity. The engaging style of writing makes this book a compulsory read.

R. Seshasayee,
Chairman, IndusInd Bank

An alchemist is one who transmutes something ordinary into something special. There is an alchemist in each of us waiting to help know and value ourselves. The authors through their sound philosophical foundation and deep research combined with magical insights have created a framework that allows us to discover our inner nature and helps us align within and with others as well as with the context. Read on to discover yourself and enjoy awakening the alchemist in you….

Ravi Kyran,
President, Human Resources, Bajaj Auto Limited

At a time when more and more individuals search for meaning and alignment in their organizational roles, the authors offer through Discover the Alchemist Within a refreshingly new perspective by means of a bold and ingenious synthesis of the essence of Karnatik music and Jungian psychology. Brilliant!

Ganesh Chella,
Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Coaching Foundation India (CFI), and Co-author, HR Here and Now

The TAM, introduced to us through this book, is a refreshing approach to working simultaneously with the layers of self-role in an organizational context. The framework is inviting and yet not definitive in boxing you down. Through a playful yet serious narrative, the authors encourage you to discover and then shape aspects of your stances that contribute to or hinder a more wholesome engagement in multiple roles and systems.

Rosemary Viswanath,
Managing Trustee, Group Relations India

This book is for those serious about creating transformation! The authors have combined their extensive research and work with symbols, and insights from Indian music as they explore the self in roles and organizations. Discover the 16 identities around you, as you work your way to create wholesome integration. Having used their self-assessment myself, I am amazed at how much of me it reveals.

Steve Correa,
President, Human Resources, Diageo (India) Limited

Discover the Alchemist Within is a book that made me think about the dynamic interplay between multiple individual identities and various roles one plays in organizations. Discovery and deeper understanding of these identities help an individual to find that alignment which could catapult one’s effectiveness to newer heights. The state of integration and wholeness is an outcome of perfect alignment in four spaces, namely self and role, role and organization, self and organization, and organization and context. The TAM framework explains this phenomenon. The confluent circle in the TAM model where self, role(s) and organization overlap can be conceived of as the ‘sweet spot’ where energy, capability, values and strategy come together and are in a state of what the book calls ‘transformative alignment’. This is a space that can transform the whole organization and left me thinking if this is the new theory which should be embraced by every organization which aims to become an ‘experienced enterprise’.

The other thought-provoking concept is that of 4 psychological worlds and 16 identities, which takes the reader to delve deeper into their own inner worlds and start the journey of self-exploration and personal growth. Moored in the parallels of Indian (Karnatik) classical music and drawing upon rich metaphors from movies, mythology, popular literature and the like, it’s a dense yet captivating read.

I found this book eminently illuminating and to be offering deep insights. This is a must-read for everyone who seeks personal exploration and growth and certainly leaders and practitioners chartered with fostering and transforming organizations.

A bold greenfield attempt which succeeds handsomely. Kudos to the trio who made this possible.

Abdul Jaleel,
Vice President, Employee Experience India, Adobe India Limited

This book is a lyrical voyage across the psychological worlds of ‘connectedness’, ‘flow’, ‘autonomy’ and ‘structure’ which reside in each of us. It is an engrossing narration of self-discovery which weaves through multiple signposts ranging from the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, works of poetry and literature to popular movies, scriptures and stories…and brings one to meet and understand the archetypes of personal transformation. A delightful reading, this book itself is a work of alchemy….

Madhukar Shukla,
Author and Professor, OB and Strategic Management XLRI, Jamshedpur

Discover the Alchemist Within is a must-read for anyone seeking a rich, meaty, value-added dimension to understand human behaviour. In my 30 years of leadership study, application and teaching, I have rarely encountered a book that has expanded and stimulated me as much as this one. The authors provide fantastic vistas with two paradigm-shifting constructs: the TAM revealing 4 ‘psychological worlds’ and 16 ‘symbolic identities’ or memes. The book reflects the heart of a teacher as it delightfully opens up these vistas for deep dives into refreshing insights that trigger a cascade of epiphanies. This book avoids the boring re-hash of popular and mostly Western-based constructs. By weaving into the reader’s journey an Indian context, one is treated to constant perspectives only that context can provide. As a result, the reader is swept into uncharted waters with expansive potential for incredibly broad and deep revolutionary understandings. So enabled, one is given new ideas with the potential to effect substantive, powerful change.

Ed Hampton,
CEO and Managing Member, Performance Perspectives LLC

This book beautifully draws out learnings for living and working from art forms and philosophies that are timeless and elevating, particularly relevant for today’s world of increasing disconnect and discord. In a lilting style, it beckons you to reflect on yourself and recognize your identity/ies, nudges you to be ‘more’ in your roles and, most importantly, to realize the value of harmony and inclusivity.

Gargi Banerji and Sunil Pillai,
Co-founders, Pragya

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