As a future psychologist, one of the key tings to understand is how culture informs peoples beliefs. myth is the basis for much of our belief systems all over the world, and in an age of globalization, understanding other cultures myths is important. Devdutt Pattanaik takes an eye-opening look at the myths of India and of the West — and shows how these two fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven help us consistently misunderstand one another.

Why you should listen:

We all search for meaning in our work and lives. Devdutt Pattanaik suggests we try a tactic of our ancestors — finding life lessons in myth, ritual and shared stories. When he was Chief Belief Officer at Future Group in Mumbai, he helped managers harness the power of myth to understand their employees, their companies and their customers. He’s working to create a Retail Religion, to build deep, lasting ties between customers and brands.

Who is he:

Pattanaik is a self-taught mythologist, and the author (and often illustrator) of several works on aspects of myth, including the primer Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology and his most recent book, 7 Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art. He writes a column called “Management Mythos” for Economic Times that juxtaposes myth onto modern leadership challenges. His newest area of inquiry: How is traditional management, as expressed in old Indian cultural narratives, different from modern scientific management techniques?”


1. According to Pattanaik, what is the difference between “Logos” and “Mythos”?
2. How does he define culture?
3. How does he define the root of the clash of civilizations?
4. What differences in myths are shown by the story of the river Styx and the river Vaitarani?
5. Pattanaik moves from differences in myth to differences in doing business. How does he link these ideas?
6. How does Pattanaik define paradigms, and what does he suggest we use them for?

East vs. West with Devdutt Pattanaik


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