I had a maths teacher who would often ask in a rhetorical fashion, when exasperated with the class, do you people want to be dunkeys in life? There would be a small section of the back benchers who would shout back ‘dunkeys sir’. The teacher knowing the offenders would ignore their repartee. I never really appreciated the sentiment that the teacher was trying to convey, until much later. The teacher was alluding to the need to balance effort with a focus on outcome; ultimately our education system evaluates all academic performance based on grades. Many parents often appreciate their wards for the physical time spent at a desk, ‘studying’, and bemoaning the fact that the results don’t reflect the effort. The book under review would be benefical to such parents and their wards.
The author uses a semi-fictional approach to lay out a smart approach to doing well in exams. Using a first person account, he narrates how stung by the constant complaints of his teacher, resulting in his mother living in constant anxiety, he resolves to end his mother’s agony and bring the proverbial smile back on her face. This he points out is not so easy, as the ones doing well in class (read life) are not willing to share their trade secrets with an upstart. From sharing his lunch boxes, to stroking egos, the author does everything in his capacity to extract the so called secret formula to success and becoming a smart student.