Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Being a Co-author

Having been a co-author for five of my fourteen books in my four and half decades of teaching, training and learning career, introspecting into such experience unfolded many lessons worthy to share. My first co-authored book on rural banking was with my boss, where I wrote most of the text and the boss gave a second reading and scripted five chapters himself. He being the boss became the first author and highly competent and understanding as he was, there was no regret. He took the lead in its propagation. The second was a co-edited book with a trainee-bureaucrat on a theme we settled upon. We invited articles from distinguished writers on the subject; we edited them; the first author took the lead in extending invitations to writers; he wrote the introduction to the book and I suggested that he should be the first author. Then came the third co-edited publication: it was the proceedings of a Seminar on the subject on VISION 2020 in a State Agriculture Economy. The co-author was a reputed Agriculture Scientist and a retired Vice-Chancellor. Though most of the work relating to conduct of the seminar and compilation of articles presented at the seminar was done by me, my highest regard for the person of eminence who chaired the seminar and who went through the script for arranging them in an order appealing to the reader, resulted in giving him the rightful first place among the co-authors. The fourth was again the summary of the proceedings and presentations of a Seminar on Corporate Governance organized by me and my co-author. The co-author was the person who suggested for publication of proceedings and took lead in tying up with the publisher of repute. Naturally, the first among us was he. The fifth publication was on Small Enterprises, a subject close to my heart. I requested an old colleague of mine, who is an expert on International Banking, to script a chapter on international markets. He did it in good time. Though he initially did not agree to be co-author, I invited him to be on rolls and he took the second place.
The latest one is a cut different. The co-author and I got in touch with each other through the mediation of his Professor who enrolled him for Ph.D. His dissertation was reviewed by me. The request to be co-author for a different kind of research effort took me close to him. The themes were exchanged; the script went up and down; there were additions of experiences; there was review and re-review and it was an year and half work on the net and a year-and half of research by the co-author with his team of research. The whole concept and thought process took shape at the research desk. It was only when the first draft got ready, both of us happened to see each other to run through the script together. It was the work behind the book; the passion of the co-author in the whole script; his zeal for being an author of global repute in the very first script – all together, put him as the first author.
The pride and prejudice of the first authorship and the humility of the second authorship in the journey of experiential learning are worthy to share, I thought.