Which Book Was Based on Management in Ancient Times?

Management has been an integral part of human civilization since ancient times. The practice of managing resources, people, and tasks has evolved significantly over the centuries. One of the earliest known sources of management knowledge comes from a book called ‘Arthashastra’.

What is Arthashastra?

The Arthashastra is an ancient Indian political and economic treatise believed to have been written by Kautilya, also known as Chanakya. The book was written in Sanskrit around 300 BCE and covers various topics related to governance, economics, and warfare. It is considered one of the most comprehensive works on statecraft in the ancient world.

Management Principles in Arthashastra

The Arthashastra covers a wide range of management principles that are still relevant today. Some of these include:


One of the key principles emphasized in the Arthashastra was the importance of leadership. It states that a leader should be knowledgeable, wise, and able to inspire loyalty among his followers.

Organizational Structure

The book also lays out guidelines for organizing a government or business. It suggests dividing tasks into different departments or ministries for more efficient management.

Financial Management

The Arthashastra provides detailed instructions on financial management. It suggests methods for taxation, accounting, and budgeting that are still used today.

Human Resource Management

Another important aspect covered in the book is human resource management. It discusses recruitment, training, and performance evaluation of employees.

The Relevance Today

Despite being written over two thousand years ago, the principles outlined in the Arthashastra are still relevant today. Many modern-day management practices can be traced back to this ancient text.

For example, leaders are still expected to possess knowledge and wisdom in their respective fields. The concept of dividing tasks into different departments or teams is still used in many organizations.

Financial management practices like taxation, accounting, and budgeting also find their roots in the Arthashastra. Additionally, human resource management practices like recruitment, training, and performance evaluation have evolved from the principles outlined in this ancient text.

The Arthashastra remains a valuable source of knowledge for anyone interested in management and governance. Its timeless principles can be applied to modern-day organizations to improve efficiency and effectiveness.