Friday, January 18, 2008

Made in Japan - Book review

Kart's rating - 4/5

'Made in Japan' by Akio Morito is arguably one of the best books I have read so far. Yes - It's a book written by the co-founder of SONY, one of the most successful electronics companies in the modern world. It was not only a good book on management but also provided me deep insights on the world affairs and Japanese culture; As and when I read the book, I stood on the shoes of Morito and analyzed how I would have reacted to those situations - it really was an interesting exercise (though you could call it as childish exercise), which helped me to understand how good a manager he is/was.

At a quick glance, one might feel that he was flattering the Japanese - their culture, their management skills, their technology, their work quality, their working style, and what not.... Initially, I got an impression that he was biased and was trying to sell Japan to the rest of the world. But, in retrospect, I am tempted to second his view. Japan, like a Phoenix bird, rose from the shambles after the world war II. The kind of economic growth they had after world war II was really remarkable, given that they are /were neither blessed with rich mineral wealth like Russia or USA, nor oil/natural gas like the Arabian countries. They are just a small island, cursed with active volcanoes and deadly earth-quakes; It was terrible to know that many Japanese were unfortunate enough to see Tokyo rebuilt thrice after destruction - once after world war II and twice after earth quakes, which shook Japan in the last century.

I always believed that attitude determines everything - when Sony was founded by Akio Morito and Ibuka, two creative young and creative engineers, they had no positive atmosphere for starting a company. They found it very difficult even to get a decent work place and the basic raw materials to build their electronics product. But within few months after the world war, Sony and other Japanese were not worrying about the havoc caused during the world war but rather they were looking ahead.

In his book, Akio Morito has expressed a very strong view on almost everything. He openly criticized his fellow company mates, his competitors and infact some of his own decisions. His views on the world economy, the economic development across the world, the management strategies employed by the west vs Japan were all very informative. His decisions in tight situations were spot-on most of the times, though some of them were learning experiences.

In short, 'Made in Japan' was an interesting and informative read.

PS: I wrote a part of the review long back (4-5 months back) when I read the book. But, I didn't find time to continue it until now, so the blog might lack coherence.

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