Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future that Works, edited by McKinsey & Company, Clay Chandler, Heang Chhor and Brian Salsberg, VIZ Media

Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future that Works, edited by McKinsey & Company, Clay Chandler, Heang Chhor and Brian Salsberg, VIZ Media, RRP$38.99.

The publication of this book was actually delayed by one-month so that several additions and edits could be added to reflect the impact of the earthquake and tsunami. The tragedy of earthquake and subsequent tsunami seem to strengthen the messages in this book for the need to re-imagine the future of Japan.

The book is edited by McKinsey and Company and written by 80 contributors from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries. This diversity of opinion of viewpoints is the perhaps the real strength of this book, as well as the caliber of the contributors, all of which seem to be leaders in their respective fields.

Some contributors see Japan as broke, inward-looking, in decline, and in desperate need of new thinking. Many other contributors are far more optimistic and see the recent tragedy and economic challenges as a catalyst for change.

For HR and personnel managers, Chapter Four – RE-ENGAGING WITH THE WORLD is possibly the most interesting with several engaging contributions that provide very interesting insights and perspectives for the development of Japanese businesspeople and organizations in the face of competitive global business environments.  One of the best essays in this chapter is by Masahiro Yamada. Yamada writes convincingly of the need drastically to change the way Japanese companies hire, in order to break a system that divides workers into permanent staff with lifetime benefits and impermanent “liquid labourers”. Yuji Genda’s contribution is also very interesting for HR managers looking to develop younger talent.

There are of course many more very interesting and diverse contributions that I’m sure you’ll find interesting and thought provoking. I particularly like the article in chapter two written by Tadashi Yanai – Dare to Err.

The book is published in hardback, and with 452 pages is pretty heavy, both in weight and content. However, it’s a great book for provoking discussion and debate on the future of Japan and well worth reading.

Globalinx Corp