Japanese Maverick: Success Secrets of Canon's "God of Sales"


372 words

Title: Japanese Maverick: Success Secrets of Canon's "God of Sales";  
by Louis Kraar and Seiichi Takikawa; John Wiley & Sons; 
ISBN 0-471-58011-2; Hardcover, 256 pages, $34.95

Reviewer: A. T. Connellan, "This is an exceptional book that proves 
that leaders are made, not born. Buy it, read it, and pass it on." 

Seiichi Takikawa's joyful journey of success 

A contradiction to the atypical Japanese businessman, Seiichi 
Takikawa rose from messenger to union leader, to chairman of 
Canon Sales Company the independent marketing arm of the 
world's largest producer of cameras and copiers. In the process 
he charmed and inspired a legion of peers, superiors, and 
employees, and won the unqualified respect of a host of competitors. 

This remarkable book is far more than a biography, it is a "how to" 
manual for marketing entrepreneurs and those who aspire to 
leadership in business, told in a highly readable fashion by himself 
and co-author Louis Kraal. 

Like all successful people Seiichi Takikawa is the sum total of all 
of his attempts, wins, and losses. With joyful enthusiasm and open 
good humor he frankly relates the experiences that were his teachers, 
and then incapsulates the lessons for us. 

Much of his experience was gained as a young manager for Canon 
developing the market in the United States while hampered by his 
difficulty with the language and selling an unknown product, but he 
triumphed and learned. 

That knowledge was incorporated into a highly empathic approach 
to management. He pioneered GHQ [Go Home Quickly], to 
encourage his employees to avoid the practice of gathering in bars 
after work and encouraged them to take full vacations in a nation 
that regarded free overtime as a meritorious activity. 

He is clearly a pioneer in new methods of management. His 105 
percent solution; his vision for everyone to learn well, work well, 
earn profits well-- and play well; and his philosophy of corporate 
"Socialism", identify a genius we can all learn from. 

His definition of the role of president is pointed and revealing; 
"First he is the man who goes around collecting and expanding 
opportunities to spur the company's growth. Second, he must be 
absolutely certain that when payday comes, he can cover the 
payroll with cash in the bank." 

Cover it Seiichi Takikawa did as he kept his company growing at an 
average rate of 15 percent annually for the past 15 years, with an 
annual staff turnover of less than 4 percent. 

This is an exceptional book that proves that leaders are made, not 
born. Buy it, read it, and pass it on. 

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