Kinokuniya Bookstore at Bryant Park in New York hosted a book signing with Brian Salsberg, one of the executive editors of Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future That Works. The book is a trove of insights from leading figures in business, media and academia on what has led to Japan’s economic malaise of the last two decades and how it could spur a new round of renaissance. Originally compiled prior to the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, the book had to be recalled from the printer literally on the day of the disaster so that essays could be amended or recast to reflect the new turn of events.
Brian is a Tokyo-based consumer products and marketing consultant at McKinsey & Company. He and his colleagues were driven to take on this project after becoming frustrated at a growing chorus of negative voices and views about Japan’s predicament and what was claimed to be a lack of positive future prospects. The individuals selected for inclusion in the book write earnestly and do not pull punches. Like Brian, they have a strong desire to see Japan once again take up the reins of innovation and recover from both the immediate crisis and address long-term, structural needs.
I will reflect in detail on the book after reading, but will finish here by saying that Brian could not have been more gracious. I had arrived early, before a crowd had amassed, and proceeded to rope him into talking to me for the better part of a half hour. From both of us being Jersey boys to our abiding love for Japan’s seamless, nationwide train transit network, there was a lot to share. Considering all that Japan has to offer the world, I hope that this book will light more than a few fires, for all of our sakes.
To learn more about the book and read selected excerpts, view: http://www.mckinsey.com/en/Features/Reimagining_Japan.aspx