From Zero to Kyocera
A Company Philosophy to Grow People and Organizations
by Kazuo Inamori
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Pub Date 30 Oct 2020 | Archive Date 9 May 2021
The eye-opening business philosophy and life wisdom of one of Japan’s most influential entrepreneurs.
This book is not merely a business how-to but a guide to personal growth.
Kazuo Inamori is a global entrepreneur who founded Kyocera and KDDI and lifted Japan Airlines out of bankruptcy to solid profitability as its chairman.
Inamori also established the non-profit Inamori Foundation and the Kyoto Prize to honor researchers and artists all over the world.
He has received the title of Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his outstanding contributions to society.
Along the way, he has published over 60 books in Japanese which have sold over 19 million copies in 21 different languages.
This book focuses on the often-dramatic ups and downs of his life and reveals how he arrived at his guiding principle, “Respect the Divine and Love People.”
In the book’s introduction, he makes a promise to the reader: If you adopt the management philosophy and lifestyle laid out in this book, you are certain to succeed both in business and in life.
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Average rating from 11 members
From Zero to Kyocera by Kazuo Inamori is a great novel describing the highs and mostly lows of starting a company off of very little money. This abstract managing tactic gives readers a different view of how the current standards of management are flawed and those that are tried true because the author of this book found some of these things out the hard way. I love how he tells us a little about the business of Japan and how him changing the way he spends his money aligned better with American business. overall a fantastic novel for those interested in business and success.
Wow, what a wonderful life's work. I read this book in two settings. The author has shown how he was able to found and lead successful companies time and again with his effort and belief in the good for all. Chosen anecdotes share important turnign points in the company's growth. Inamori went onto a cathedral project of making long distance communicaiton cheaper in japan with KDDI. He has also showed the turning point in his life when he decided to award others instead of being awarded, turn around Japanese Air lines performance, trian budding managers. Inamori's story is an example of where goodness can still win in business.
Amazing read! It really opened my mind wide! Loved every bit of this book! Would Highly recommend it!
This book restores confidence with the human.
Kazuo INAMORI, famous Japanese engineer who founded Kyocera, reports in this short book his experience as a manager and gives us keys of his success. He emphasises his management methods which are human centred, privileged consultation with employees, good gouvernance and strong leadership.
I particularly liked how Kazuo INAMORI shared his values and methods with young mangers.
I recommend this book for those who are looking for an optimistic perspective in humankind.
I read this book from the English version. It is an electronic book that I accessed thanks to NetGalley. Thank you to the dear PHP Institute in this sense. First of all, I must say that I started the book without knowing anything about Kyocera and Kazuo Inamori. What attracted me was the title of the book. As I am familiar with the name Kyocera, I was aware that it is a big company, of course. I wanted to read this book because I was wondering how to do it to create a company from scratch. Frankly, I started out by thinking that he was someone who knew what he was doing and was not a stranger to the industry and management, so I wouldn't find much for myself. I thought I wouldn't be able to connect much, but still, I hoped that I could learn something.. On the contrary, I came across someone who fits my life principles very well and I loved Inamori not only as a manager but also as a person. Because in the professional environment dominated by fierce big names, the idea that well-intentioned people will be difficult to hold on is tried to be accepted and I am very uncomfortable with this situation. I think people should work not only to earn money, but also to benefit their environment and all other living things. Inamori continued this insistence in difficult conditions and gave me a ray of hope today. Even though I later heard about his actions and initiatives, he excited me even today. I wanted to have more Inamoris alive. Especially in business life ...
The book generally begins with Inamori having a hard time holding on to his radical mindset in business life. Most people are included in the system at this stage of life and allow these aspects to be erased, but there are also people like Inamori. Despite having nothing in his hand, he gets into a job on debt and tries to get people he can trust, who are really willing to work and who are mind-boggling. Even when he is at the company he works for, that is, winning the company does not bring him personal gain, he does not participate in the strike and fulfills his responsibility to his customers. Seeing this from the very beginning of the book made the book more interesting. Because learning his philosophy is the most important thing you need to learn about him. It was my respect and curiosity for him that made it easier for me to read the book. The person he turned into today did not disappoint me either. He showed that my dreams are possible, and proved that wealthy people in this world can come to this day not only because of their good luck, but because of hard work despite everything. As you study, you will see that he focuses on how many people he can contribute to being the head they are responsible for, rather than building and managing a company and making money.
" I myself did not do well on my entrance examinationsfor middle school and college, or on my employment tests. I am an ordinary person who posseses only average ability, and I think the same can be said for the group of people who comprise Kyocera."
Kazuo Inamori does not portray himself as an accomplished person who is expected to gain more from life. On the contrary, he says he was an ordinary person. He had an average success in his classes and said he had nothing to privilege him. Of course, this makes success more accessible. But I think his privilege lies in his insistence on being a good and virtuous person. This is what makes him special. Thanks to this, many people stayed by his side and respected him, even if they did not defend his belief. This was what impressed me the most. I was very impressed that he did not mind turning to the good and the right without thinking that he was being used or caring about it. Because I think we should determine what we are and will be, not our environment. I would like to come face-to-face with this man who is not content with what happened and who strives for everyone to benefit from this earnings, if only for once in my life and I would like to thank him.
"I was the second son in a family of seven children. I had a responsibility to help support my parents and siblings who lived in my home province of Kagoshima. I coulnd't even do that properly. How in the world was I guarantee the futures of employees I had only recently hired?
As a company manager, I myself did not even know what tomorrow held. And yet my employees were expecting ongoing improvement in their compensation over the coming years. The discussions I had with my employees at that time taught me for the first time that future guarantees were expected and for their families.
By this point I was deeply struck by the fact that I had started something much larger than I had realized initially. I came to understand that running a company was not about realizing my personal dreams, but about ensuring the livelihoods of employees and their families, both now and in the future."
I like this quote very much. He shows how he shaped his life for all his reasons, with his ups and downs without hiding. He explained why you need to move forward without giving up in places where you will be a newbie for a long time. It has never been polished. "The situation was hopeless and I was just working hard." said. He explained that he had nothing to offer and that he had to persuade someone to move forward. So miraculously things didn't work out. Someone did not touched their lives and changed it like a magic wand. This quote becomes an enlightenment text for every manager about why (s)he is responsible to his/her employees. Because it really reveals the difference by putting the family in the equation. I have an idea, and I will achieve it at all costs, it should be remembered that each employee has his / her responsibilities beyond his insistence.
Seiwajyuku schools are also proof of what he is like. While holding the key to success, he did not hesitate to extend this to company executives or executive candidates who might be rivals. While doing this, of course, he has secured his job. He put the parts in which he explained his principles at the beginning of the course and thus he was able to eliminate those who wanted to enter the sector except for good intentions. These lessons, which focus on principles rather than techniques, have over time conceived of fair and hardworking managers. These schools contribute to the development of the sector, not his personal gain. At least that is Inamori's purpose.
There is something I always believe. We were not sent to this world alone or our formation did not jump into solitude. We were born and grow in crowds. So there is a reason for this. We cannot live selfishly and ignore others and live solely for our own gain. We must act with great enthusiasm and be able to complete our shortcomings thanks to someone else's advantages. Likewise, we must be instrumental in gaining others from our advantages. Distributed talents and achievements enable us to be one. We are pieces of a whole puzzle, and the big picture would be incomplete without one of us. Our experiences can offer others a chance to live. As Inamori said, "Human beings cannot grow alone." Selfishness will always make a person undeveloped.
Inamori is full of surprises. Their methods are timeless, yet simple as well. It's amazing how simple methods have made such a big difference. For example, accepting without knowing how to do the job. This created great opportunities for him and his employees to improve themselves. In this way, it became a pioneer in many subjects in the sector. Truly admirable. He also sincerely gave his depressions and showed clearly that management was full of great risks. In this way, we were able to see the mood of a manager who knew what he was doing and was not able to cope with sudden problems, but who was confused and did not hesitate to show it. Because that's what a novice will do while trying to hold on in the industry: He'll falter many times. While studying, one feels that you will be more ready for what may happen to you as a manager.
There are great analogies in the text. These are from a variety of fields and are pretty self-explanatory. Someone outside the industry can find something of themselves in the book. The text is already written so sincere that you think Inamori is giving you advice. While I was reading, I dreamed that he was chatting with me, drinking tea or something. Making this possible increased the fluency of the book and made it readable. Of course there is a lot of repetitive thoughts and at times it bothers but on the whole it has been pretty well done. For example, he talks too much about honesty and morality to emphasize his principle. This may irritate a certain segment. The fact that it is repeated so much may suggest that the author is trying to convince the other person about a feature that he does not have. The charity association established, The schools and the organization of an award made me believe in his sincerity, of course. And what I have read about AVX and its president Butler, which I think is abusing Inamori, is one of the things that reinforces my belief in him. However, others may not think like me. I do not think that Inamori had such a goal while writing the pleasant book.
Throughout the book, there are expressions that will create confusion in terms of time. For example, I do not fully understand where DDI and KDDI are chronologically. At the end of the book, this order is given in a cleaner text with dates, but probably when the author adds to the first edition, this chronological order has been broken by adding later experiences in between. Although Japan Airlines is much later, it is also disrupting things because it is included in the examples in the first chapters. It would be good to add the dates of the examples given in order to consolidate them. Because someone who does not know his life and his steps well and does not know him well disappears from time to time. Perhaps a front section should have been added that mentions brands and companies. This would be quite helpful. Of course it is better to quote sections of his life and experiences where necessary, but I wanted to see a reference date next to it.
One of my criticisms is about the explanation about the origin of the word ceramic in the introduction of the book. I think that part is not suitable for the overall but purpose of the book. In the section where there are three paragraphs devoted to this, it definitely breaks the fluency. Since it is a technical knowledge, it causes those who are not in that field to lose their interest. Since it does not contribute to the book, I think it would be more appropriate to remove it. It would be great to see this golden information if this were a guidebook for that job. He wanted to explain a point that was obviously confused or sometimes misrepresented. However, this is a book that shows the method and explains the working principle. So I would have preferred not to see this technical information.
Another issue is related to layout. There is no paragraph in the section entries. I could not understand if this was a conscious touch or a problem with the version I read. That's why I wanted to mention here just in case. Regardless of this, I liked seeing photos pointing to the touchstones at the end of the book. As you read, it is very helpful to come to the end and look at those moments in terms of internalizing the subject. Well, I could not do this in my own version because in the NetGalley Shelf application, you are centering the page and you cannot see the whole page. There is no such problem in the text part, but there is a problem with the visuals.
"It's the manager's lot to agonize over various managerial issues and other problems, but whether or not she can achieve a solution depends on her ability to become completely engrossed and think about the issue at hand 24 hours a day, both when asleep and awake."
There was a place that caught my attention in one episode. The pronoun "she" was preferred for the person referred to as "the manager", although it means general. I wondered if this was a cultural preference or a choice of author or translator. I get very nervous when using the sexist pronouns. In my opinion, we can make an improvement in the language and switch to the use of "it" pronouns in cases where gender is not important. For now, the usage of "(s) he" is common, but "it" seems cleaner.
It was surprising for me to finish a guide book so quickly. However, when I came to the end, I left absolutely delighted to know Kazuo Inamori. If I had to run a brand or company, I would definitely prefer the Amoeba method mentioned in the book. Considering that creative destruction is essential and economic fluctuations have become more frequent in narrower times due to technological developments, it is best to be a manager who is always alert but sensitive to the environment. I recommend this book to executive candidates who want to have a restful sleep when they go to bed, but who may also have insomnia in order to be useful, but most of all to raise awareness about the ease of being a good person. It should also be presented to Turkish readers.
Book Review: From Zero to Kyocera, A Company Philosophy to Grow People and Organizations by Kazuo Inamori
Published by the PHP Institute, Inc., October 30, 2020
(Updated and revised, originally published in 1997)
A quick read of a gem of a book that definitely requires a reread for further perusal, study and notetaking.
Originally published in 1997 with the title 敬天愛人 (Keiten Aijin, "Respect the Divine and Love People"), the book weaves together the author's business philosophy and managerial methodology, and contains the "...'formula for success' and can serve as a bible both for business management and for life...".
Briefly, the management system is encapsulated in what the author coins the "Amoeba Management" system with emphasis on an "hourly efficiency system", and places high value on employee accountability and the maximization of personal potential, with definitive and quantifiable benchmarks and goals to improve business results, and ensure customer satisfaction. Organizationally, the company is divided into amoebic units broken down by product, manufacturing process to the point of sales, or such.
It is a system that puts great emphasis on employee satisfaction and in quality of life issues, in the author's words and expressions, to a Zen-like harmonious degree, and extends to "..everyone connected to your company, including employees, customers, business partners, shareholders, and local community...".
Who is Dr. Kazuo Inamori (和夫稲盛 ), KBE?
Born on January 30, 1932, he's the Japanese engineer who on 1959 at age twenty-seven left his first company job because of disagreements with his bosses as to how their took care of the company and the welfare and interests of its employees, and led seven other colleagues to form Kyoto Ceramics, branded Kyocera, with a grand sum from three investors of JPY 3 million ($8,3k in 1959 dollars; $75k in 2021 dollars), and a bank loan.
And, not to make too much of a fine point of it, the author's initial cash contribution at the birth of Kyoto Ceramics 1959 is indeed zero.
(What a superb and catchy title!)
(Prices are the reviewer's calculations based on FX historical rates pegged to the gold standard prior to the 1972 "Nixon Shock", and several other tables.)
Kyocera, now a Tokyo Stock Exchange Nikkei 225 blue chip stock with a market cap of $23 billion (April 2021) is a global conglomerate that manufactures and distributes copiers and digital imaging products, advanced ceramics, precision tools, cutlery, kitchen tools, medical products, solar solutions, phones and mobile phones.
The author, a prodigious writer and author of sixty books, who also happens to be a Zen Buddhist monk, also founded KDDI, with AU mobile, a Japanese telecommunications giant with over 30% of the Japanese market.
In 1984, Dr. Inamori established the Inamori Foundation which awards the annual Kyoto Prize, Japan's highest prize in arts and sciences, to honor those who have made "...extraordinary contributions to science, civilization, and the spirituality of humankind...", classified in three categories: Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy.
Among the awardees are Jane Goodall and Avram Noam Chomsky. To date, ten Kyoto Prize laureates have also been awarded the Nobel Prize.
In 2010 at age 77, Dr. Inamori became the CEO of bankrupt Japan Airlines and led it through its restructuring and eventual re-listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after two years.
On November 28, 2019, at age 87, eighteen years after the first publication of this book, Dr. Kazuo Inamori, received the title of Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) from Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom for his leadership and compassion as a global entrepreneur and philanthropist.
// "...If you base your actions on beautiful, virtuous thoughts and work diligently to grow your company and expand your fields of operation, you cannot help but succeed.
Not only that, but you will establish harmonious relationships with everyone connected to your company, including employees, customers, business partners, shareholders, and local community members. and this will ensure the long-term prosperity of your company..."
- Kazuo Inamori //
Review based on an ARC from PHP Institute, Inc. and NetGalley.