Book Review: Made in Japan by Akio Morita

Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony
Great story on how Akio Morita orchestrated the growth of the Japanese electronics industry following the death and destruction in World War II. Stories of the small guy taking on the big guys is always interesting to read and this book has a lot of that.

I recommend this book for those interested in understanding how Sony Corporation grew to become what it is today and how Japanese corporations worked their way in the International markets that were highly dominated in a “protected” way by large western firms during the 60s and 70s. This book is certainly inspirational for all the entrepreneurs of the World who want to make it big. It shows how perseverance and the will power to do something different will come a long way towards a firm’s success than investor funding will do. From a small factory in a war torn nation, the founders of the company successfully nurtured a dedicated group of workers who formed the core team that made Sony’s products. The story of how they came up with the name “Sony” is also an interesting read. The founders wanted a name that would sound more global and generic rather than like a Japanese name.

The fact that Sony is struggling today with the lack of any innovative or competitive products in the marketplace seems to indicate how transformation in any organization where the mantle is passed is subject to the fight between incumbents and the new entrants. A company has to always be nimble and watch out for how the marketplace is evolving. A competitor always comes unannounced and innovation always takes the market by surprise. Amazon’s kindle e-reader took off when Sony was still wondering how best to create a better e-reader. When innovation in television display and packaging was accelerating, Sony took a cautious approach that slowed its growth in the market. Every company has a lesson to learn in history, but Sony has definitely sealed a legacy of its own.

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