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Drucker on Asia: A Dialogue Between Peter Drucker and Isao Nakauchi

Drucker on Asia: A Dialogue Between Peter Drucker and Isao Nakauchi

By Peter F. Drucker and Isao Nakauchi

Butterworth-Heinemann, 1997, 200 pp.

This "dialogue" is really a series of loosely collected monologues by renowned octogenarian business consultant Peter Drucker and Isao Nakauchi, founding CEO of a highly successful chain of convenience stores in Japan, and modestly described by an editor as "the most innovative executive in the world." The exchange occurred in late 1994 and early 1995 and is here translated from the Japanese.

The format is interesting -- relatively short remarks on topics of mutual interest, with little concern for overall coherence or continuity. The dialogue ranges from the emergence of China and the viability of the Japanese educational system to the role of the computer in business and the need for the radical reorganization of government. Those familiar with Drucker's writings will not find great surprises here, but the writing is nonetheless stimulating and reflects his seasoned wisdom. Drucker is optimistic about the future of Japan, more so than Nakauchi, who worries about the ability of Japanese to move beyond creative imitation to true innovation. Both strongly emphasize the importance of individual initiative, the need to engage employees of all organizations in the processing of information as well as the provision of labor, and the great desirability of "reinventing government" everywhere, but especially in Japan, to rid it of outdated or counterproductive functions.