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The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

Looking for a little inspiration to move you forward in your career.  How about a comic book?  The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is the latest book by author Dan Pink, who also penned A Whole New Mind – another of my favorites.  The book is done entirely in the popular style of Japanese animation known as Manga.  Who knew that manga could be so enlightening?  The characters are particularly funny, with career counseling coming from a fairy who appears when the main character breaks open carry out chopsticks.  Not exactly the run of the mill career guide.

The book is an easy read, makes some very meaningful points about how to approach your professional career, and the comic book format makes it particular enjoyable to read.

There are 6 key points outlined in the book.  Here they are with a few extra notes to add context.

  1. There Is No Plan – I know this one very well, having been involved in companies that have gone through downsizing, mergers, acquisitions and other assorted craziness.  Pink asserts that you can either make “safe” decisions that may lead to something better someday, or make decisions that lead to the opportunities to learn exciting new things, build skills, and enjoy life now.
  2. Think Strengths, Not Weaknesses – Pink references Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of my favorite authors, and discusses the idea of leveraging that which you love and are good at to make a living.  Instead of trying to improve upon that which you despise or struggle with, focus on your strong points.  This will ultimately lead to a job where you can achieve “flow” on a regular basis – with time flying by as you enjoy and are engaged in what you do.
  3. It’s Not About You – The most valuable people use their talents to bring out the best in others.  If you want to improve your life, start by improving someone else’s.
  4. Persistence Trumps Talent – The best of the best are those who stick with it in the tough times.  For musicians and athletes alike, it comes down to practicing hard every day.  The same is true in business.
  5. Make Excellent Mistakes – Too many people get hung up on trying to avoid failure at all costs.  In doing so, they never try anything new.  It is ok to fail, as long as it gets you closer to excellence.
  6. Leave An Imprint – Life is short.  Do something that matters.

Whether you like business books or not, this one is a must read.  It is so different from most of what is out there and presents the message in such an innovative way, that you are sure to think a little differently about work by the time you get done reading it.

Ja Mata

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko