I just received my copy of Dan Pink's new book (thank you, Dan), The Adventures of Johnny Bunko - The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need, and I am already writing about it. Dan and I corresponded about manga at the time he went to Japan months ago. The impact of a comic book that teaches lessons applicable to business did not hit me until now that I have the book in my hands.
Manga is the word for Japanese (or Japan-inspired) comics. In Japan, manga isn’t just for kids. You can find manga histories, manga how-to guides, and manga cookbooks. In fact, one—fourth of all printed material in Japan is in comics. And the form has become wildly popular in just about every other country on the planet. As Forbes says, manga is the “hardiest and most voracious cultural virus presently known to human society.”
Susan Berfield writes in Business Week, that the Johnny Bunko experiment comes at a time when business book publishers, like any others, are contending with readers who have less time to gather information from the printed page.
Bunko is an office jockey at Boggs Corp., a bumbling Everyman trapped in a job he loathes, wondering how he got there. Enter a supernatural career adviser, Diana, who emerges from Bunko's chopsticks late one soulless night at the office. She is sarcastic, tough, and wise and reveals to Johnny the six essential lessons for thriving in the new world or work.
The story itself can be enough to draw us in, after all, who has not had a similar experience? Well, aside from the magic character... unless you did. And, drawing us in is exactly what Pink plans to do with the activities surrounding the book launch.
Pink Does Social Media
Readers will be asked to send in photos of the Johnny Bunkos in their offices, suggestions for the seventh lesson, and narration to accompany drawings. I see many more opportunities with the book, which I read in less than one hour last night.
For example choosing a color palette, adding characters that are custom to your experience, and changing the marketing challenge to something that resonates more with you.
One note of interest is that Rob Ten Pas, the artist who worked with Pink on the book, is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), the school I had the privilege of visiting last week. Pas is the winner of TOKYOPOP's annual Rising Stars of Manga competition.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting their first job?