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BW Businessworld

Daizo Ito, President, Panasonic India

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What are you reading at the moment? What have you learnt from it?
Being an ardent reader, I am currently reading the Bhagavad Gita and am deeply influenced by it. The Gita talks about many significant things in life including decision making skills and cognitive abilities.

The last book I finished reading was ‘The Goal: A Process of On-going Improvement’. It talks about the fundamentals of identifying and solving problems created by constraints. My erudition mainly stems from one of the most important message in this book which taught me to seek the pointlessness and remove them and to find the inefficient and improve them.

The one book all leaders must read... and why?
One book which all leaders should read is the 'Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard' by Chip and Dan Heath (2010). This incredibly motivational book tells you about why you must accept change as it helps you pursue innovation and strive for the best. People usually try to resist change as the results are uncertain. This book lays out a practical framework to work out on newer possibilities.

One book everyone in your sector should pick up... and why?
One of my favorite books is the 'The 21 irrefutable laws of Leadership' by John C. Maxwell. This book teaches you various ways to encourage your team to work in coordination and instills a feeling of teamwork. It lays out a concrete framework to work out effective inspirational skills to reach your goals within a targeted time period.

What kind of books would you normally buy while traveling?
One of my personal favourites written by Konosuke Matsushita, Panasonic founder is ‘Not for Bread Alone: A Business Ethos, a Management Ethic’. Other than this, I often like reading about topics on economy and leadership, which I tend to enjoy when I travel.

Have you written any books?
No, I haven’t ever written a book. A lot of people have requested me to write on topics related to global marketing and leadership. But as of now, I do not intend to write one.

The books you grew up with? What did you like most about it?
Books like ‘Uesugi Yozan’ by Fuyuji Domon and ‘Moments of Truth’ by Jan Carlzon are amongst a few I enjoy the most. The former book talks about recruiting the right people for the right position and why favouritism is not a desirable leadership trait. The latter one is about the importance of delegation of authority and devolution of power. It also emphasizes on how quick decision making is very important and can help achieve improved service.

Your book shelf consists of....
My book shelf consists of books of various genres including fictional, self-help, non-fictional, sci-fi and business. Some of my favorite reads among them include ‘Uesugi Yozan’ by Fuyuji Domon and ‘Moments of Truth’ by Jan Carlzon.

Where do you shop for books?
I usually shop for books online using websites like Flipkart and Snapdeal.

Have your reading habits changed in the past four or five years?
My reading habits have transformed moderately in the past few years. Since travelling to new places has always been something I enjoy the most, reading on electronic devices is much more opportune so I prefer reading on my tablet.

One book you cherish that you received as a gift... and who gave it to you.
I once received a book from the former chairman of Panasonic, Kunio Nakamura. It talked about leadership and motivational skills desired in a successful CEO, which has helped me manage difficult situations during the hard times.

Which is the e-reader you read on?
I prefer reading on my iPad as its screen size suits my use.

(Compiled by Sanjitha Rao Chaini)

(A version of this appeard in BW|Businessworld issue dated 27 January on page 96)