ZOFF, a maker of cheap, chic glasses in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district, is hardly a place you would expect to find dedicated followers of management theory. But one day its boss, 38-year-old Takeshi Ueno, came into a staff meeting waving a book about baseball with the picture of a gamine schoolgirl on the cover. It had the clunky title: “What if the Female Manager of a High-School Baseball Team read Drucker’s ‘Management’”. Mr Ueno told his staff to read it. Satoko Osanai, his sales manager, did.

佐芙(ZOFF),一家平价的时尚眼镜连锁店,座落于东京的原宿区(Harajuku),这个你几乎想象不到会有管理学爱好者出没的地方。有一天它的老板,38岁的上野武(Takeshi Ueno),举着一本关于棒球的书来参加员工会议,书的封面上还画着大眼睛的高中女生。它还有一个冗长的标题:“如果高中棒球队的女助理读了德鲁克的《管理》”。上野先生推荐他的员工要阅读此书。而他的销售经理小佐智子(Satoko Osanai),已经读过了。

Like many young businesswomen across Japan this year, Ms Osanai became an instant fan—not of baseball, but of the late management guru, Peter Drucker. After reading the book, she says, she started treating colleagues and customers differently. As news of the novel travelled from office to café to home, its sales topped 1m. According to the publisher, the cutesy manga cover was aimed more at attracting salarymen than women. Yet almost half of the buyers have been female. What’s more, sales for Drucker’s original works, such as “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices”, published in 1973, have soared. Some 300,000 copies of the book have sold in the past six months, compared with 100,000 copies in the previous 26 years.


The unlikely catalyst for this cultish enthusiasm is a fictional teenager called Minami. Like many high-school girls in Japan, she becomes the gofer for the baseball team’s male coach. Unlike many of her compatriots, she is the kind of girl, as the book says, who leaps before she looks. Horrified by the team’s lack of ambition, she sets it the goal of reaching the high-school championships. She stumbles upon Drucker’s 1973 book, and it helps her turn the rabble into a team.


Drucker’s advice to focus on clear and measurable goals has resonated deeply in a country where the most common management injunction is gambare, which loosely (and unhelpfully) means “push yourself”. Drucker, who loved Japan as much as he was confounded by it, would have been thrilled. A year before his death in 2005, he gave prophetic warning that Japanese firms might soon be overtaken by rivals from South Korea, China and India. He urged them to brace for competition by working out what they were good at, what they should not do and what their values were.更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/


Not much of his advice has been heeded. Though some young outfits such as Zoff are razor-sharp, others remain corporate octopuses squeezing the life out of Japanese business. Women remain an underused asset: only 61% of them work, their average income is less than half that of men and they occupy barely 1% of boardroom seats. If Drucker, with the help of a headstrong teenager, can posthumously change that, it would be his greatest gift to Japan.