Daigaku Yo-nenkan no Keieigaku ga 10-jikan de Zatto Manaberu (Learn Business Administration Taught in Four Years at Universities in 10 Hours)
224 pages, 127x188mm
September 16, 2016
At the University of Tokyo, new students of the Faculty of Economics must take basic subjects classified as Advanced Economics 1, at the Komaba Campus during the Autumn semester of their second year, before coming to the Hongo Campus. One of the subjects is Business Management, which has been my responsibility for over 20 years. One day, a student in my seminar came to me and said, “Your lecture got me interested in business administration, and I wonder if there are books on the subject that can be read in a day. Do you have a recommendation?” To this student, I replied, “There’s no such a book. You must take time properly to study,” rather feeling cross.
However, within six months since this conversation I have come to publish a book exactly like that. It wouldn’t take even a day to read through; it can be read in 10, or even 5 hours.
The truth be told, the project for this book came to me only after the conversation with my student, and my immediate response was “it is impossible.” Moreover, there were only a few months to write up a manuscript, which also seemed to me ridiculous. Nonetheless, a fleeting thought crossed my mind, “if it were possible for me to write up a manuscript in two weeks, if the text has the integrity that conveys the speed of writing, then readers may be able to read it as fast as it was written, perhaps in 10 hours in one sitting.” I replied to the editor, “I cannot promise to accept the offer, but please wait for just two weeks. If I cannot produce the book in this two-week period, this project should be forgotten.” Then, I started working on the manuscript, at any rate.
Thus the manuscript was written up in two weeks. What I did was to gather a wide range of content from my business management classes and other lectures, as well as topics that I came across at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Tokyo, extracting only the essence. Through this exercise, I myself was able to revisit my belief that business management and administration is full of insight into being a good citizen in corporate society, rather than it being an art of becoming rich. In corporate society, there are countless examples in which people make unconsidered judgment or action based on unfounded beliefs or misguided understanding, resulting in business failure, and even worse, deeply injuring others and making people unhappy. I reached a conviction afresh that studying business administration at the university level, even skimming it, would be beneficial as a first step toward a happy corporate society.
There is no doubt that readers will notice something self-deprecating in the text. They will sense this because the book honestly and openly relates the fact that theories and models in business administration are always verified by the business world or through data, and they are subject to modifications and denial. This is exactly why there is the potential for a correct theory or model to be advanced. It is an honor, rather than a shame, that I can describe something as being “denied scientifically at present,” as a scholar in business administration. Business management and administration is science, and this is precisely why it is taught at universities.
(Written by Nobuo Takahashi, Professor of Graduate School of Economics / 2018)