Johnny Bunko and His Career

Jun 24 2008

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Just finished—literally, just—a career management book called The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. It’s pretty short, it’s got good advice, and it’s got great art. It needs to be : it’s a manga.

This sort of thing is commonplace in Japan, where you’ll find how-to manga on just about any topic, from medical advice to sex. So it’s neat to see one on this side of the Pacific, written by a well-respected career guide (he also wrote Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind) and drawn by a top-notch American manga artist.

The advice is, as usual, simple but true. With career advice, it’s all about the presentation. We all know the importance of much of this, but we need to be struck by it afresh. Which he does.

For what it’s worth, the book offers this advice:

  1. There is no plan.
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.
  3. It’s not about you.
  4. Persistence trumps talent.
  5. Make excellent mistakes.
  6. Leave an imprint.

I argue that “talent” probably doesn’t exist, but the point remains. Again, this is all sensible stuff, but it’s how it’s presented that really makes it work.

The story follows Johnny Bunko, a recent college grad struggling to figure out why he’s not satisfied at work. He breaks open a pair of chopsticks, to be visited by a spirit who gives him career advice. Sure, it’s corny—and it’s played that way—but it works.

Strongly recommended; I’m thinking of giving copies to everyone I know who’s nearing college graduation.

There’s also a great little animation at the Amazon.com site.

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