"Kaizen: The key to Japan's competitive success" by Masaaki Imai

Brian Gongol

One-paragraph review: Worth reading if you've already exhausted the introductory books on the subject, but far too intense to be read as a primer. Like many Japanese texts, it's heavy on super-dense charts and graphics depicting systems and interrelationships that just aren't accessible to a reader not intimately familiar with the examples being described. But for the reader who has already exhausted other material on the Toyota Production System and similar systems at places like Honda, this serves as a higher-level text. Some might want to dismiss a book on Japanese management from the roaring 1980s (considering the nation's macroeconomic stumbles since then), but the systems depicted in the book probably explain why the country hasn't suffered as much as other countries might have under the same macro circumstances.

Verdict: Useful for rounding out one's understanding of Japanese production systems, but too overwhelming unless one has read other introductory books on the topic beforehand.