When I first heard about The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, to say I was skeptical would be an understatement. I mean, it’s a career guide in the form of a manga or comic book – depending on which term you are familiar with.
From what I understand, career guides are supposed to be big serious books that you read at the library during the last years of high school. Or possibly when you are just starting out in your career and in need of some sound advice. The career guides I’m used to echo what counselors and my parents told me as I graduated high school – make a plan, choose something safe like accounting or business and then, work hard. In all that advice from the experts, no one ever mentioned anything about job satisfaction or actually liking your job.
And then we come to the simple fact that this book is a manga. Confession time: I have never sat down and read a comic book, Japanese or American. To my thinking, comics are frivolous and only for kids. Real adults don’t read them, despite what you may see on the trains in Japan.
But wait a minute, let’s think about this…career guides are usually boring and useless because of outdated information and no fun to use; young people need career guidance more than any other segment of the population; and young people seem to love the ease of reading comic books.
Well, what do you know? This book sounds like it could be on to something. After reading it, I can gladly tell you that the author, New York Times best-seller Daniel H. Pink, and artist, Rob Ten Pas, have put together something special. Yes it’s the first American business book in manga, but its much more than that.
It might just be the perfect guidebook for people thinking about their future or current careers. If I had any say in the matter, it would become required reading for all high school students. I wish someone would have given me a copy when I was younger.
Pink says he was inspired to create the book after seeing how Japanese tear through manga. He was quoted as saying people were “racing through it, devouring it. Coming from prose, I’d love to see someone read my stuff with that greedy speed.”
He also said that manga, contrary to my original thinking, “is a very potent way to tell stories, convey ideas, and give advice in a world where people have limited time and attention spans.”
In talking about the types of career guides I am used to, Pink said, “Career books in the United States are painfully, alarmingly out of sync with the times. They’re packed with information that’s outdated before it’s even published. What they want from a book is what they can’t get from the Internet: strategic lessons, broad lessons, those things that elude Google-ing.”
And that is exactly what the book gives the reader. Yes, it takes less than an hour to read, and yes, if you really wanted to, you could flip to the last page and see a list of the six key points, but that is not the point. This is a book that you actually tear through and along the way, learn some valuable lessons.