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This book by Katie Anderson, framed around her friendship and many conversations with ex-Toyota Senior Leader, Isao Yoshino, is nothing short of wonderful. It uses the analogy of fabric weaving throughout, the Warp being the Known, and the Weft being that which we discover. It's a powerful metaphor for many of the learnings we get from a lifetime of Mr Yoshino's experiences. Underlying strong principles and bonds providing a framework for the light and shade of an incredible career. I'm trying to read it from start-to-finish in a conventional way, as there is an element of chronology to the book. However, I have also dipped into various sections already, and it works just as well that way (maybe better). The layout encourages you to just dive right in, whether you've got an hour to spare or one minute. It's just a lovely book to keep coming back to and I know I'm going to refer to it often in months and years to come.
There's lots in here to learn about the workings of Toyota and the Toyota Production System, lots about Japanese Culture - which is really fascinating in its own right, and it is absolutely packed with guidance on how to be a 'People-Centred' Leader. The book is also packed with fantastic stories and vignettes of Mr Yoshino's life, and his work inside and outside Japan. He's quite a character for sure!
Katie has captured so much in this book that's of value to 21st Century Leaders. Forget about it being about Toyota or Japanese Management styles, what I think this book is about is: how to lead with wisdom and a love for humanity. And who couldn't use some guidance on that these days?
I have been looking forward to this book so much, perhaps more than any recent non-fiction book, having followed Katie's writing and speaking the last couple of years. To get lessons pretty much direct from the mouth of one of Toyota's great teachers is a rare and valuable thing. I'm only a few chapters in so far, and already I know that this book will definitely add a new dimension to my understanding of Toyota and Japanese culture. This book is refreshingly different to every other lean book I have read, with a real focus on the people development aspect that I strongly believe is at the heart of Toyota's successful culture. Reading Isao Yoshino's reflections, beautifully captured by Katie, will probably be the closest I get to "working at Toyota in Japan", and I've already picked up some invaluable tips to use in my practice. One that particularly struck me was the setting of targets being determined by what is required rather than what we think is achievable or what management wants. This book will be a valuable addition to any developing leader's library.
This book has left me feeling inspired and eager to keep learning, which could be described as the books main aim. Whilst this book is in many ways about Toyota, and the Lean learning many have drawn from Toyota’s story, don’t come to read this book to learn more about Lean and improvement tools, this book is not about that at all. It is more foundational, and arguably important, than that. It is about leadership’s role in creating the conditions in which improvement can thrive. It is a book about the heart and soul of leading to learn in an organisation that values its people, as much if not more, than it’s service and product.
This book builds on other learning for me about leadership choices, deliberate daily gestures and acts Leaders can choose everyday. The everyday habits that can be developed over time if leaders deliberately choose to ‘lead to learn’. For me, this book helps to unfold and reveal more about the ‘how’ to help people learn to lead and to lead to learn. To inspire their teams, to ensure improvement and to help their people weave their own way through their careers and their lives.
I had heard of Isao Yoshino, but didn't know much about him until I read this book. Now, I only wish I could have worked with him! It's a shame most companies aren't managed the way he managed Toyota. I especially love how he created the "Change Yourself" program to encourage employees to constantly stretch and improve themselves. He is a true innovator.
The book is written in short, easy to digest stories and lessons that make reading it a delight. I will definitely be referring back to it whenever I need a boost of motivation. Highly recommend to friends and family!
I recently finished Katie Anderson ‘s Learning to Lead and Leading to LEARN book. I am yet to finish case studies at the end but I wanted to share my thoughts on this book.
This book isn’t a technical guide to achieve promotions or to get jobs, but rather philosophical journey of Isao Yoshino (Currently Lecturer at Nagoya Gakuin University) who inspired the world with his way of learning and implementing.
I got really curious right from the beginning of his journey. So many relatable efforts like, the struggle to learn foreign language, the dream which kept him motivated, persistent to learn something new, so on.
Thank you so much Katie for articulating his journey which I hope will inspire people who tend to give up easily after first attempt.
I strongly suggest everyone to read this book whenever you get a chance.
Finished reading your book, what an amazing book. I belive the best book I have read that gets to the heart of Toyota's way ... I hope many Leaders buy and read this and it goes a long way to dispelling many of the misunderstandings associated with 'Lean' or Toyota Production / Business System.
The story telling is incredible and so many parallels to my own journey so far , but I am sure that was the point !
Thank you so much for all the hard work both you and Yoshino san and for sharing your stories...
Katie Anderson has done a great piece of work. In addition to providing a refreshing view on the people based side of TPS, she's gone to great lengths to capture the considered and nuanced insights of her primary contributor, Yoshino-san. Highly recommend the book. While it won't tell you in great detail as to how TPS is done, the stories and tales Katie draws from Yoshino-san will help you remember why TPS ( and the ultimate value it places on developing their people) is something worth aspiring to.
This is a tremendous book which, I have no doubt, will be seen as a classic in this field. It must have been such a privilege for Katie to hear all of Isao Yoshino's lessons, and it is such a gift that she has distilled and documented them all into these pages. There are so many powerful lessons and useful nuggets of information - relevant to anyone interested in learning how to lead. I know I will be referring back to this book a great deal.
"Learning to LEAD, Leading to LEARN" is one of best books I've read in quite some time. It's a thought provoking read stimulating reflections upon my own experiences but how learning should be at heart of every leader and organisation. A huge thanks to Katie Anderson for creating such a wonderful book with such rich insights.
Absolutely loved this book and the powerful insights of Yoshino-san's exceptional career at Toyota. It will give every reader numerous motivations for Hansei i.e honest and profound self-reflection. Thank you for this great contribution to the leadership-learning world.