In many respects, books are meant to tell a story, create a fantasy, motivate, inspire, and overall change lives. Millions of individuals flocked to bookstores (online or physical), libraries, and seminars in order to pick up the latest in ‘self-help” books. Self-help books are meant to guide individuals and give them to the tools to make a change in their life. In the case of The Harada Method: The Spirit of Self Reliance, Norman Bodek and Takashi Harada provided a guide that not only transformed the lives of individuals but businesses large and small. Backed with endorsements from major executives and companies such as the Kirin Brewery and Uniqlo Clothing manufacturers, Coca-Cola Company, and several other, this book is an instrument meant to change the way in which individuals operate. The purpose of this book review is to give insightful analysis and information from the book that details why this is not an ordinary self-help guide.
Norman Bodek initially came up with the idea of writing this book through the string of events of gaining interns, to contacting his dear friend, Shigheiro Nakamura in order to teach his interns about the 38 MAP method which consists invaluable skills within the industry. Upon reaching the end of his weekly Skype lesson to the interns, Nakamura discussed “The Harada Method” by Takashi Harada. As Bodek listened intently, he became intrigued and flew to Japan in order to meet the men who started it all. The two formed a variable relationship where Bodek convinced Harada to come back to the states with him and co-write an Americanize version of “The Harada Method” in order to share the gospel with U.S companies and individuals. After two years of creating, they finalized their book and embarked on a literary motivation whirlwind tour where they taught at conferences, seminars, and to his very own students the concepts and principles of “The Harada Method.” Throughout the book Bodek reiterates the importance of self-reliance as it is essential in the process and “The Harada Method.” The principles of self-reliance are as follows: goals, purpose, analysis, action, and routine. These steps help in creating individuals who are self-reliant, goal oriented, developed to their fullest potential. The systematic approach is broken down into easy to implement steps within the work place. The steps are laid out not only for individuals but for managers and executives to use as motivational instruments in leading their staff.
There are essentially five forms within “The Harada Method” that Bodek explains, combined with his own analysis and tools that include steps to long-term goal setting, and making actions plans to reach those goals. The first steps in beginning the process are for the individual to make a list of past failures, in doing, so the individual is able to provide counter solutions to these problems that will help in achieving their future goals. The next steps include the individuals defining goals long-term and short term that are valuable in succeeding in life. The “Long-Term Goal Form” which is the framework of the “The Harada Method.” mainly draws on the individuals needs to be self-sufficient in thinking long-term for their future. Once these have been completed, written down with a thorough self-analysis completed the individual can then proceed to formulate their action plans This form is broken down into multiple parts that permit individuals to set goals at different levels of achievement, importance, and duration. The flexibility for this book to be used within a corporate setting is notable in his inclusion of the importance of a coach that is able to motivate, encourage, and keep their employees on track alongside the form to help reach their goals. These goals are valuable in and outside the workplace.
Bodek proceeds to detail “The Harada Method” tools which are pertinent in the success of the individual. These tools include the “33 Questions for Self-Reliance” that measures the self-reliance from the perspective of the individual. The “Open Window 64 Chart” these actions charts, ask that individuals select 10 tasks, pick out routines, and create new habits that will help them accomplish their goals. The “Routine Check Sheet” allows people to create daily checklists in order to keep them on track and build stronger routine. “Daily Diary” is one of the last forms and is a useful planning tool that keeps people not only organize but expounds on productivity skills that are key in their career and managing their day to day activities. Creating to-do lists help people look back on past accomplishments that help them reflect on how far they’ve come. Along with the guided steps and forms, Bodek also draws on the experiences, stories, and analysis of athletes, scholars, and executives, whom he interviews, on the importance of individuals understanding their invaluableness to themselves and the company. Managers are able to bring out the best in the employees by helping them set goals and achieve them which reflects back on their leadership and their organization. Drawing from sports analogies readers are able to set out goals in order to become champions in life and to those around them.
The tone of the book is positive and provides models for improved motivation and focused goal-setting that works on a basic level, but a somewhat simplistic psychological approach. Overall, the analysis is the human potential of self-reliance and self-improvement can be nurtured through the development of self-analysis and goal setting. This book is an essential tool in creating a work environment of encouragement, productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness for the long-term success of the organization. Bodek and Harada have utilized the “The Harada Method” by including a step-by-step guide in leaving past failures behind and creating ways to prevent future ones. In this context individuals are able to reach their goals at steady and manageable pace where they can set their own deadlines, manage their success, and mirror it in their daily activities.
Harada, Takashi; Bodek, Norman. Harada Method: The Spirit of Self Reliance. 2012. Vancouver, WA: PCS Press