The Wise Company Book Summary - The Wise Company Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Wise Company summary

Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi

How Companies Create Continuous Innovation

4.2 (70 ratings)
24 mins
Table of Contents

    The Wise Company
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    There are three main problems facing companies today.

    In 1995, the authors released their influential book The Knowledge-Creating Company. It explained the business practices behind some of Japan’s most successful companies. To this day it’s still considered a classic. But a lot has changed since 1995.

    At the heart of that book was knowledge management. It explained how companies can take advantage of both explicit knowledge, like statistics and data, and tacit knowledge, the kind of insights you gain through experience. These days, however, knowledge has become more accessible, more abundant, more global, and more complex. As a result, we should focus on how to harness and use that knowledge more wisely.

    The key message here is: There are three main problems facing companies today.

    Despite the abundance of knowledge, companies still fail. Even once-great titans like Kodak, Circuit City, and General Motors have been brought to their knees. There are three reasons for this.

    The first is that many executives are over-reliant on explicit knowledge, such as data, numbers, and analytical formulas.

    This kind of knowledge might tell an automobile company which price points a customer desires. But it says little about the features and experience the customer desires.

    More to the point, explicit knowledge won’t help companies navigate change. For one, it lacks context. It can also mislead executives into thinking that there are one-size-fits-all solutions. Instead, companies must understand social phenomena, and that’s hard to do by looking only at numbers.

    Second, companies must think about the future they want to create.

    To become both successful and sustainable, companies need to recognize what they are: social entities. Businesses have a social impact, and this needs to be considered as part of the mission.

    Take the founder of Honda Motor, Soichiro Honda. When he was developing low-emission engines, he boasted that the mission was to beat the Big Three – Ford, GM, and Chevy. But then he heard that his engineers had a different mission – to develop engines that would make the world a better place for their children. Honda knew his engineers were right. He felt so ashamed that he announced his retirement.

    This leads us to the final reason, the need for wise leaders.

    Wise leaders are the ones who can contextualize what is happening in the here and now and take the right action without hesitating. Above all, wise leaders can offer superior value to their customers while also leading a morally responsible business – one that exists in harmony with society.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Wise Company?

    Key ideas in The Wise Company

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Wise Company about?

    The Wise Company (2019) is a follow-up to the authors’ influential book The Knowledge-Creating Company. It brings the techniques and practices of running a successful business into the twenty-first century, where a fast-changing and chaotic marketplace is the new normal.

    Best quote from The Wise Company

    Above all, creating the future must extend beyond the narrow interest of the company. It must be about pursuing the common good.

    —Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi
    example alt text

    Who should read The Wise Company?

    • CEOs and business owners
    • Executives looking for reliable management tips
    • Anyone interested in the secrets behind Japanese business practices

    About the Author

    Ikujiro Nonaka has been developing influential and game-changing business practices since the 1960s when he initiated new management practices at Fuji Electric. He’s since gone on to become one of the most respected business theorists in the world, with his insights into knowledge management changing the way many companies are run.

    Hirotaka Takeuchi is a professor at Harvard Business School and is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review. He’s co-authored many influential works with Ikujiro Nonaka, including The Knowledge-Creating Company and “The New New Product Development Game,” an article that’s credited with inspiring the Scrum framework for software development.

    Categories with The Wise Company

    Books like The Wise Company

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    27 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial