- Mangaka : Satoru Iwata, Edited by Hobonichi
- Publisher : VIZ Media
- Genre : Non-fiction
- Published : April 2021
Since the rise of video games, Nintendo has been a household name for many. From the days of huge arcade machines to the dawn of handheld consoles, Nintendo has been a big player in the field. It is, of course, not the work of a single person, but by the collective efforts of employees. However, the company needs a good leader in order to function effectively. The late Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, is the prime example of that. Known for his humility and great leadership, we get to see a glimpse of his thought processes in Ask Iwata.
Just as the title suggests, the entire book consists of Iwata’s thought processes. He answers specific questions in detail, often adding anecdotes and lessons he learned throughout the process. The book starts with him as a typical student who starts messing with his dream calculator. From that calculator, he manages to create games for his close friend and very first fan. He talks about that lowly beginning and his rise towards being the president of one of the biggest gaming companies in the world.
1. Wisdom, Wisdom, Wisdom
As a man who has experienced both the highs and lows of life, Iwata has a lot of wisdom to share. That’s exactly what he did in this book. He shares the knowledge he learned through working in different set-ups, as well as the wisdom he gained by working with countless individuals. He shares his views as someone who initially fancied computers, to a president who inherited millions in debt, and finally, to a multi-billion president. Despite his achievements, Iwata continues to be humble. He talks about company management, company visions, and what he thinks works best to build a healthy work setting both for yourself and your employees.
2. Light and Fluent
Since the book is about company management, and one in the gaming industry at that, we’ve expected Ask Iwata to be a heavy read. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if it's filled with jargons and whatnot. However, we’re pleasantly surprised that the book is easy to understand from start to finish. Even though we may not be able to handle a group of people as big as the Nintendo company during Iwata’s time, we still gained insights that we believe changed us for the better.
1. Obviously, Not for Everyone
Even though there are autobiographies in manga form like A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Hiroshima: The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa, Ask Iwata isn’t like that. Even though there are plenty of anecdotes, Ask Iwata is not an autobiography. It’s more a self-help guide or an inspirational non-fiction. That being said, this kind of book is not everybody’s cup of tea. We understand that, thus, here we are giving you a disclaimer.
Ask Iwata has been a good, insightful read. It may not be action packed or filled with wonders in the fantastical terms, but that’s the point of the book. The book is lighter than we’ve expected, and we’ve gained a handful of insights. Is the book worth checking out? If you’re not into non-fiction, then this book may not be for you. Is it worth your while? Probably, but it’s definitely worth it for us.