For the past couple of months I have been on the road more than usual. Although it keeps me away from my family, it does have a side benefit of allowing for some quality reading time at night. There are a stack of books held in reserve for just this purpose.
A book that I recently finished is "Quest for the Dawn" by Shoji Kimoto. "Quest for the Dawn" is a fascinating true story set from about 1930 to the mid 1950s of a bold business quest to build an automobile from the ground up. The relentless inventors were Sakichi and Kiichiro Toyoda and, of course, the car manufacturer was the Toyota Motor Company.
Based on translations from their personal diaries, this story provides a powerful insight on the determination, vision and passion of the founders that built Toyota. It also gives a glimpse of the Just-in-Time philosophy that started from day one at Toyota and formed the groundwork of the modern Toyota Production System.
If you have the opportunity, pick up a copy of Quest for the Dawn. It is definitely worth the time to read. It is truly amazing that Toyota made it through their constant struggle to survive during those early years. In contrast to a large number of American companies with greed, short-term driven results and weak strategic direction, Toyota's culture is most honorable. The overwhelming factor in Toyota's success was passion, the key ingredient that is missing in many companies today.