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"Ji-atama Power," said to bring success in business, is now booming

3, 17. 2008

   "Ji-atama (head without wig on)" and "Ji-atama Power," which are not generally accepted concept, are now a much-talked-about subject in business magazines. They all say that a success in business is promised only by developing the ability of ji-atama. Voices are heard, however, that say ji-atama is not all that effective if only what the magazines and books say are followed.

Weekly Toyo Keizai issues 30-page feature

Business magazine and book discussing ji-atama power
Business magazine and book discussing ji-atama power

   The Kojien dictionary defines ji-atama as a "head without a wig on" or "natural hair." For unknown reasons, however, business magazines and other books dealing with businesses are now using the word to mean a sort of brains that bring out the ability to succeed in business. According to the book on business, "Training of Ji-atama power - Using 'Fermi Estimate' for Problem Solution," published by Toyo Keizai Inc. on Dec. 20, 2007, the word is used relatively frequently in the fields of personnel recruiting and consulting.

   Ji-atama, as used here, has no clear meaning or origin. In the context of "training ji-atama," however, the type of the people who are good at solving mathematical problems and puzzles are described as the people who have "good ji-atama." The weekly Toyo Keizai issued a 30-page feature on "ji-atama power" in its March 8, 2008 edition. According to this article, ji-atama power means "to arrive at a solution by thinking without relying on knowledge."

   The magazine explains about ji-atama power by giving specific examples. Supposing that such question as "how many cups of coffee can be sold on the Shinkansen train while it runs from Tokyo to Osaka?" is asked, the article suggests that ji-atama power is measured by whether or not a person can give an estimate as an answer on the basis of information already stored in his/her head, not by going into the internet or references. In this case, the article suggest the answerer can give a convincing answer if he/she let the number of the cups of coffee than can be sold the "number of persons who buy coffee multiplied by the number of drinking coffer per person," and break down by letting the number of persons who buy coffee the "the number of passengers multiplied by coffee purchase rate."

   The weekly Diamond, a rival magazine to Toyo Keizai, in the meantime, issued a feature on "Intellectual Industrial Revolution" in its Feb. 9 edition, in which it said that any one who brings about such revolution has a strong ji-atama. The magazine said such a person cope with a problem to find a solution by his/her own way of thinking, on the basis of information collected and organized by himself/herself. As an example, Diamond Co. noted the author of the "New Intellectual Production Method that Multiply Productivity by 10 Times - Way to Googlize Self." As an analyst who ranks IT business firms, the author assesses stock prices by operating a net community and issuing affiliate advertisement. While the net bubble economy was in its prime, the author continued down rating.

May need for interviewing job-seeking applicants by consulting and IT companies

   It may be summed up that the business magazines and books on business all say that the people who think thoroughly on the basis of a certain method would succeed.

   The economist Nobuo Ikeda criticizes the ji-atama power boom triggered by the publications by saying:

"How-to books are only dealing with consequential things. There is no such a thing as a secret method by which anyone can succeed in business. Like Steve Jobs, who manages Apple Computer of the United States, successful people have their own know-how that suits themselves. There are lucky hits, and there are not so many things the successful people have in common as generally thought. What the success people have done seems good but can not be relied on. People who have failed may have something to learn rather than the people who have succeeded."

   Ikeda, however, holds a positive view about ji-atama power itself.

"Politicians who have the strong survival instinct and seek ways to survive, for example, have sharp hunch about using money and people. They need the ji-atama power to win elections, and the stupid do not have it. The power can not be obtained by reading books, but it is trained under the strong pressure of competition."

   In this respect, he may agree with the business magazines and books.

   Triggered by the ji-atama power boom, attention is focused on the interviews conducted by foreign-invested consulting companies and IT firms in giving tests to applicants seeking jobs with them. This is because they often test the ji-atama power ability of the applicants by asking questions like the coffee selling on the Shinkansen train. It is a much talked about subject on the Internet that Google asked such questions as "how many golf balls can a school bus carry?"

   Ikeda said:

"Those questions asked during the interviews must be to test the ability of the applicants that can not be learned from books. It is understandable why Japanese salaried workers tend to rely on how-to books. But they seem to lack the ability to use their own head. No matter what the people say, he does what he wants to do. This is why Steve Jobs has a good ji-atama."

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