Zakaria Quote Of The Day

Europeans prefer complexity, the Japanese revere minimalism. But Americans like size, preferably supersize.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Michael F. Martin

    And the difference in business culture, in part, can be traced to the incentive-caused baises of corporate managers created by the Sloan method of accounting.On the other hand, the lean management and accounting methods followed in Japan create their own cultural distortions.I would like to see a harmony of these two cultures — BOTH reasonable and sustainable quality AND return on invested capital

  2. Cam MacRae

    Interesting that the South Koreans prefer complexity also – Google redesigned their homepage to be intentionally complex:

  3. patwoodward

    Along the lines of Michael’s comment, I’ve thought that the simplicity of Japanese culture mixed with pieces of our Western culture can create interesting things.However, I do think that there is a very thick layer of complexity underneath what the West views as Japanese minimalism.

  4. Sagar

    he’s a beast…his new show is gonna be awesome

  5. leafar

    so true

  6. Venkat

    Yargh. You are baiting me on purpose 🙂 I am NOT contrarian by nature, but every quote you are posting from Zakaria is getting a mild rise out of me. This is so darned cliched, it’s not even funny. Europeans are too diverse to be labeled this simply (Russians are tragic, Germans are intricate, the French are nuanced, the British are original…). Conceptual integrity, not minimalism, is the signature Japanese trait. And as for Americans, their signature trait, observed by Alexis de Tocqueville long ago (nobody has yet beaten that original and greatest America-analyzer), is collaborative ingenuity. Americans can band together in an organization and NOT dumb down the individual humans to fungible parts, unlike say the Germans. Francis Fukuyama interpreted Tocqueville to mean that Americans’ “individualist” self-perception was flawed and that they were really robustly collectivist creatures, but it isn’t an either-or. Americans find a way to be collectivist AND individualist. A stunt nobody else has pulled off.Americans like supersize — that’s just lazy thinking. Repeating the old Tom Peters era mantras ad nauseum. Yeah, this is the land of the jumbo jet and the supersize me McDonald’s, but why the heck do people forget that this country also invented the microchip?Again, not that my stereotypes are any better (though at least I took the trouble to think them up). The point is that broad-brush analyses couched in these terms lead down very very dangerous paths.