The Monocle Guide To Good Business Review
Photo Copyright 2015 LuxNiseko


It bills itself as a “book for anyone who has a bright idea for a new business or wants to run their company in a better way…”  I first spotted it in the Coutume Café in Aoyama, Tokyo while waiting on one of their fabulous hand-dripped coffees brewed with beans roasted in house.  Nestled amongst various design-type books ranging from fashion to avant-garde painting, it had been placed atop the library-like counter for urban “salon-type” thinkers to occupy their time with whilst sipping Coutume’s refined brews.  In spite of its understated classical book binding and muted colors it stood out.  Gorgeous classic font type has that kind of effect on the eyes.  It doesn’t need to shout to draw attention to itself.  A refined monogram logo sat in the top left corner – the trademark of the global briefing publisher Monocle that launched in 2007.  It is a book that will immediately intrigue you – but is it worth your time?

If you run your own business, want to or simply wonder what it might be like – The Monocle Guide To Good Business is a book well worth adding to your personal reference library.  Inside are personal stories from across the global network of metropolitan cities that are industry specific yet contain universal lessons that business entrepreneurs will benefit from reading.  In a world seemingly bent on preaching specialization the stories contained within reach across a broad spectrum of cultures and industries.  In taking this approach a broader yet more informed view can be reached in our opinion.

Inside the table of contents offers a basic blueprint of how a startup should begin and offers an illustrated checklist of steps to complete to attain success.  In the second and third sections – appropriately called “Next Steps”  and “Need to Know” – are the unique stories detailing real-life experiences encountering some of the critical steps each young business must take.  These two sections are exceptional as they offer raw insights into experiences real entrepreneurs have battled through and how they managed to overcome obstacles.  Whether you are a 4th generation of a family business or have just begun there is an detailed case-study for you to be found in this guide.


“It’s important to have an honesty in what we communicate”



While there are many books for managing medium to large companies there are surprisingly few for small craft oriented businesses that are reliable.  This is one of the areas in which this guide really shines.  While each story fits a specific segment of the guide it is the personal viewpoints of founders or managing directors that carry the richest vein of insights.  Somehow it seems easier to accept and apply the lessons held within these personal stories – perhaps because the truth is so profound.  One is left with a renewed desire and energy to set about installing these positive lessons immediately.

“I never tell anyone what to do, I wouldn’t want to told what to do”


As a guide book the varied layout keeps things interesting however it is the refined sensibilities in the choices of fonts, photographs, illustrations and icons that really amplify the pleasure in engaging a book of business lessons.  Supreme organization means that one can approach the book as a whole or periodically engage with sections pertinent to one’s current needs.  Much of the content is serious yet the inclusion of cartoon illustrations, fashion tips and office design means it is equally at home on the a chalet coffee table in Niseko or the café we first discovered it in Tokyo.

In reading each micro analysis a well-informed opinion into how best to run your company and overcome challenges that inevitably come one’s way in the world of small business.  This book is a real gem and one that ought to be in every reference library of small companies.