Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need written by Daniel Pink with illustrations by Rob Ten Pas

8 Aug

Bibliographic Information

Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need written by Daniel H. Pink with art by Rob Ten Pas, Riverhead Books, ISBN: 978-1-59448-291-5

Plot Summary

Johnny Bunko is a business book that offers career advice in the form of a manga comic.  When we first meet our main character, he is stuck in a dead end job that he hates.  Years ago, he chose the safe path of accounting over his first love, art.  Now, he spends his days correcting balance sheets and “Bunko-ing” (the company’s code for screwing up) his work.  One day, while eating take out in his cubicle, he snaps a pair of magical chopsticks and Diana appears.  She looks like a sprite out of a manga comic, but she is really the best career advisor he could ever hope for.  Over the course of six chapters, she informs him of the six secrets for a successful career:

  1. There is no plan
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses
  3. It’s not about you
  4. Persistence trumps talent
  5. Make excellent mistakes
  6. Leave an imprint

As Johnny discovers and follows these tips, his life improves, both at the company and beyond.  He moves from a job he hates to one he feels a true passion for.

Critical Evaluation

Johnny Bunko is a terrific hybrid of a manga comic and a self-help seminar.  Daniel Pink, who has written other terrific books on the workplace (A Whole New Mind and Drive are two of my favorites), tells a funny and engaging story of Johnny and his co-workers working on a marketing project for their company.  In various stages they get stuck, which is when they summon Diana to help them through. She dispenses her wisdom using a tough love approach (she never gets Johnny’s name right until the end), which the team follows to great success.

The advice she gives is important for young people to hear, especially her points “There is no plan” and “Leave an imprint.”  Too often, student think they must plan out their future now in order to be successful, but as Diana correctly points out, “That’s a fantasy.  The world changes.  Ten years from now, your job might be in India.  Your industry might not even exist. And you’ll change too.  You might discover a hidden talent.”  Diana doesn’t think people should be aimless or selfish in their career choices, but she emphasizes it’s important to do what you love and have it benefit others besides yourself.  This is the best career advice young people can hear as they consider what major to select in college or what job they might pursue after graduation.

Reader’s Annotation

High school is supposed to prepare you for college.  College is supposed to prepare you for a career (that is, if you don’t go to graduate school).  Your career is supposed to…what?  Most people hope their job will pay the bills but what else? In his graphic novel, Johnny Bunko, Daniel Pink provides 6 important concepts for young people to consider to find a job that is not only financially rewarding and personally fulfilling, but does some good for the world as well.

Information about the author

From the author’s page on, we learn that “Daniel H. Pink is the author of four provocative books about the changing world of work — including the long-running New York Times bestseller, A Whole New Mind, and the #1 New York Times bestseller, Drive. His books have been translated into 32 languages.

In 2011, Harvard Business Review and Thinkers 50 named him one of the top 50 business thinkers in the world.

A graduate of Northwestern University and Yale Law School, Pink lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and their three children.”


Non-Fiction, Business and Careers

Curriculum Ties


Booktalking Ideas

Apply Pink’s 6 ideas to yourself and generate some ideas for a possible career.

Do a strengths inventory test and apply what you learn to careers that match your skills and interests.

Reading Level / Interest Age

Grade 11 and up

Challenge Issues


Why did I include this title?

This book corrects many of the false assumptions students have about work and careers.  Its format turns what could be a dry business seminar into an entertaining story of a man’s escape from a boring dead end job.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: