Book review: 『アウトプット大全』by Shion KABASAWA

About the book

Title: 学びを結果に変える アウトプット大全.
English title: The Power of Output: How to Change Learning to Outcome.
Author: Shion KABASAWA 樺沢紫苑
Published by Sanctuary Books

Shion KABASAWA is a psychiatrist, author, youtuber and critic. He is very active on Twitter, YouTube and his blog. Following the publication of 『アウトプット大全』 in 2018, he wrote “The Power of Input: How to Maximize Learning” this year.


『アウトプット大全』 is about the importance of output and how it can make your learning process more efficient and help you to grow and get better results.

The book is divided into five chapters:

  • Chapter 1: アウトプットの基本法則 (Rules)
  • Chapter 2: 科学に裏付けられた、伝わる話し方 (Talk)
  • Chapter 3: 能力を最大限に引き出す書き方 (Write)
  • Chapter 4: 圧倒的に結果を出す人の行動力 (Do)
  • Chapter 5: アウトプット力を高める7つのトレーニング法 (Training)

There were parts of the book that I found very interesting and useful, and parts that I found completely irrelevant to me.

First of all, I really liked the main point of the book and thought that it was exactly what I needed. My learning process is almost exclusively based on input, so I was curious to know how I could add more output activities to be more efficient. As a consequence, I was very excited to read the first chapter, the one that explains what output is and why it is important. I also liked the last chapter that gives concrete examples to incorporate more output in your routine.

The problem is that these first and last chapters are very short and the remaining chapters felt a little disconnected from the main subject of the book: “How to Change Learning to Outcome”. They focus on different forms of output: Talk, Write and Do. What I found a little disappointing is that these three chapters tend to lose sight of the first one (Rules). The author will teach you how to better communicate orally, how to better take written notes and so on, but it’s not really related to the learning process anymore.

This is especially true of the “Talk” chapter. It is quite long and was completely irrelevant to me. I would have expected the author to show how you can use spoken output to “change learning to outcome”, but the chapter is only about “how to better communicate with your co-workers”. For example, the author tells you how to introduce yourself, compliment or scold people, make requests or decline. In other words, this chapter helps you to have smoother relationships with colleagues or people around you by improving the way you communicate with them. What I expected to read was how I could use spoken output to improve myself, because I thought this was what this book was about.

I found the “write” and “do” parts to be more interesting and to get more to the point. I also picked up several good ideas, and overall, reading these parts motivated me to produce more, write more and do more.

So to me, the main topic of the book was interesting, but I found that the author taught me more how to make good output instead of teaching me how I could use output to improve myself and be more efficient and learn better. While I really need to incorporate more output in my learning process, I don’t need to be taught how to look my interlocutor in the eyes, greet my co-workers every morning, or introduce myself in 30 seconds.

But overall, I found the book enjoyable to read, and I did find some useful tips in it. It is well structured, well illustrated and easy to read. It’s also easy to go back to previous pages and immediately find what you are looking for. Illustrations make it easy to remember what the author said and important statements are written in bold and blue. I find this kind of book particularly appropriate for Japanese learners because they are not too complicated to read, and you can practice your Japanese while learning useful tips and read motivating content.