Finding your own path is the boldest way to make good ideas happen. So why do so few trust their gut? This issue catches up with business owners, innovators and cultural figures creating new ways to work as they go.
Ever since Monocle launched in 2007, we’ve championed a roll-your-sleeves-up, put on your overalls, attitude to problems and possibilities. It’s easy to write a scathing story but what would you do to fix the problem? Even as 2008 hit and the global economy crumbled, we introduced readers to entrepreneurs and business leaders who saw this as their chance to do something simpler, more tangible, more rewarding. We took you to countries with challenged economies but where there were people happy to go back to their roots, to start making things again, if it helped revive the national fortunes.
That can-do attitude is woven throughout the pages of this issue. The “How to” pages in each section are, we hope, gently inspirational (in the Northern Hemisphere, this magazine will be in your chilly hands when you can do with a bit of fire beneath your feet). We’ll take you to meet a man who runs a wasabi farm in the English countryside; we’ll show you how to leave your desk job to become a thriller writer; how to build a community; we’ll even show you how to start a revolution Cairo-style.
And throughout the rest of this issue there are stories to make you look afresh at the world: why is book publishing thriving in Germany? How has Fujifilm become a beauty company? It’s time to get a move on. Time for a fresh start.
Rebuild a neighbourhood: New York’s Red Hook neighbourhood was home to a thriving community of artisans and craftspeople and then Hurricane Sandy hit. But instead of abandoning their community, the locals are rebuilding. Page 34.
Become a national icon: Chef Harumi Kurihara is the Martha Stewart of Japan and has sold over 23 million books. But she never had any training. And she only started working at age 36. Page 64.
Make the next Killing: Piv Bernth is one of the team behind a string of successful Danish TV thrillers. She knows the ingredients needed for the next hit. A clue: an enquiring mind might help. Page 86.
Revive a forgotten brand: In Paris Kai Lorch and Jonathan Kron have revived Demory, a beer company that had not sold a single bottle since the 1950s. They explain why staying true to an idea is key. Page 68.
Start a cottage industry: In Devon, two young men have founded Young & Norgate, a furniture company that shows the rewards of keeping it small and rural. Page 104.