I rarely recommend a brand new book, but here I will make an exception. A few weeks ago I recommended an excellent book, Asia’s Turning Point, which has a chapter on each major Asian nation (see http://hooversworld.com/archives/2957).  That book told the story of each nation’s recent history, politics, and economics, with a lot of data and details. Today’s book recommendation would make an excellent companion volume to Asia’s Turning Point.
The Miracle: The Epic Story of Asia’s Quest for Wealth by business journalist Michael Schuman (Harper Business, 2009) tells the human story of the diverse leaders who shaped modern Asia. Schuman covers political leaders like China’s Deng Xiaoping and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew (I have discussed them at http://hooversworld.com/archives/3020 and http://hooversworld.com/archives/2926). He includes entrepreneurs and business leaders like Hong Kong’s amazing Li Ka-Shing, the creators of the capitalist service economy in India, and the founders of Hyundai, Sony, and Honda. He covers Asia from Japan through Singapore and Indonesia (see http://hooversworld.com/archives/3068) to India.
For an integrated and comprehensive view of what has happened in Asia since the Second World War, what is happening today, and where things are headed into the future, this book is hard to beat. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “There is properly no history; only biography.” Not only does this book bear him out, it teaches a great deal of philosophy, political science, and economics in the process.   But Schuman tells everything as narrative, as a story, which makes the book engaging and fun to read.
If you really want to understand Asia and its implications for the future, get both of these books and read them in parallel. For example, if you first read the South Korea chapter of The Miracle and then read the South Korea chapter of Asia’s Turning Point, you will be way ahead of the crowd in your understanding.




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