“[A]n excellent book...” —The Economist

Financial Times Asia editor David Pilling presents a fresh vision of Japan, drawing on his own deep experience, as well as observations from a cross section of Japanese citizenry, including novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists and bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians. Through their voices, Pilling's Bending Adversity captures the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Japan.

Pilling’s exploration begins with the 2011 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. His deep reporting reveals both Japan’s vulnerabilities and its resilience and pushes him to understand the country’s past through cycles of crisis and reconstruction. Japan’s survivalist mentality has carried it through tremendous hardship, but is also the source of great destruction: It was the nineteenth-century struggle to ward off colonial intent that resulted in Japan’s own imperial endeavor, culminating in the devastation of World War II. Even the postwar economic miracle—the manufacturing and commerce explosion that brought unprecedented economic growth and earned Japan international clout might have been a less pure victory than it seemed. In Bending Adversity Pilling questions what was lost in the country’s blind, aborted climb to #1. With the same rigor, he revisits 1990—the year the economic bubble burst, and the beginning of Japan’s “lost decades”—to ask if the turning point might be viewed differently. While financial struggle and national debt are a reality, post-growth Japan has also successfully maintained a stable standard of living and social cohesion. And while life has become less certain, opportunities—in particular for the young and for women—have diversified. 


Still, Japan is in many ways a country in recovery, working to find a way forward after the events of 2011 and decades of slow growth. Bending Adversity closes with a reflection on what the 2012 reelection of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his radical antideflation policy, might mean for Japan and its future. Informed throughout by the insights shared by Pilling’s many interview subjects, Bending Adversity rigorously engages with the social, spiritual, financial, and political life of Japan to create a more nuanced representation of the oft-misunderstood island nation and its people.

The Financial Times
“David Pilling quotes a visiting MP from northern England, dazzled by Tokyo’s lights and awed by its bustling prosperity: ‘If this is a recession, I want one.’ Not the least of the merits of Pilling’s hugely enjoyable and perceptive book on Japan is that he places the denunciations of two allegedly “lost decades” in the context of what the country is really like and its actual achievements.”

The Telegraph (UK)
“Pilling, the Asia editor of the Financial Times, is perfectly placed to be our guide, and his insights are a real rarity when very few Western journalists communicate the essence of the world’s third-largest economy in anything but the most superficial ways. Here, there is a terrific selection of interview subjects mixed with great reportage and fact selection... he does get people to say wonderful things. The novelist Haruki Murakami tells him: “When we were rich, I hated this country”... well-written... valuable.”

Publishers Weekly (starred):
"A probing and insightful portrait of contemporary Japan."

«Pilling es un guía sabio, informado y viajado. Su escepticismo respecto al PIB representa un inestimable primer paso si de lo que se trata es de hacer las cosas mejor. Un verdadero logro.»
Angus Deaton, premio Nobel de Economía

Los economistas y su culto al crecimiento se han apoderado de la política. Según su sistema de medida por antonomasia, el producto interior bruto, deberíamos ser más ricos o felices que nunca. David Pilling, uno de los más prestigiosos y premiados periodistas económicos, demuestra la insensatez de nuestra dependencia de ese concepto arbitrario, limitado y engañoso que nos empeñamos en tomar como signo de bienestar.

Muchos de los aspectos clave de nuestro bienestar, desde el aire limpio hasta la estabilidad laboral, están fuera del alcance de nuestra medida estándar de éxito. Durante demasiado tiempo, la economía se ha basado en un lenguaje que no resuena con la experiencia real de las personas. Según Pilling, nuestra devoción por el PIB conforma las políticas equivocadas, contribuye a la desconfianza creciente de los ciudadanos y sacude los cimientos de nuestra democracia.

El delirio del crecimiento revela las tendencias ocultas de nuestra tradición económica y explora alternativas al PIB, desde medidas de riqueza, igualdad y sostenibilidad hasta el concepto de bienestar subjetivo. Provocador, autorizado y tremendamente revelador, ofrece propuestas ingeniosas e inesperadas sobre cómo podemos responder a las necesidades reales en lugar de perseguir el crecimiento a cualquier precio.

La crítica ha dicho:
«Una respuesta perspicaz e ingeniosa a una pregunta esencial: ¿qué es exactamente el crecimiento y cómo puede aprovecharse para mejorar las vidas de las personas?»
Kofi Annan

«De lectura obligada para cualquier interesado en hacer del mundo un lugar mejor. Casi un milagro.»
Ha-Joon Chang

«Directo al corazón del problema, capta con todos los matices por qué el PIB es una estadística tan estrafalaria -y algunos dirían, incluso, francamente engañosa-.»
Felix Martin, The Financial Times

«Potente y cautivador. Pilling comenzó a cuestionar el culto al PIB y no pudo parar. Tiene razón: el maleficio debe romperse.»
Philip Aldrich, The Times

«El bienvenido antídoto contra el evangelio según el PIB.»
David Smith, The Sunday Times

«Rara vez, por no decir nunca, me veo recomendando un libro de economía que sea al mismo tiempo importante y francamente divertido.»
Jared Bernstein, The Washington Post

«Ágil y adictivo. Una investigación maravillosamente cosmopolita.»
Adam Tooze, The Guardian

«Excelente. La defensa de la búsqueda de mejores formas de medir la prosperidad va cobrando cada vez más fuerza.»
Rohan Silva, The Evening Standard

«Un bicho raro: un libro de economía bien escrito, accesible y -no lo digan muy alto- ¡entretenido! Ingenioso y bien documentado, es una excelente guía para eludir las trampas y deficiencias del PBI.»
New Internationalist

«Magistral. Es sorprendente cómo un estudio sobre el PIB y el crecimiento puede brillar con tal ingenio y agudeza. David Pilling logra semejante hazaña.»
Nature

«Si intuían que el PIB no se traduce necesariamente en mayor bienestar, Pilling les demostrará convincentemente por qué tenían razón. Uno de los columnistas más brillantes de The Financial Times ha escrito un libro que se convertirá en un clásico.»
Jagdish Bhagwati

«Fascinante y revelador, El delirio del crecimiento no se limita a contar por qué el emperador va desnudo, sino que también revela que, de entrada, ni siquiera se trata del emperador.»
David Mitchell, autor de El atlas de las nubes

In Bending Adversity, Financial Times Asia editor David Pilling presents a fresh vision of Japan, drawing on his own deep experience, as well as observations from a cross section of Japanese citizenry, including novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists and bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians. Through their voices, Pilling captures the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Japan. Pilling's exploration begins with the 2011 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. His deep reporting reveals both Japan's vulnerabilities and its resilience and pushes him to understand the country's past through cycles of crisis and reconstruction. Japan's survivalist mentality has carried it through tremendous hardship, but is also the source of great destruction: It was the nineteenth-century struggle to ward off colonial intent that resulted in Japan's own imperial endeavor, culminating in the devastation of World War II. Even the postwar economic miracle-the manufacturing and commerce explosion that brought unprecedented economic growth and earned Japan international clout might have been a less pure victory than it seemed. In Bending Adversity Pilling questions what was lost in the country's blind, aborted climb to #1. With the same rigor, he revisits 1990-the year the economic bubble burst, and the beginning of Japan's “lost decades”-to ask if the turning point might be viewed differently. While financial struggle and national debt are a reality, post-growth Japan has also successfully maintained a stable standard of living and social cohesion. And while life has become less certain, opportunities-in particular for the young and for women-have diversified. Still, Japan is in many ways a country in recovery, working to find a way forward after the events of 2011 and decades of slow growth. Bending Adversity closes with a reflection on what the 2012 reelection of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his radical antideflation policy, might mean for Japan and its future. Informed throughout by the insights shared by Pilling's many interview subjects, Bending Adversity rigorously engages with the social, spiritual, financial, and political life of Japan to create a more nuanced representation of the oft-misunderstood island nation and its people.
England, 1266 AD. The kingdom lies in ruins after years of bitter civil war. Simon de Montfort is dead, slaughtered in battle, and his surviving followers fight on with the fury of despair. Known as the Disinherited, these landless men infest the forests and highways and prey on the common folk. Hugh Longsword, a common soldier, fights for the King against the rebels who threaten to destroy England. He is taken into the service of the Lord Edward, King Henry’s eldest son, and made to work as a spy. Edward sends him into the wild north country, home to the most dangerous rebel captains: men such as Sir John d’Eyvill and his savage cousin Nicholas, known as the Beast for his cruelty. While Hugh spies on these cut-throats, the King gathers all his forces to attack Kenilworth Castle, greatest of the rebel strongholds. Though hopelessly outnumbered, the defenders hurl defiance from the walls and refuse to surrender. One assault after another is repulsed, even as the north country slides into chaos and another band of Disinherited seize the Isle of Ely in the fens of Cambridgeshire. From their watery fastness they ride out to attack the Jews of Lincoln, burning deeds, slaughtering innocents and kidnapping the wealthiest for ransom. One of those taken captive by the rebels is Esther, a widowed Jewess. She is carried away to Ely, where the Jews are treated with inhuman cruelty. Esther is rescued by Hugh, and they are hunted through the marshes by teams of soldiers and wolfhounds. Together they must survive all the dangers of a war-torn land, where law and justice are fallen away and only the strongest can hope to prosper.
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