“A good read for anyone who wants to understand what actually determines whether a developing economy will succeed” (Bill Gates, “Top 5 Books of the Year”).
 
An Economist Best Book of the Year from a reporter who has spent two decades in the region, and who The Financial Times said “should be named chief myth-buster for Asian business.”
 
In How Asia Works, Joe Studwell distills his extensive research into the economies of nine countries—Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China—into an accessible, readable narrative that debunks Western misconceptions, shows what really happened in Asia and why, and for once makes clear why some countries have boomed while others have languished.
 
Studwell’s in-depth analysis focuses on three main areas: land policy, manufacturing, and finance. Land reform has been essential to the success of Asian economies, giving a kick-start to development by utilizing a large workforce and providing capital for growth. With manufacturing, industrial development alone is not sufficient, Studwell argues. Instead, countries need “export discipline,” a government that forces companies to compete on the global scale. And in finance, effective regulation is essential for fostering, and sustaining growth. To explore all of these subjects, Studwell journeys far and wide, drawing on fascinating examples from a Philippine sugar baron’s stifling of reform to the explosive growth at a Korean steel mill.
 
“Provocative . . . How Asia Works is a striking and enlightening book . . . A lively mix of scholarship, reporting and polemic.” —The Economist
 
The author of How Asia Works follows the money. “Alarming . . . enlightening . . . Joe Studwell should be named chief myth buster for Asian business” (Financial Times).
 
Hong Kong and Southeast Asia are home to five hundred million people, yet their economies are dominated by only fifty families whose interests range from banking to real estate, shipping to sugar, gambling to lumber. At their peak, eight of the world’s two dozen richest men were Southeast Asian, but their names would not be familiar to most regular readers of The Wall Street Journal.
 
A complex mythology surrounds these billionaires, but in Asian Godfathers, Joe Studwell finds that the facts are even more remarkable than the myths. Studwell has spent fifteen years as a reporter in the region, and he marshals his unprecedented sources to paint intimate and revealing portraits of the men who control Southeast Asia. Studwell also provides us with a rich and deep understanding of the broader historic, economic, and political influences that have shaped Southeast Asia over the past 150 years.
 
Asian Godfathers is a riveting and illuminating book that lifts the curtain on a world of staggering secrecy and hypocrisy, and reveals—for the first time—who the leaders of one of the planet’s most important and tumultuous markets really are, why they got to the top, and how they keep themselves there.
 
“The romp around the region’s pleasure domes is a blast.” —The Wall Street Journal Asia
In The China Dream, acclaimed business journalist Joe Studwell takes to task the predictions that China will become an economic juggernaut on the world stage in the twenty-first century -- and instead foresees an economic crisis. He argues that since the days of Marco Polo, Western nations have seen the vast population of the Middle Kingdom as a fantastic opportunity for expanding trade, investing time and resources again and again in the hope to develop it, only to see, century after century, its economy crash and their dreams turn to dust. Studwell traces the most recent developments in China from Deng Xiaoping's "liberalization" of its market in the 1980s through the opening of its economy to foreign investment in the 1990s. In his rigorous analysis of the Chinese economy, government, and culture, Studwell also shows the roadblocks to the continuation of the country's unprecedented expansion and why its economy will fail once more -- but this time, harder than ever before, and with potentially catastrophic results. Provocative, flawlessly researched, and endlessly engaging, The China Dream is a book that will have the business and political worlds talking about what's really going on in China -- and what we can do to prepare for the coming crisis. "The much-needed antidote to the delusions ... about the riches to be made from investing and selling in China. Brimming with ... statistics." -- The Washington Post " An entertaining, if cautionary, tale of Western business woes in China, stretching back seven hundred years." -- Peter Wonacott, The Wall Street Journal "[A] detailed account ... An excellent examination of the political and economic history of China, fascinating and mostly unknown to Westerners." -- Booklist (starred review)
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