How Asia Works: Success and Failure In the World's Most Dynamic Region

Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
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“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
 
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Praise for How Asia Works:

“I found the book to be quite compelling. . . . Studwell’s book does a better job than anything else I’ve read of articulating the key role of agriculture in development. . . . 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”

“Pithy, well-written and intellectually vigorous . . . Studwell’s thesis is bold, his arguments persuasive, and his style pugnacious. It adds up to a highly readable and important book.”—Financial Times

“Provocative. … How Asia Works is a striking and enlightening book … A lively mix of scholarship, reporting and polemic.”—The Economist

"Very readable.... A fascinating and thoroughly deep account."—Bloomberg Radio

“Gripping … Readers will find Studwell’s informative and balanced report eye-opening.”—Publishers Weekly

“Consistently engaging.”—Booklist

“Studwell paints a vivid picture of business life in the region. If a copy of the Korean edition finds its way across the demilitarized zone to Pyongyang … we may find we have yet another Asian Tiger in our midst.”—Management Today

“A solid blend of the descriptive and the prescriptive, with plenty of lessons that will be of interest to Asia hands, investors and policymakers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Perhaps my favorite economics book of the year. Quite simply, it is the best single treatment on what in Asian industrial policy worked or did not work, full of both analysis and specific detail, and covering southeast Asia in addition to the Asian tiger ‘winners.’ … Definitely recommended, you will learn lots from it, and it will upset people of virtually all ideologies.”—Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

“Illuminating”—Independent (UK)

“An interesting analysis of policy decisions that have and haven’t worked . . . a handy guide for anyone interested in one of the world’s fastest developing regions.”—The Economic Times (India)

“Studwell’s latest book, How Asia Works, is also his most ambitions. . . . Declining to make broad pronouncements or dovetail with doctrine, Studwell demonstrates that the way Asia works isn’t quite as simple as we ever imagined.”—Smart Planet

"A landmark work."—Asia Times (Bangkok)

“Bold and insightful. . . . Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the ingredients for economic success.”—The News International (Pakistan)
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
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Published on
Jul 2, 2013
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780802193476
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / International / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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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
New York Times bestseller

THE BOOK THAT EXPLAINS WHY RUSSIANS WANTED TO MEET WITH THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN

“Part John Grisham-like thriller, part business and political memoir.” —The New York Times

“[Red Notice] does for investing in Russia and the former Soviet Union what Liar’s Poker did for our understanding of Salomon Brothers, Wall Street, and the mortgage-backed securities business in the 1980s. Browder’s business saga meshes well with the story of corruption and murder in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, making Red Notice an early candidate for any list of the year’s best books” (Fortune).

This is a story about an accidental activist. Bill Browder started out his adult life as the Wall Street maverick whose instincts led him to Russia just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, where he made his fortune.

Along the way he exposed corruption, and when he did, he barely escaped with his life. His Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky wasn’t so lucky: he ended up in jail, where he was tortured to death. That changed Browder forever. He saw the murderous heart of the Putin regime and has spent the last half decade on a campaign to expose it. Because of that, he became Putin’s number one enemy, especially after Browder succeeded in having a law passed in the United States—The Magnitsky Act—that punishes a list of Russians implicated in the lawyer’s murder. Putin famously retaliated with a law that bans Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world, and also the story of how, without intending to, he found meaning in his life.
How much further should the affluent world push its materialconsumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolutedecline in demand for materials?  These and many otherquestions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World:Materials and Dematerialization.

Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependenton unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficientproduction processes and the highest practical rates of recyclingmay not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that wouldbe high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generatedby continuing population growth and rising standards of living.This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potentialfor substantial dematerialization of modern economies. 

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerializationconsiders the principal materials used throughout history, fromwood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon,describing their extraction and production as well as theirdominant applications. The evolving productivities of materialextraction, processing, synthesis, finishing and distribution, andthe energy costs and environmental impact of rising materialconsumption are examined in detail. The book concludes with anoutlook for the future, discussing the prospects fordematerialization and potential constrains on materials.

This interdisciplinary text provides useful perspectives forreaders with backgrounds including resource economics,environmental studies, energy analysis, mineral geology, industrialorganization, manufacturing and material science.

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)
Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities.

The economic success thus spurred was sustained because the government became accountable and responsive to citizens and the great mass of people. Sadly, the people of the north have endured decades of famine, political repression, and very different economic institutions—with no end in sight. The differences between the Koreas is due to the politics that created these completely different institutional trajectories.

Based on fifteen years of original research Acemoglu and Robinson marshall extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today, including:

- China has built an authoritarian growth machine. Will it continue to grow at such high speed and overwhelm the West?

- Are America’s best days behind it? Are we moving from a virtuous circle in which efforts by elites to aggrandize power are resisted to a vicious one that enriches and empowers a small minority?

- What is the most effective way to help move billions of people from the rut of poverty to prosperity? More philanthropy from the wealthy nations of the West? Or learning the hard-won lessons of Acemoglu and Robinson’s breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?

Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at—and understand—the world. 
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