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How China's Leaders Think: The Inside Story of China's Past, Current and Future Leaders Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0470824450 ISBN-10: 047082445X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047082445X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470824450
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

China is an economic superpower competing in every arena of human endeavor. From trade and technology to culture, media and sports – China’s growing strengths have global implications. But who are China’s leaders, current and future, and what do they make of the country’s growing influence? What are China’s future leaders doing today? And how do they think about democracy, political reform and China’s place in the new world order?

How China’s Leaders Think focuses on the forces shaping China – the leaders and their philosophies; the government and it policies, and a nation of 1.3 billion people embracing change. With unique access to Communist Party officials, author Robert Lawrence Kuhn interviews over 100 of China’s leaders. He portrays President Hu Jintao, and looks to the next generation of China’s leaders, including Xi Jinping, likely China’s next president; Li Keqiang, likely China’s next premier; and “Rising Star” politburo members Li Yuanchao, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, Bo Xilai and Wang Yang.

Kuhn speaks with China’s leaders in private companies, state-owned enterprises, banking, foreign affairs, military, agriculture, healthcare, religion, media, internet, film, literature, ideology and more to create an extraordinary portrait of China today. Is there a viable “China threat” or an emerging “China Model?” In confronting China’s leaders on China’s problems—economic imbalances, pollution, corruption, human rights, media censorship, religious tension, and ethnic conflicts, to name a few—Kuhn’s finds frank acknowledgement of the long road China must still travel in order to realize President Hu’s vision of a Harmonious Society.

The best way to know China—and the best way to do business with China—is to know what motives China’s leaders and what drives their policies. How China’s Leaders Think is, quite literally, an invaluable roadmap of how China’s leaders view the key issues of the day. Readers will not get closer to China’s leaders than this insightful book from Robert Lawrence Kuhn. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

China’s Leaders

In the fall of 2012, when China’s Communist Party has its next National Party Congress (one is held every five years), senior leaders will be selected to replace those who have run the country for the past decade. In his book, How China’s Leaders Think, Kuhn offers background on Chinese officials we may hear more about in coming years. – Barron’s

Robert Kuhn offers outlooks on the mainland’s future from those shaping it… [His] access to the mainland’s political hierarchy is impressive. – South China Morning Post

How China’s Leaders Think draws on interviews with more than 100 Chinese leaders, providing insightful views on what China’s current and future leaders think about economy, media, diplomacy and more. – Xinhua News Agency

Kuhn’s latest work draws on his personal conversations with as many as 100 Chinese leaders. Kuhn delves into the mode of thinking of China’s leaders, revealing how they feel about the country’s presence in the world and how certain changes may impact others. – Global Times

This book reflects the personal visions and collective commitment of China’s senior leaders, including the next generation who will come to full power in 2012. Most readers will not get closer to China’s leaders than this. – China Daily

This is an important book that deserves a wide audience. It is important because it is the first attempt by a foreigner to explain the thinking of China’s current leadership across a range of subjects, and because Kuhn’s access to that leadership is unprecedented – and entirely unique – for any Westerner outside of diplomatic circles. – That’s Shanghai

Arguably one of the best surveys of China’s economic and social landscape during several decades of reform. – The Washington Times  --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Mueller on May 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are some interesting historical details regarding the economic and business backgrounds of several high-ranking China officials, and these might be of interest to China watchers. But, as a few other reviewers have noted, this is a rather limited view of the administration of the Chinese state. Kuhn covers familiar ground for many China hands, particularly national pride over the Olympics, Chinese culture and its long history, but glides over more difficult issues. For example, he notes that Hu Jintao, China's current leader, was "only following orders" when he commanded a repressive crackdown in Tibet prior to ascending to his current position as chairman of the CPC, and makes no further analysis on this episode. His book was also published prior to the Bo Xilai scandal, a scandal which revealed the degree of corruption which very likely permeates the Chinese state. Therefore, Mr. Kuhn does indeed describe the country from the vantage point of a business investor, having hobnobbed with the Chinese economic elite, and not its common people. Something worthwhile the author does note, Americans will need to learn to better understand this new global economic power, and increasingly on its own terms, not as a foil to be maneuvered by American influence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on August 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Kuhn, an investment banker, serves as an unpaid advisor to China and has had considerable access to its leaders extending back 20 years. He also clearly supports China's one-party rule. During his interactions, Kuhn has come to also recognize that national pride is a major underlying factor - China was once a global leader, then was humiliated by the West, and now is intent on regaining its former stature. The 2008 Olympics, the Shanghai 2010 World Exposition, space missions, and its economic resurgence are reflections of this. Stability is another fundamental value - the Cultural Revolution has left scars on everyone over aged 50, says Kuhn, and its leaders are very attuned to the need to satisfy the people.

China's leaders expect its corporations to become among the largest and most successful in the world. And an astonishing 86% of citizens in a spring 2008 Pew Poll said they were "satisfied" with the country's direction, about double the percentage in 2002, and the highest of the 24 nations polled. (The U.S. was among the lowest, at 23%.)

China's current primary focus is on reducing inequality between regions (rural residents represent 55% of population and agriculture generates only 11% of GDP; add the 33% from TVEs) and its highest vs. lowest earners; other emphases are increasing GDP/energy use, reducing pollution, improving access to quality medical care, and quality education.

Kuhn's summary of the struggle for economic reform is interesting. Mao had named Hua Guofeng as his successor, but the Gang of Four, led by Mao's widow, attempted to take power by discrediting him. Hua then aligned with moderates and army leaders to jail the Gan of Four and restore normalcy to China after the Cultural Revolution turmoil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Agamennone on February 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is overall interesting but a great part of it are passages copied by previous books and publications of the author. Some topics such as corruption and political reforms are not properly dealt with, giving a positive and unreal vision. The author could have been more critical and objective.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ray Olson, Jr. on January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm an investment advisor who is fascinated by the global growth of the developing world. What struck me was how the book was able to relate the experience more from China's viewpoint than the traditional american media coverage. You'll learn a great deal about China's pride and even distrust of the US. To better understand who were competing against, this will give a clearer definition. If you interested in business or investing globablly, you will not be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
In its present form, this book is out of date and an update or revised edition is overdue. However it is still a good read as an adjunct reference.
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