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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent survey of Korean society
Tudor's book is not so much the "inside story of an economic, political, and cultural phenomenon" that the cover proclaims it to be so much as it is a thorough survey of *who* Koreans are and *why* they are so. Anyone can look up the history of Korea's chaebol or its political (and military) history, and merely need notice what's hot in pop music to spot Korea's cultural...
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer

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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite an accurate description of the upper middle class
I am Korean, and bought this book from a local bookstore. It sure is a page-turner for those who are interested in South Korea. The author does a brilliant job describing many aspects of Korean culture. I was very impressed about the author's depth of knowledge and research. However, I must point out that, possibly due to his elite background, his insight and sources are...
Published 13 months ago by nube


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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite an accurate description of the upper middle class, August 27, 2013
I am Korean, and bought this book from a local bookstore. It sure is a page-turner for those who are interested in South Korea. The author does a brilliant job describing many aspects of Korean culture. I was very impressed about the author's depth of knowledge and research. However, I must point out that, possibly due to his elite background, his insight and sources are limited to the upper middle class. The majority of Koreans belong to the lower middle/working class, who are now dangerously pushed to the limit with low wage and almost no social security. They wouldn't dream of getting a plastic surgery, buying new gadgets every time they come out, or sending their kids to multiple of expensive Hagwons/English speaking countries as described in the book. Most people simply can't afford such things. Thus the social divide between the two groups are getting bigger and bigger, posing serious threats to Korean society, yet the author fails to recognize it.

I believe this book will be a good guide for English instructors/businessmen hoping to come to Korea, because what they will encounter is the upper middle class. However, if you are looking for up-to-date full information or a thorough analysis of South Korea, you might want to look for additional sources.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent survey of Korean society, November 29, 2012
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Tudor's book is not so much the "inside story of an economic, political, and cultural phenomenon" that the cover proclaims it to be so much as it is a thorough survey of *who* Koreans are and *why* they are so. Anyone can look up the history of Korea's chaebol or its political (and military) history, and merely need notice what's hot in pop music to spot Korea's cultural influence. But Tudor avoids such a facts-only approach and frankly (but lovingly) introduces the reader to the factors that motivate, scare, cheer, and depress the average Cho.

Foreign visitors to Korea often find themselves faced with a language, cuisine, environment, and even climate that is so different from their own that they resign themselves to Korea being too impenetrable (and yes, impossible) to contemplate. A subset of these expats find that two years working at a hagwon gives them an unassailable opinion of the 'fascinating natives' and offer an outsider's deconstruction of Korean society in blog form despite no real intimacy with the people or language. They are right in proclaiming that Korea is interesting, but lack a true understanding. Korean-authored works tend to be well-informed, but often oblivious to what their target readership wants to know. Tudor hits the sweet spot and gives a knowledgable explanation of what a Western audience wants to know (and would find interesting, even if initially they might not be curious).

The book includes current events up through mid-2012 and will surely benefit from an update in a few years as Korea gathers more and more of the world's attention with the PyeongChang Olympics and whatever else may happen. For now (and most likely in the future as well), the book should be the first choice for anyone wishing to learn about modern Korean society.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of things to learn about Korea here, November 11, 2012
Korea has achieved what many thought impossible - in a couple generations, the country has rebuilt itself from war-torn devastation to a first-world country known for many reasons. At present, the country faces a number of other issues, possibly considered 'first-world problems', that have to be addressed to continue its success. If you're interested in seeing how Korea got to where it is today (and why things are the way they are), a glimpse of history provides the context.

The book starts with a very good review of Korean history, complete with the nuances (and without the nationalist tint) seen in Korean sources. If you're familiar with the country's back story there are few surprises here, but a tale on the country's most recent history is more helpful after seeing how it got here.

The first major section, "Foundations", sets the tone for the rest of the book. The major religions of Korea - including a very good chapter on shamanism - all receive relatively equal treatment. I was a bit surprised to see almost no discussion on Korea's non-religious - those who have given up religion or don't see a place for it. The final chapter, a section on the battles for Korean democracy, should be required reading for any expat interested in intelligent conversation with a local.

The second part discusses the power of jeong (the shared connection and obligation), the dilemma of competition, han (a deep sorrow fueled by uncontrollable tragedy), and to a lesser extent heung (a devil-may-care spirit of joy). As these are the cultural codes of Korea, they merit the attention of would-be expats or anyone studying the people. Where once these forces both greatly assisted the country, Daniel mentions that some of these forces (particularly the first two) have begun to become counter-productive in some ways.

Entitled "Cold Reality", the third part mentions several of the issues Korea is currently facing - North Korea, the media, the working culture, the English craze, and so on. That the book is brand new (and therefore up to date, up to a reference of May 2012) provides context to even recent changes. This section also does an exceptionally good time of separating the outward behavior of people from their inner feelings on societal issues or their jobs, which is often accomplished via survey results. Each chapter ends with a reminder of the challenges that have brought us to the present, typically with an optimistic hope for the country.

In a few cases, the author repeats a fact or point made previously. Additionally, some pieces read like something published in a news magazine, complete with interviews that dominate a given section of the book. Given that Daniel is an accomplished at the Economist and contributes to Newsweek, the style is to be expected.

The fourth part is more light-hearted, and explains how Koreans have fun when not working. Again, the historical connection with the past is clear, as is the rapid change that has endured over the past decade. Someone that came to Korea even five years ago may not recognize some parts of the country nowadays. Areas popular with expats get mentioned (including a very different translation for "Itaewon" than I've ever heard before), along with the rapid growth of coffee shops as social hubs.

The final part expresses concern for Korea's low birth rate, along with Korea's cultural wave and the backlash from it. The features here are individual chapters on two wrongfully maligned facets of society - the GLBT community and the historical treatment of women. There's nothing particularly new here, but it is a very good run-down of a history not easily found in one place. An epilogue entrusts that Korea can pull another miracle to find contentment - something that is sorely lacking despite the abounding material wealth.

While the text is excellent as expected, I'm a little surprised at the lack of a pronunciation guide, or even a single word in Korean hangeul (everything is Romanized, to the detriment of anyone unsure of Korean pronunciation). Overall, though, it's a minor oversight in a well-researched book worthy of several hours.

Recommended for any new expat, history lover, or anyone interested in the country's transformation.

Disclaimer: Chris in South Korea received a pre-release review copy from the publisher - original post at [...]
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rare quality of commentary!, December 4, 2012
The world has seen many books about countries, cultural regions and growing economies in Asia. Not necessarily about Korea in particular but Japan's longstanding history as a global cultural and economic powerhouse as well as China's recent economic stellar rise and its immense history have attracted pundits, commentators, critics and dubious self-proclaimed experts to share their two cents worth. Most of them shouldn't have.
It is against this backdrop that Mr. Tudor's book is refreshingly insightful and beautiful to read. There are three aspects about it that stand out in particular: Analysis, scope and humility.
1. Mr. Tudor is never satisfied dealing with the subject matter of his book on an observational level. Instead, in each chapter he leaves the level of observation and enters the realm of analysis. He offers surprising, succinct and powerful insights into why Korea is how it is. It never becomes absurd though. Many have tried to do similar things with China (a country in which I have lived and worked for several years). Confucius and the Cultural Revolution have been used to explain every single aspect of contemporary China, however unrelated. Mr. Tudor doesn't fall victim to this obsession. He knows when to warn the reader of the limitations of his own analysis.
2. Mr. Tudor does a brilliant job in presenting Korea from many different viewpoints, including modern pop culture, history, economy and general society. He connects dots that only a true subject matter experts can see. He doesn't present the different aspects of South Korea in isolation but instead shows the reader relations between them. Every chapter of this book hence offer several eye-openers. Also, Mr. Tudor impresses by appearing really savvy in all the areas he covers. He seems young enough to really understand youth and pop culture but at the same time conveys extreme competence when talking about South Korea's history and economy.
3. For me personally, the 3rd aspect is the most important: humility. Frankly, I am tired of the above-mentioned group of 'experts' who more often than not claim omniscience. Mr. Tudor is confidently aware of his status of an observer. He's undoubtedly a very savvy, well informed and sharp observer with much access and deep understanding but he never seems to forget that he's a foreigner living in Korea and not a Korean. He underpins this by carefully quoting other (mostly local) people who have been thinking and writing about the topics covered in this book. He pairs this with a beautifully simple language.

All in all, Mr. Tudor manages to not only present South Korea in a hitherto unseen professionalism, objectivity and detail but to convey why he wrote this book in the first place: Not to build himself a monument but because of his love and enthusiasm for South Korea.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars insights with balance, August 9, 2013
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This review is from: Korea: The Impossible Country (Kindle Edition)
Some months ago, I travelled to Europe for a training program for communication skills, and there was a suggestion by the communications coach, after learning that i came from Korea, that I should write an essay to explain the Korea the people and the country with a spin on doing business there and submit to one of those management magazines. He said that while Korea profile is growing internationally, the country and its people are still an enigma. That was a surprise to me but as I thought about it more, he was completely right. Between China and Japan, it is not as if there isn't enough to talk about in East Asia. So Korea's share of the limelight would have been somewhat limited. That is starting to change as the country starts to become a more active player on the global arena in many facets of political, economics and cultural activities.

I was born, raised in Korea, and spent 15 years overseas and been back for the last 15, hence I consider myself to be more bicultural than most with a reasonable knowledge of the country, but I am happy to say that I still learned a lot from reading this book. It gives historical insights to why things have developed the way they have with enough substance to give the topics some justice. There are lots wrong with the country, but the author always balances it out with why, and that there are changes and in most areas, it is going in the progressive direction. The author obviously has a positive view of the country and this shows throughout the book. But he does so without hiding the ugly parts and that balance is nicely achieved. There are of course topics that is well known to those who are from the country or those who know the country well. In my case, I felt that they were captured and represented reasonably accurately.

The writing contains somewhat dry sense of humor typical of the Economist magazine articles, and can make the reading enjoyable. There are some repetition of similar topics which can be a little bit tiring, however for those who are not familiar with Korea will not be bothered by the repetition.

Overall, it is an excellent reading, and I strongly recommend to those who are interested in Korea. As Korea becomes more globalized and more foreigners come to Korea to live and work, they could do well to read the book to get a primer about the country, the people and their cultures. Those who have been here for a while will also get some aha moments reading the book.

As for my communications coach, I will let him know that someone else has done a fine job of putting together an explanation on Korea, so the world doesn't need my article in a hurry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of South Korean history and society that hits just the right notes, September 13, 2013
Note: I received a review copy of the translated version of this book from Mr. Tudor.

It is clear that Daniel Tudor, formerly with the Economist magazine, loves Korea. In the media interview about this book, Tudor often recounts the electric excitement he felt when he first visited Korea in 2002, in the middle of FIFA World Cup that Korea co-hosted with Japan. What is admirable is that Tudor did not let his love for Korea devolve into wide-eyed orientalism. In Korea, the Impossible Country, Tudor explains Korea like a person in a long-term relationship about her partner. He praises Korea for its unusual achievements, but does not avert his eyes from its unusual problems either. In both cases, his tone is constant and warm, being neither overly excited nor unduly critical.

In Impossible Country, Tudor introduces the contemporary Korean society by arranging a grand tour of Korea, touching upon its modern history, social zeitgeist, pop culture, aesthetics, religions and social mores. Tudor's treatment of these topics is brief, but not cursory. He does a great job of finding granular factoids--many of which are probably not commonly known even among Koreans--that are both interesting and properly representative of the aspect of Korea that he explains. One of the ways in which Tudor achieves this is by actually talking to, and getting the voices of, the Koreans on the ground. (Many books in English about Korea eschews this seemingly obvious step.) In particular, the interview with a mudang [무당], i.e. a shaman, was particularly entertaining.

Impossible Country is also excellent in providing significant counter-currents within the Korean culture, which is essential for the reader to avoid reducing Korea into a series of stereotypes. For example, as the book discusses han [한]--a sorrowful emotion that is widely recognized to form a significant strain in Korean aesthetics--Tudor introduces a novelist who claims that han is a relatively new concept implanted by Imperial Japan in the early 20th century as it was colonizing Korea. Regardless of the strength of this claim, simply introducing this claim does much to refresh the prevalent discussion about han that is often banal in English-language literature about Korea.

This book is not without faults. Although Impossible Country does a good job providing details, certain parts of the book seem a bit too hasty as it moves from Point A to Point B. In many parts, it overly relies on Confucianism to explain away characteristics of Korean society when jumping straight into the facts would have been preferable. But these are nits that need not concern the target audience for this book.

The Bottom Line: Read this book if you have no more than basic knowledge about Korea. Even if you consider yourself fairly proficient about Korea, there is enough in this book that may teach you a thing or two.

T.K.
Reading Korea (readingkorea.blogspot.com)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book with a few omisions, November 14, 2013
By 
Ray Stefanski (Naperville, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
The author provides a thorough review of all aspects of life in South Korea. Any prospective traveler to this country would do well to read it.

The author writes with an optimistic, even cheerful tone. This may be a little misleading in that reality may not be as rosy as the author portrays. There are several areas in which I would have liked to see a more detailed, and perhaps more honest, account.

For example, according to Wikipedia, the U.S. still has 84 army installations in South Korea. There are also 2 American air bases and a naval base. The interaction between American servicemen and the local population is sometime strained, especially when Americans are seen with Korean women, who then tend to be labeled as prostitutes. As is typical, Americans military people overseas tend to disregard the local culture and mores, which can lead to a bad image for the U.S. The author borrowed a pun from the British to describe the Americans: oversexed, overpaid, and over here. A light-hearted portrayal, but I can’t help but wonder what the South Koreans really feel about the American presence in their country.

I feel another omission relates to South Korea’s leadership in elementary and high-school education – it’s the highest-scoring country in reading, math and science aptitude. The author fails to explain these achievements and the relationship to a high suicide rate, second only to Lithuania. It seems characteristic of Koreans to devote all of their energy to gaining a high level of achievement, with a disregard for personal health and life quality. This seems especially hard for children, who completely miss out on what should be the enjoyment of childhood.

But I should not dwell on the negatives, because the book is very nicely written, easy to read, and a pretty thorough introduction to South Korea’s history and its development as a world industrial power.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the impossible made plausible, February 20, 2013
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This review is from: Korea: The Impossible Country (Kindle Edition)
The subtitle of this important book stems from two extraordinary facts about South Korea: that in the space of two generations it has gone from being one of the poorest countries in the world to being a member of the OECD (the group of rich countries), and it has gone from being under the rule of US-backed military dictatorships to being a thriving democracy. Such dramatic changes make the country worthy of study on a number of fronts and Daniel Tudor has made a strong effort to help us understand this remarkable, if also darkly flawed, state.

The book begins with a brief history of Korea from ancient times up to the division of the peninsula in 1948 and the ensuing civil war that ended in 1953. The overview introduces some key themes about relations with China and Japan, the influence of religions and Confucian ethics, attitudes to outsiders and the consolidation of the national culture with its own script and origin myth.

The main body of the text is divided into five parts. The first looks at the influence of shamanism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity, and then the rise of industrial capitalism and democracy. Tudor covers each of these social influences well but makes insufficient distinction between elite and popular culture and how these played out differently over time. This would have helped to explain some apparent anomalies later in the book.

The second part looks at specific cultural traits and how they influence both attitudes and behaviour. These include social bonding and attachment, status competition, maintenance of `face', melancholy and joyfulness, family structure and obligations, and `neophilia' - that Korean obsession with the latest thing. Many of these traits can be seen in other Asian countries but Tudor tries to give them a particular Korean flavour and for the most part succeeds.

In the third part of the book the focus shifts to politics, including relations with North Korea, the links between politics and industrialisation, and the melding of political and business cultures. There are also chapters on the drive for perfection and the current mania for learning English - or rather, for acquiring a certificate to say you have passed an English exam. Much about Korea's industrialisation has been better explained by the Cambridge economist Ha-joon Chang and there is a lot of repetition of facts and arguments in this section that showed the need for some judicious editing, but there is plenty of interest to digest.

The repetition unfortunately continues in the following part of the book, which shifts from cultural analysis to descriptive accounts of housing, diet, cinema, the music scene and the party culture (North Korea has a party culture as well, of course, but only with a capital `P'). These chapters read more like a travel guide or a series of magazine articles. There is little insight into why popular culture has taken its current forms, except in the field of music. Tudor completed the manuscript of this book before the extraordinary phenomenon of PSY and his Gangnam Style song, and I wondered how Tudor would have explained it. The Gangnam area of Seoul gets a number of mentions, though, and you can see why its inhabitants are so ripe for ridicule.

The final part of the book looks at ideas about nationalism and cultural identity and how these are changing. There are chapters on the gay subculture and the role of women, but again the accounts are more descriptive than explanatory. Change is happening but it is very slow.

Korea is rich, its culture is influential in Asia and it has some global companies that are titans of modern capitalism, but the picture is not all rosy. The country has the highest suicide rate in the OECD and the second highest globally (take a bow, Lithuania). Koreans work some of the longest hours in the industrialised world and take very few holidays. Like workaholics everywhere, they are hopelessly unproductive as a result, languishing in the bottom ranks of OECD productivity. Work culture is hierarchical, bureaucratic and conformist, and industry mainly relies on copying innovation from elsewhere. Creativity outside the arts and computer industry is thin on the ground. Discrimination against women is still strong, as is active prejudice against gays, even though homosexuality is not illegal.

Before World War II, the elite culture was based on neo-Confucianism but shamanism and Buddhism were popular among the poor and in rural areas. Women in poor and rural households had greater autonomy to go about in public and participate in work than their rich sisters, and in the chapter on gay culture Tudor notes that same-sex couples were regarded as unremarkable in rural society before the twentieth century. Today the elite culture of politics and business is dominated by a fundamentalist form of Protestant Christianity, yet 70 per cent of the population is not Christian and animist faith persists. All through this book I saw signs of an elite-popular divide in terms of culture and beliefs, and found it frustrating that Tudor did not discuss this and its impact on social change.

While he does not shrink from discussing the negative aspects of Korean society, Tudor is at times a little defensive, trying to paint a positive image overall. He is worried that people might think that Koreans are shallow. K-Pop is so mindless and manufactured that it makes Stock-Aitken-Waterman look like profound intellectuals. Koreans are obsessed with luxury goods and showing off, and there is an inexhaustible passion for looking good, with spending on cosmetics, clothes and plastic surgery all exceptionally high. Advertisements for tongue operations to improve your English appear regularly in the media. Shallow? Never crossed my mind: in modern capitalism this sounds like the height of sophistication. At least Koreans have the ability to laugh at themselves. If you watch Korean comedy shows on TV or enjoy PSY's mockery of the consumer culture, you will see there is cause for hope.

Tudor believes that the adaptability of Korean culture and the determination and cohesion of its people will ensure that progress continues. I think he is right and that the shallow bits will be taken with a grain of salt. Korea tells us a lot about how, and how not, to live and this book is a reliable companion in explaining how the place works. I would have appreciated much less repetition in the text and more use of the religious, structural and cultural themes from parts one and two in explaining why the society looks and acts the way it does in the latter parts of the book, but by and large Tudor takes us into an Aladdin's cave of ideas and information that makes this `impossible' country far more plausible. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Provocative, August 16, 2013
The modern history of South Korea, a new nation that had been mired in abject poverty at its birth and then rose to become a 21st Century country the envy of even developed nations, is amazingly inspiring and yet provocative.

Whether people the world over knew about South Korea's educational and economic miracles or not, this book helps one understands why the fantastically sensational world-wide success of PSY's YouTube music video "Gangnam Style" (with 1.7 billion downloads as of August 16, 2013) resonate with most everyone, especially with my preschool nieces. (I'm relieved to learn the video message has nothing to do with gangsters, or does it -- is the video about superbly educated, exceptionally wealthy, and supremely beautiful South Koreans who are preoccupied with materialism and conspicuous consumption?)

A dear professor (who is also a close relative of mine) referred me to an instructive article in The Atlantic:

[...]

Daniel Tudor wrote:

"Gangnam is a symbol for the excesses of modern South Korea. It is the center not only of English mania but also of competitiveness, not to mention conspicuous consumption. Young women . . . carry US$2,000 handbags as a matter of course. Tellingly, Gangman also contains 70 percent of Seoul's plastic surgery clinics but only 5.5 percent of its population."

"One example is the Galleria Department Store in the new-money Cheongdam-dong neighborhood in the Gangnam area of Seoul, where the most immaculately dressed, beautiful, and yet curiously unhappy-looking women in Korean can be seen."

"[South] Koreans spend 5 percent of their income on luxury goods, on average -- the absolute highest rate in the world."

"[South Koreans] are the heaviest-drinking non-Europeans. "Let's drink and die!"

Daniel Tudor and his research and editor teams should be congratulated for packing so much useful facts about South Korea into 312 pages of easy reading materials. Mr. Tudor and his teams portrayed South Korea, a new nation poorly endowed with natural resources with Herculean odds stacked against it, with clarity, objectivity, completeness, respect, love and scholarship.

The tremendous brain-power, industriousness and tenacity of the people in South Korea created a world-class nation that every nation, whether they are developed ones like the United States of America, emerging BRIC states or impoverished nations like Myanmar, can provide pragmatic inspirations to all.

Daniel Tudor's book "Korea The Impossible Country" recounts how education, education and education helped lift South Korea out of dire poverty and propelled it to a 21st Century economic powerhouse (it currently has the fastest Internet connection in the world, it's Samsung Galaxy S4 outsells Apple's iPhone 5 globally and its Hyundai Elantra, Sonata and Genesis passenger cars are as sporty and technically sophisticated as Germany's BMW and Mercedes Benz). Similarly, as Mr. Tudor suggests, South Korea will and should use education, education and education to ameliorate the social and economic woes that afflict a significant portion of its population -- this gargantuan task mandates a new form of education with a shift in paradigm more suitable for cultivating equality, prosperity sharing and balance.

This book belongs in the required curriculum for college freshman and sophomore the world over because the South Korean experience shows the miraculous benefits of education and also the tremendous human toll extracted by the singular rush to achieve economic greatness.

Mr. Tudor presented both sides of South Korea's miracle.

Mr. Tudor noted: "Koreans are over-educated -- because of the perceived necessity of possessing academic credentials, over 98 percent of South Koreans between the ages of 25 and 34 have graduated from either a junior college or university, the highest rate in the world -- so there is always a large pool of well-qualified applicants for every position."

"Only 51 percent of graduates overall find 'steady work'. . . ."

"Suicide is the leading cause of death among Korean youths, and given the country's educational culture and pressure to excel, that fact should not be surprising."

"Suicide is . . . the fourth greatest cause of death in the population overall."

". . . 74.4 percent of South Korean workers feel that their jobs have driven them to depression[.] Labor productivity (i.e., the economic result of each hour worked) is extremely disappointing, with South Korea coming 28th out of the 30 OECD countries; only Mexico and Poland produce less economic value per hour work. The lack of adequate breaks, holidays, and sleep takes a heavy toll on the amount of work that people can actually produce in a given time."

"'If you're here in your fifties or sixties, you're a thief [stealing jobs from those younger].'" "Forced early retirement [around the age of fifty] still exists, and as a result there are many middle-aged and old men scraping a living driving taxis, operating small convenience stores, or working as security guards"

"[W]hile Koreans have much to be proud of, they remain an unhappy people."

Perhaps the recent election of Park Geun-hye as president of South Korea will usher in a new chapter into modern South Korea, where social and economic disparities are substantially narrowed and all South Koreans can partake in the country's prosperity and maintain a balanced, happy life. Mr. Tudor finished the book with some optimism -- "let us hope for one more miracle."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most well-written book about modern Korea, November 10, 2013
By 
Sungmoon Cho (Mountain View, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Korea: The Impossible Country (Kindle Edition)
As someone who was born and educated in Korea for 30 years, and has been living in California for 6 years, I can say this book is more extensive and more informative than any other books written about Korea. I met Daniel in Seoul about 3 years ago when he was interested in meeting young entrepreneurs, so he could write something about the "burgeoning entrepreneurship in Korea". Reading this book, I could see that he learned SO MUCH about Korea and Koreans since. In some areas, he knows about Korea better than I do. For example, I learned a lot about Chaebol and their histories through this book. The book dedicates a lot to Korean history, but this is never a history book. The historic facts are simply to support Daniel's own insights of "how Korea became the Korea it is now". With the very insights that he gained through his own experiences and interviews, this book becomes much more interesting and engaging.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about 1) how Korea became one of the top economies from one of the poorest countries in just 50 years, 2) how K-Pop and K-Dramas achieved international successes (including Psy), and 3) why Koreans work so hard and also drink so much. ;)

In conclusion, Korea is such an interesting country, so you SHOULD pay a visit someday if you haven't done yet.
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