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Product Details

  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (March 13, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395528100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395528105
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,598,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rather than try to "outsacrifice the Japanese," Americans can make the U.S. economy competitive again, Fallows urges, by tapping our native talent for disorder, constant change, mobility and entrepreneurial zeal. An Atlantic correspondent living in Japan and Malaysia since 1986, this former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter bolsters his thesis with firsthand comparisons of Asian societies and our own. His points are well-taken, if not particularly new. In the book's anticlimactic, weakly argued second half, Fallows blames America's stagnation on an "inappropriate, static, Confucian-style merit system" whose elements include restrictive professions, IQ tests and channeling of students along predetermined academic tracks. To open up the professions, the author would ease licensing requirements in nursing and medicine, and permit hiring of public school teachers even if they have not completed formal training. He also calls for easing restrictions on immigration, making Social Security benefits partly taxable and tying welfare subsidies to work. Author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Fallows has spent the last few years living in Japan and Malaysia with his wife and children, reporting with geniality and penetration for Atlantic Monthly and National Public Radio. Unlike writers who saw "Vietnam" as a geographical metaphor for America's humiliation and "Japan" for America's decay, Fallows draws from Asia the lesson that America, while gathering and respecting global experience, should nevertheless trust its own instincts in order to recapture national greatness. By turns witty, meditative, and clarifyingly analytical, this is sure to inform national debate, as did his National Defense ( LJ 6/1/81).
- Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Online Acquirer on September 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
At a time of incredible hysteria (1980's) about the Asian economic challenge, James Fallows came through with a sensible, level-headed assessement of what makes America unique. Open immigration, physical mobility, economic mobility, lack of traditions, mass-media culture - all the things that make America culturally unique among nations also makes America an economic power house that can rebound and renew itself. A profoundly important book.
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By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Fallows has a very important message for esp. those of us who came of age in 60'& 70'when America's faults made it so easy to feel lousy about this country's role in the world. (I was living in France when we bombed Cambodia and felt everything was ending.)
His message about race & racism is profoundly important -- that one of the things that makes America "unusal is its assumption that race should not matter, that a society can be built of individuals with no particular historic or racial bond to link them together." And I love his vision of "people always in motion, able to make something different of themselves, ready for second chances until the day they die." (it was from this book I learned that William F. Buckley's grandfather was a south Texas sherif -- I love it!)
I hope Fallows comes out with a new edition analyzing the economic dynamics of the 90's in the light of his premise that we need to be more like us.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book while living in Japan for the first time in early 1990. I love Japan and studied the language but I also love my own country and began to realize that after I began to make my initial adjustments to life in metropolitan Tokyo. Yes, America is a life of immigrants and constant change, as Mr. Fallows's own family history illustrates. And, yes, Japan is a land of far less mobility and still offers far less of an opportunity for an individual to "reinvent" him or herself. 1990 was also a time when American businesses were suffering at the expense of formidable Japanese competition. The world's richest stock market valuation belonged to Tokyo. It was the height of their great bubble. Mr. Fallows, an esteemed writer and editor who has since been chief editor of U.S. News and World Report, made a name for himself, together with Mr. Clyde Prestowitz, as one of the chief "revisionists, " alarming us Americans that Japanese cultural, historical and organizational characteristics would continue to be formidable. And they are right: despite our freewheeling economy and porous nation (definitely our great attribute), we still have the same stubborn record-level trade deficits with Japan. Yet Japanese are voracious consumers too so something tells me that "They" continue to get it right too. Most importantly, Mr. Fallows's book puts a human face on our respective strengths -- and weaknesses -- as Americans and Japanese. After four years of living in Japan over a seven-year period, I've figured out that we as proud and "unique" nations and people are more alike than unalike, a point Mr. Fallows repeatedly makes.
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By A Customer on April 14, 1997
Format: Paperback
A very informative read. I give it a thumbs up
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
Want to know why America didn't fall apart like many said it would a decade ago? Its easy to see now that America is and will be the most successful country in the world for many years to come, but this book shows why that is true. Anyone who wants a better picture of economics in America should read this. Freedom breeds success!
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