- Paperback: 152 pages
- Publisher: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd; 4 edition (August 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9814276014
- ISBN-13: 978-9814276016
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Can Asians Think? 4th Edition
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About the Author
Kishore Mahbubani is the Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) of the National University of Singapore. He continues to serve in the boards and councils of several institutions in Singapore, Asia, Europe and North America.
His articles have appeared in a wide range of journals and newspapers, including The Washington Quarterly, Survival, American Interest, the National Interest, the Wilson Quarterly, Time, Newsweek and New York Times.
He is also the author of Beyond The Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World (published in New York) and The New Asian Hemisphere: the irresistible shift of global power to the East. More information on his writings can be found on www.mahbubani.net.
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-- Tom Plate, Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California
Mahbunai employs a relatively objective tone throughout his essays. His essays are well researched, cogently argued and incisively presented. The book written in a similar vein as that of Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations", but it differs by offering an Asian perspective on the changing global order. Now, that makes for essential reading (for both Asians and Westerners).
The revised edition is frankly, not as good as the original. Possibly buoyed by the success of the earlier book, Kishore Madhubani tries to use the present book as a diplomatic tool to the change the UN and the US. While these may no doubt be worthy goals, the particular essays aimed at that tend to be a little fawning, and a little manipulative.
The book is structured as a collection of essays, based on talks or articles which Madhubani gave or wrote over a period of time. However, this does not affect the quality of the book adversely, as his perspective remains unchanged, though evolving.
'Can Asians Think' helped give me a new perspective on the differences between the East and the West. It also helped me work out that the Western way was not the only one, and it may also not be totally and automatically relevant in East. We therefore need to go back and think how (and in what conditions) a particular Western solution emerged, before accepting it or evaluating it. This is particularly important, as there is a kind of 'thought imperialism' generated by the publishing industry in the West, which tends to swamp out non-Western ways of thinking. The strong publishing industry has also resulted in commercialisation of the intellect across the modern world, which may not be such a good thing for the future of the world.
Typically for an Eastern mind, Kishore Madhubani does not quote statistics or studies in support of his arguments. Not being tied down by the need to prove the validity of his arguments, he is able to develop and put across his perspective with ease. This also allows the reader to take him as a trusted friend rather than an intellectual adversary. (Read and compare The Geography of Thought by Nisbett to see what I mean in terms of writing style). Also the book is full of insights. I particularly recommend the Ten Heresies of journalism (An Asian Perspective on Human Rights and Freedom of the Press). Another gem on population control (Asian Hordes) is contained The Dangers of Decadence: What the Rest Can Teach the West. Another valuable essay is 'Japan Adrift'.
All in all, a good book. Let's hope the intellectual in Kishore Madhubani does not succumb to the diplomat in him!
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