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Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West Paperback – March 28, 2000
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Reid credits Asia's success to the ethical values of Chinese philosopher Confucius, born in 551 B.C., who taught the value of harmony and the importance of treating others decently. This is not a new perception--Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and others have rather heavy-handedly invoked it to claim moral superiority over the West--but the author's vivid anecdotes strengthen its relevance. Public messages constantly remind Asian citizens of their responsibilities to society. To enhance a sense of belonging, civic ceremonies encourage individuals' allegiance to a greater good; across Japan, for example, April 1 is Nyu-Sha-Shiki day, when corporations officially welcome new employees, most of whom remain loyal to their company for life. Citing Malaysia's ideas of a "reverse Peace Corps," Reid sees a case for Asians coming to teach the West in the same way that Westerners have evangelized in Asia for over four centuries. --John Stevenson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Low crime? Sure. On the other hand did he once mention the abhorrent practices of police brutality, forced confessions, broken kneecaps and busted skulls, 98% conviction rates, no habeas corpus, fudging of crime statistics and prison conditions that essentially amount to death sentences?
Low divorce rate? Until recently women were not entitled to a dime of their husbands money upon divorce. Now that they are, divorce rates are skyrocketing.
Contrary to what the author claims, Japan is not a homogeneous and harmonious society as any educated sociologist specializing in Japan knows. There are very distinct regional cultures, generational differences and dialects which greatly influence people's eating habits, language, thought patterns, housing styles, culturally influenced behavior etc...
There are great income and educational disparities. Minority, ethnic and gender issues DO exist however they often do not receive the attention from the media that they might elsewhere. One reason may be that Japan's freedom of the press is very low in comparison with other developed nations and groups fighting hard battles for recognition and rights are too often swept under the rug and ignored.
Any half-educated economist could tell you the real ECONOMIC factors that were behind Japan's boom and why it was not based upon Confucianism and "Asian Values". Lifetime employment is dying because companies found out the hard way that it does not work. There have been massive layoffs and a growing unemployment rate.Read more ›
In "Confucius Lives Next Door" T.R. Reid attempts to expose and explain East Asia's 'second miracle'. The first miracle being the enormous economic gains of the last half-century that started in Japan and now encompass most of the Pacific side of that continent. The second miracle, in Reid's view, is the social stability, low crime rate, and overall quality of life that can be found throughout East Asia. Boiling a complex issue that spans billions of people, thousands of years, dozens of languages and scores of cultures, he concludes that Confucius is to blame.
If that sounds overly simplistic, it is because it is; and inherently that is the problem with the book. Once again here we have a person trying to explain another culture(s) in simplistic historical solutions that fit many and divergent facets of a large swath of people.
Yet, in certain ways Reid is on to something. Just as Western thinking finds its philosophical underpinnings in the influence of Plato, with a liberal sprinkling of hundreds of thinkers along the way, Asia -- particularly countries historically influenced by China -- owe the core of their philosophical and social thinking to good old Confucius, with a liberal sprinkling of hundreds along the way. That much is good. Reid had me at the Plato-Confucius comparison, and his chapter about the life of Confucius was educational. Most of his ideas appear to have been instigated by conversations with his next-door neighbor, Mr. Matsuda, who seems to be the wizened neighbor we all wish we had. But in this book I fear Reid has ordered more lemon chicken than he can eat in one sitting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent read, engaging in the common thread that binds all Asians and lessons in how to be for the rest of the world - especially for
Facinating and informative. anyone who is interested in or works with the Japanese should read this book. can't wait to read another Reid bookPublished 9 months ago by Chris Ebert-Santos
A great book enjoyed by all the book club members. It has history and humor and beautifully written by a favorite author. Read morePublished 16 months ago by N.B.V.
Reid writes from an obviously conservative perspective. His love for the traditional view of family values with no concept of the potential cost (for example, shaming divorce might... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Meleah Bowles
Great Read. Needed this book for a class I was taking. It allowed me to read this on the go. ThanksPublished 23 months ago by kelly