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Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower Hardcover – April 14, 2015
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"But Mr. Paulson's warnings demand attention...[he] knows more about China, its politics and the players behind it than most Westerners...Mr. Paulson's analysis in his book...are all the more remarkable because he has long been a bull on China and has deep friendships with its senior leaders."―Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times
Praise for ON THE BRINK, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestseller
"Penetrating . . . goes behind closed doors . . . a highly personal, you-are-there telling for how top players in government and finance staved off a disaster that could have been much worse."―Bloomberg News
"Fast-paced . . . engaging . . . well-written."―Washington Post
"Highly detailed . . . a gripping book."―Wall Street Journal
"Concentrates on his extraordinary thirty months at Treasury . . . Paulson had to wrestle with more, and more burning, crises than any Treasury secretary in history."―Roger Lowenstein, author of The End of Wall Street, and journalist, New York Times Book Review
"Tells how he brought us back from the brink of financial collapse . . . [includes] major revelations . . . Read On the Brink and get Paulson's take on the whole affair."―Forbes.com
"The first lengthy account of the crisis from a key decision maker. The book offers a look at Paulson's thinking during those scary days, as well as his sometimes unvarnished opinions of other Washington characters, many of whom had central roles in managing the government's response."―Dallas Morning News
"A fantastic read . . . succinct and to the point."―Business Insider
About the Author
Henry M. Paulson, Jr., served as CEO of Goldman Sachs (1999-2006), 74th secretary of the U.S. Treasury (2006-2009), and chairman of the Nature Conservancy (2004-2006). He has sat across the bargaining table from countless Chinese politicians and CEOs as a banker, a statesman, and an environmentalist. Since leaving Washington, the former Treasury secretary has worked on bridging the gap between the U.S. and China through the Paulson Institute, which he describes not as a think tank but as a "think and do" tank.
Top customer reviews
With an easygoing storytelling and narrative style, deepened by insight and candor, Paulson weaves together three strands in his book:
!. A rare up-close look at China's contemporary political and business leaders, showing how they think and maneuver. Few people have spent so much time with the top people of China or have such a keen eye for discerning what makes them tick.
2. An analysis of the challenges China faces in its process of economic reform and urbanization. As head of the Paulson Institute that he established to engage with China, he has thought deeply about China's problems, ranging from debt to the need to design sustainable cities, protect wetlands, and become environmentally responsible.
3. A guide for how U.S. political and business leaders can best blend competition and cooperation to help China become a responsible part of an economic and political global order.
Above all, the book is an enjoyable, lively, colorful read -- in addition to being a fascinating way to learn about what's really happening in China today.
Paulson's book is the best I've read. A lot of this is due to the high profile deals he has done - he has very strong anecdotes and speaks therefore from a position of authority.
I'd say this is required reading above all others for those trying to do business in China. In a nutshell, he puts it down to an ability to read the situation is in China and tailor his deals to those greater objectives.
USA needs people with the patience and understanding of China. Trump should read this and then maybe he would work pragmatically and not go on a populous inspired rampage and potentially cause a disaster between the two nations.
Anyway I had to put this book at 3 stars because the last few chapters could have been put in another book. Too broad and most readers are exhausted by this point.
Paulson, who courted China as Goldman Sachs chief, U.S. Treasury secretary and then as head of his eponymous “think and do tank”, paints a vivid picture of a China that pretends to no longer exist. It’s a land where noble officials beg straight-talking American bankers to help get their finances in order - at least until the financial crisis. It’s a world where favours are repaid. It’s the first third of the book, in which Paulson establishes Goldman’s toehold in the People’s Republic, that resonates most.
America’s most controversial investment bank won the trust of Chinese officialdom when rivals mostly ignored the country. Morgan Stanley, an early mover in the 1990s through its joint-venture investment bank China International Capital Corp, was mired in infighting and ineptitude. To this day, Goldman is one of only two foreign companies permitted full management control over their brokerages in China.
Paulson might be most proud of his upfrontness and ability to listen, but readers will be more struck by an indefatigable pursuit of personal connections, and a willingness to use them opportunistically. An environmental-group meeting with President Jiang Zemin is seized as a chance to discuss Goldman Sachs’ role in China’s capital markets. While running the Strategic Economic Dialogue, he secures the outward passage of a formerly jailed activist.
Paulson flatters liberally and isn’t shy of basking in the adulation that he receives in return. He is branded a hero for visiting China during the SARS epidemic. He is “literally mobbed” by awestruck students after a speech at Tsinghua University. The biggest praise in Paulson’s world, which he both receives and gives frequently, is to be the kind of person who gets things done.
Copious diplomacy might be expected from a man who still has career ambitions in the People’s Republic. Still, in the memoir it grates. Take Paulson’s seemingly uncanny ability to distinguish heroes from villains. President Xi Jinping, central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan, anti-graft tsar Wang Qishan and Premier Li Keqiang are instantly recognised by Paulson as good eggs. The treatment of Wang, who called in Goldman to help reconstruct the broken conglomerate Guangdong Enterprises in the 1990s, verges on hagiography.
Conversely the now-jailed Bo Xilai, with whom Paulson once shared a Whole Foods take-out dinner, is “overbearing and aggressive”. A memorably obnoxious power sector chief shows indifference over the destruction of the World Trade Centre in 2001, and later absconds in a graft scandal. There is disappointingly little colour about purged security chief Zhou Yongkang, even though Paulson worked since the 1990s with the then-head of Goldman client PetroChina.
Paulson does not discuss what might be Goldman’s most interesting Chinese moment: the bailout of Hainan Securities. Goldman donated around $60 million to the bust brokerage during Paulson’s stewardship. In return, from the ashes of Hainan Securities came a new licence that was awarded to the firm’s joint venture, where the U.S. group was allowed to take effective management control. Blessed personally by Wang Qishan, that odd deal would be difficult to imagine in today’s tough supervisory environment.
“Dealing With China” also glosses over some areas where things didn’t “get done”. Despite Paulson’s evangelism, unhelpful rules still stunt foreign financial companies in China. While foreign-invested brokerages have struggled, Chinese rivals like Galaxy and Citic have grown into aggressive colossi. And one of the main goals of part-privatising state enterprises like PetroChina, namely improving governance and bringing market discipline, has not been reached, as evinced by an ongoing parade of corruption purges and continued heavy-handed political management.
In later chapters the book descends into bland recitations of problems the Chinese government already talks about openly, like the need for more social mobility and a cleaner environment. The exception might be his criticism of internet and social restrictions, but here he pulls his punches, explaining how social oppression is “perfectly logical” from the ruling party’s perspective. Coy references to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 make all too much sense in light of Paulson’s remarks that he hopes the book will be published in China in an uncensored form.
Maybe the biggest unspoken message of the book is that beneath the praise and friendship, it’s really all business. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Today, Goldman’s Asia head and vice chairman, Mark Schwartz, is the only foreign banker of his rank based in mainland China. But then he is also the highest paid of the company’s top executives, receiving a package worth $24 million in 2014, including a $6 million payment to spare him from the effect of China’s income taxes.
If Paulson created a template for dealing with China, it is to say what your hosts want to hear, while keeping a close eye on the financial prize.
- John Foley
I do question if Mr. Paulson had the Financial Industry, rather than the great American, taxpaying, middle class at heart when he called for the bailout of his Industry while he was Secretary of the Treasury. I think his career influenced his thinking.