not sure i'd go out of my way to recommend this book, but i wouldn't stop someone from reading it either. gifford is clearly quite knowledgeable about china, and the book is filled with interesting anecdotes, cultural highlights, and historical facts and explanations. there seems to be a bit of a tension within gifford on china. he's clearly fascinated with the place, and has a deep respect for it, but he also has a tendency to make sweeping generalizations about the people as a whole that end up making the chinese people sound like a science project. i think this is mainly a result of his perspective, which is something akin to a close family friend. he knows china very, very well, but as an outsider can never truly understand it. having spend an extended amount of time in china, i can understand that. that said, i also appreciate the objective criticisms that he is able to give as an outsider. in the end, this is a good crash course on modern china. it gives both a historical perspective and a ground-level journalistic perspective, and it is far more interesting than reading a text book.
Definitely recommend. The world Asimov creates is interesting and engrossing. I zipped through this book in less than a week, which is pretty fast for me. The final story really brings the whole collection together. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.
You really need to have a little background on the topic to understand this book fully. If you have that, I'm sure it's probably a lot more interesting.
Generally thought provoking and fascinating. Written like a literary expose of sorts. Seemed totally genuine, and often stated in a painfully matter-of-fact manner. Recommend.
the plot meandered a bit for my taste, but i liked the characters, the dialogue and the interactions. i was certainly never bored, but for me the book lacked the charm of jesus' son. i'm basically non-committal when it comes to recommending this book. i'd say if you read the plot summary and it appeals to you, then give it a shot. at the very least, the narrator was good.
i didn't enjoy this book, but it does give an overview of basic economic concepts. unfortunately, despite its length the book did not teach me anything i didn't already know, and as the book goes on, it becomes increasingly focused on the evils of government intervention, and less so on explaining economic concepts. i could have done without the extensive libertarian diatribes. i'm a believer in free-market economics and the global economy, but the agenda was so clear and tone was often so biased and closed-minded that the experience was simply not fruitful for me. it's a shame because when sowell sticks to economics, he explains things quite effectively, but i'd have rather purchased a less partisan book.
this was a thoughtful and relatively objective book. the title can be a bit misleading. the book is not at all about the downfall of america, but instead about the cultural and economic elements that have contributed to successful societies over the years, the extent to which these elements exist in different modern societies. he talks about the merits of the free market and globalization and their positive impacts on societies throughout history, and perhaps most interestingly, compares the evolution of india, china, the uk, and the united states. this is all an overly simplistic summary, but in the end i'd say that zakaria gives a good overview of the past and relates it to current developments in the state of international affairs. perhaps most importantly, it was fairly non-partisan, except for zakaria's obvious preference for free-market-based western economies and political systems. there will always be room for disagreement, but zakaria maintained a calm and respectful tone throughout.
author has writing and storytelling potential. it was not fully realized here, but it was still a decent story. would read another of his books.
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