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July 08, 2005

What Books Do You Recommend?

Peter Coy

People all over the world are eager to know more about China and India. Please name one, two, or three books that you think would help people understand China, or India, or both. These could be political books, histories, journalistic accounts, biographies, or even literature.

03:18 PM

I am a great believer in the importance of understanding the historical background, so I would recommend The classic Confucian Analects which capture the essence of Chinese culture and imperial traditions. I hope readers will also consider The Chinese Century (Wharton 2004)in which I summarize my views re the impact of a rising China on the global economy.

Posted by: Oded Shenkar at July 8, 2005 04:33 PM

I very much enjoyed Oded's book The Chinese Century. It summarizes very well what is happening in China today and paints quite an accurate picture of China, feels very much like the one I am exposed to everyone as I travel around and experienced personally. I am buying a few to give to my colleagues a friends. (Oded, can I get to to sign mine when we have an opportunity to meet?)

I also recommend "Mr. China" by Tim Clissold and "China, Inc" by Ted Fishman. Both provides interesting perspective on doing business in China and its potential and difficulties.

Posted by: Viveca Chan at July 9, 2005 04:03 AM

Books I recommend:

-Romila Thapar's Indian Tales (Children's book)

-VS Naipaul's India: A Million Mutinies

-Mark Tully's India: No Full Stops Here

-Guru Charan Das's India Unbound

Posted by: Subroto Bagchi at July 9, 2005 05:50 AM

Unfortunately I am relatively poorly read on China and that is something I shall correct beyond BW and magazine articles. Here is what I have read and would recommend :

1 A history of the Bengali speaking people - Nitish Sengupta (non fiction) - helps me reexamine my Bengali roots in modern India

2 The Future of India - Dr. Bimal Jalan (Non Fiction) (the former RBI governor) a good read for those hungry for India's directions.

3 The hungry tide - Amitav Ghosh (Fiction) - a genre of writing that is become increasingly popular with Indians writing with poise in English

4 Vedic Mathematics - cannot trace the author but it reveals the power of mathematics over 4000 years ago in India....used it to explain basic mathematics to my children...

Posted by: Saurav Adhikari at July 11, 2005 11:14 PM

"Regarding books, may I add two very recent books on India. One is, 'The Future of India : Politics, Economics and Governance' by Dr. Bimal Jalan, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, and member of Parliament. The other, I hesitate to say, is my own, 'Remaking India: One Country, One Destiny'. Both books have obtained good reviews for explaining the inter-twined dyanamics of political and economic change in India."

Posted by: arun maira at July 12, 2005 02:09 AM

Yes, I did forget Arun Maira's book 'Remaking India: One Country, One Destiny' which is also a good insight into India....

Posted by: Saurav Adhikari at July 12, 2005 03:09 AM

I would like to recommend the following books:

John King Fairbank, the United States and China

Jonathan Story, Race to the market

Oded Shenkar, The Chinese Century

William Overholt, The Rise of China: How Economic Reform Is Creating a New Superpower

Peter Noland, China at the Crossroads

Posted by: Wang Yong at July 12, 2005 04:08 AM

Of the books I have recently read on China, I found Lawrence Brahm's 'Zhu Rongji and the Making of Modern China" most educative. It describes the former premier's career progression against a very revealing backdrop of the ascendance of the modern Chinese leadership. What I found most striking was the contrast with India's political and administrative leadership. I believe that this contrast is an important factor in influencing the relative performance of the two economies on many fronts.

On India, the books mentioned by other participants - those by Bimal Jalan, Arun Maira and Gurcharan Das - are good leads into the current Indian scenario.

Posted by: Subir Gokarn at July 12, 2005 08:09 AM

Let us not forget, the classic “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.

The oldest military treatise in the world which is still influencing today's Chinese politicians.

Posted by: Manoj Singh, CEO Deloitte Asia Pacific at July 13, 2005 12:30 AM

I will certainly go with many of the titles already recommended by other colleagues.

While Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat and Clyde Prestowitz's Three Billion New Capitalists certainly give credits to the competitiveness of India and China, thus highlight the two countries' rise to global power status, it is also worth reading the following pessimistic accounts of China’s future: Joe Studwell’s The China Dream: The Quest for the Last Great Untapped Market on Earth (Grove Press, 2002, 2003), a critical look at the severe problems facing the Chinese economy; Elizabeth Economy’s The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future (Cornell University Press, 2004), a well researched account on the environmental cost of China’s economic miracle.

Posted by: Wenran Jiang at July 13, 2005 02:52 AM

"Looking Back to Think Ahead: Green India 2047" by Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi

and

"Banking on Biomass: A New Strategy for Sustainable Prosperity Based on Renewable Energy and Dispersed Industrialisation" by K.R. Datye, Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad.

Posted by: Rajni Bakshi at July 13, 2005 03:04 AM


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