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Can Asians think?. (Englisch) Taschenbuch


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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8d87187c) von 5 Sternen 11 Rezensionen
46 von 49 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8d87e6b4) von 5 Sternen Read this book and climb out of the PC rut 2. April 2002
Von R. Smith - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
First of all, the brouhaha over the title simply proves the author's point: Asians and Westerners view things differently.
If you care at all about the world, READ THIS BOOK. Really, it's OK. Just treat it like one of those trashy novels whose cover you need to hide in public. It's really worth it.
As an impressionable youngster I was brought up to believe that what worked for me as a kid was best for the world: a single-family home in a semi-rural setting, public schools, democracy, free speech, and so on. It took my first visits overseas to appreciate that people can really flourish in apartment dwellings. It's taken Mahbubani's book to make me realize that today's free speech and universal franchise may have been the RESULT and not the CAUSE of American middle-class prosperity.
Mahbubani's views have vital implications regarding aid to developing countries. We've seen in the news how elections by themselves have failed to stabilize unstable countries.
He also has some very ripe comments about the Western press, which no doubt explains why the book is so rarely reviewed. He argues that the press is an unchecked power both overseas and within the US -- imagine if a tinpot dictator refused to talk to the American press? Unheard of!
Mahbubani believes that the public should demand the same level of integrity from their journalists that they expect of their politicians. Yet it's rare that journalists are raked over the coals for being bribed by corporations (just about every major journalist seems to have spent time on Enron's payroll as a "consultant") or for marital infidelity. Washington journalists are very good at casting the first stone when some politician is caught with his pants down, but it's rare for someone to question a journalist's integrity based on outside infidelities. Given how "access" equals "power" in Washington, Mahbubani argues that the press represents a large power bloc within the US that is largely unchecked with respect to integrity. While I find this statement a bit extreme, there is some truth to it.
Some people see Mahbubani as an apologist for the Singaporean government. It's true that his words make their government more palatable to Westerners. But it's important to consider his words, regardless of whether he's an apologist or not. Intellectuals listened to numerous fools extolling the virtues of Stalin in the '30s. Let us give this fellow a hearing, at least.
Is Mahbubani "right" or "wrong" ?? I don't know. But he provides some incredibly thought-provoking essays based on a lifetime of foreign service.
19 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8d87e708) von 5 Sternen Intellectually engaging and well-argued 29. Januar 2005
Von Junsuh - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
In this collection of essays written by Mahbunai, a career diplomat and scholar, he seeks to answer questions relating to the new and evolving global order. The essays have been written about a decade ago(from early 1990s), yet the key ideas addressed still retain their relevancy in today's times. To help us better understand the global climate, the writer discusses questions such as `Can Asians think?' `How do Asians view issues such as press freedom and human rights" and "What can Asia teach the West?" Do not rush to think that the writer wrote his essays with an anti-West, pro-Asia bias. In fact, although he argues that the new millennium will see the rise of Asia and the declining dominance of the West, he maintains that the West, especially the US, will maintain a core leadership role in the world, and may become an even more cosmopolitan and vibrant by absorbing cultures from around the globe.

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).
19 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8d87eb40) von 5 Sternen clear thinking from the east 6. Dezember 2010
Von Scott C. Locklin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I picked up this book in the Singapore airport for the chuckles elicited by the highly politically incorrect title. Paging through, I recognized that the author is of a very rare breed for english language authors: a man who tells the undiluted truth. Most english language writers on public policy or international relations matters are completely worthless; they are mere liturgical recitations of the prevailing wisdom as published in the New York Times editorial page. Mr. Mahbubani, on the other hand, clearly demonstrates that Asian writers on these matters (unlike their white counterparts) are more than capable of rational and original thought. In all seriousness, even though I rarely agree with his views, writers like this could get me to read a newspaper, as they are actual thoughts, rather than rearrangements of prejudices. There are no mainstream American writers producing this caliber of essay, with the possible exception of "Spengler" (aka David P. Goldman) who has had to publish in an Asian newspaper himself.

This is a great irony: in the allegedly freewheeling West, it is impossible to write such things in a mainstream publication. So what if Asian nations don't have a free press? We don't have anything remotely resembling a free press in the West either. While our lack of freedom is not codified in law, it is far more oppressive of clear and rational thinking than whatever press unfreedoms may occur in a country like Singapore. I'd even argue it is impossible for most Western intellectuals to have such thoughts, so great is our internal colonization by politically correct insanity. What kind of thoughts am I talking about? Besides the title essay, Mr. Mahbubani argues the obvious point that "democracy" is not the cure-all that Western policy makers make it out to be. He also argues that a "free" press often do more harm than good, and don't even accomplish the social goods they claim to bring to humanity. He argues that people may, in fact, be inherently different (again; a truth I find obvious, but which is thought crime in the West). He also points out the obvious fact that the recent "freedoms" which Western civilization has awarded itself; unlimited social welfare, freewheeling sexuality, destruction of the family unit, free access to "illegal" drugs, the madness of radical individualism, "humane" laws which allow criminals to torment innocent citizens -these might be a bad idea, even for the West. He also argues that the West needs to listen to thinkers from the East, and that modern welfare states are not some kind of utopia: I am in abundant agreement with his views on this subject, as Asian nations are very obviously doing much better than the West in producing pleasant societies for decent people to live in. I've had this thought myself apropos my own visits to Asian nations, and hope more thinkers from the East stand up and give us decadent Westerners the truth medicine we so desperately need. I think he needs to go further: Asian nations like Singapore do not need to defend themselves from morons in the West who lecture them on their "human rights violations." Asian nations like Singapore need to lecture us on our human rights violations: the violation of the basic human right to live a decent life, free of the social cancers which do not afflict Singapore. The Asian way is superior in many ways, and a country which has built itself from a malarial colonial backwater into an economic superpower and pleasant place to live in such a short period of time need not feel embarrassed about the system and techniques which accomplished this: the Asian way should be a source of pride and patriotism for Asian people. His clear thinking carries over to his ideas on international relations. While some of the essays dealing with this subject are out of date, they are clear and well thought out. The only real issues I might take with them are his tendency to anthropomorphize countries. I suppose this is a typical Western criticism, since Westerners see ourselves as collections of autonomous individuals, but I mention it anyway. The last couple are the sort of defense of the UN you'd expect from a former Ambassador from a small country to the talking club in NYC. I do not particularly agree with them at all, though they are spirited enough I enjoyed reading them anyway. A typical Western defense of the UN is not unlike a religious or moral lecture. Mr. Mahbubani makes arguments based on the concept of Western self-interest, which are far more convincing to me than some holy roller argument.

The uncomfortable fact of the matter is, Westerners need to hear arguments from Asian thinkers like Mr. Mahbubani far more than Asians need to hear from Westerners trying to impose their values on Asians. Western civilizations have far more social problems than Asian nations do, and the answers that Asian thinkers provide are not incompatible with Western civilization.
13 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8d87ef0c) von 5 Sternen Intellectually engaging, but... 28. August 2005
Von Sanjay Agarwal - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I bought the first edition of this book some 4-5 years ago, mainly for its provocative title, and the very obvious Asian face on the cover. Reading the book slowly over a period of two months, across several journeys, I was deeply impressed by the clarity of thought, and the unique perspective that the author offered. When I saw a revised edition, I snapped it up.

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!
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8d88100c) von 5 Sternen Excellent book 9. März 2012
Von Maurits - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Another interesting book from Mahbubani, with many eye-openers considering the way the west struggeling with upcoming Asian economies. Like someone said: essential reading. I fully agree; living in the 'western' world this is an important book to read. Highly recommanded.
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