This book explores the causes for the extraordinary growth experienced by a few Asian countries in the pre-1997 crisis era. It describes, in great detail, the policies adopted in each country that are believed to have spurred such development; to its credit (being a World Bank book), it even suggests that some unorthodox policies may have been beneficial, even though it does suggest that these benefits are not there to be reaped again by a country trying to emulate them. One of the main arguments is also that income distribution improvements have been a common experience across these countries, which is a topic not often discussed in development economics.
There are, however, some obvious fallacies in this book. Having been written pre-1997 crisis, it does highlight the strenght of the banking system in many of these countries; these banking systems were later to be blamed for much of the pain in the 1997 crisis.
I find this book fascinating, not as a source of development ideas (those can be found elsewhere), but due to the historical context in which it was written (praising economies that were about to collapse). Of course, these economies are still better off that most developing countries, so I do not believe that they are mistaken in many points, but there are certain contradictions that arose with the crisis that make it worth reading this book to determine what is good advice and what is hot air.