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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A business book that outclasses the rest
Anyone unimpressed by the general run of business books will find this a refreshing exception. First up, it is beautifully crafted. James Kynge brings an evocative personal perspective to China and the Chinese. The former Financial Times bureau chief in Beijing also has a topic which is vast and important - the book's publisher has classified it as history, not business...
Published on 15 April 2007 by Victor Smart

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10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars long distance observation
Very good story line and it is well written. But it is not deep and has few new insights. A far more insightful book on current Chinese politics and business is written by a Chinese journalist/consultant George Zhibin Gu: China's global reach: markets, multinationals, and globalization, which gives inside story about current affairs plus 30 case studies of Chinese...
Published on 10 Jun 2006 by Expat-biz-Hong Kong


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A business book that outclasses the rest, 15 April 2007
Anyone unimpressed by the general run of business books will find this a refreshing exception. First up, it is beautifully crafted. James Kynge brings an evocative personal perspective to China and the Chinese. The former Financial Times bureau chief in Beijing also has a topic which is vast and important - the book's publisher has classified it as history, not business. The themes - not least how it has taken a nominally socialist bureaucracy to destroy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of foreign capitalists' intellectual property - are intriguing, amusing and insightful. The book also bravely touches on issues such as the way China is ravaging the environment, its own and that of its neighbours. A rare buy-two-copies-and-give-one-to-a-friend book that is far better than the much-hyped The World is Flat, by Thomas L. Friedman, which takes a rather banal conceit and milks it dry.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 22 May 2007
By 
C. Charamis (Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Unlike most books on China, this one does not concentrate on how to do business there, but rather on how Chinese business practices and economic prospects are affecting the whole world. Hardly a sensationalist, Mr. Kynge nevertheless arrives at highly troubling conclusions: China has vast potential for growth, but is also full of very real weaknesses - a combination that can throw the global economy into turmoil if it becomes unbalanced.

The author writes in a fluid easy to read style that grabs your attention, with personal stories and observations, while also providing enough data to make his points convincingly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview., 10 Oct 2009
By 
Gregor (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This book gives an general overview of the economic reforms taking place in China over the last 30 years and makes for interesting, if sobering, reading. The author describes the intensive development of the Chinese economy and and how such fast paced growth, on a massive scale, is impacting the rest of the world. China's economies of scale and sheer productivity do make you wonder how any 'developed' country can possibly compete with it in the manufacturing sector.

I find this quote telling: "Over 700 million people are thought to get by on less than $2 a day. That provides a huge pool of labour that is willing to work at pre-industrial wages in factories capable of producing goods at a speed that is thousands of times faster than was possible during the UK's Industrial Revolution some 230 years ago." To mitigate this relentless picture, some time is spent describing possible problems which may inhibit or derail future growth e.g. corruption, environmental damage, international tensions, scarce resources etc.

The raw statistics behind China however are astonishing and I would have liked more of these, possibly in tables in an appendix for ease of access. Some maps would also have been helpful to picture geographically the different regions talked about, instead of having to consult an external source.

These are niggles however. This book is very readable and conveys a lot of information for relatively few pages. The author combines business journalism and statistics with stories about individuals and their lives and careers. This really helps to provide a human context for the bigger picture he is describing. It is also well sourced with what looks to be a good bibliography. Excellent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enormous shift in geopolitical power, 8 Oct 2007
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
James Kynge analyzes and illustrates brilliantly the emergence of China as a major geopolitical power. He shows that the drastic shift in economic policies under Deng came from rural farmers who used creatively the concept `collective' to found private capitalist companies. The result is now a schizophrenic one party communist State wit a capitalist economy. Its social stability can only be maintained with fast economic growth and job creation for its enormous population created by Mao's demographic policy.
The actual industrialization process causes massive population and gender shifts (urbanization resulting in a higher status for women), colossal energy demands (one Italy every year) and huge environmental problems (water, air). In a one party State, corruption and nepotism (with stolen identities) cannot be eradicated and provoke a declining trust in government.
Economically, corporations are mainly concerned with market share, not profits. They continue to (over) produce for the next surge in demand after every dip. They are also beginning to build consumer loyalty by branding their own products.
Internationally, the Chinese voracity created energy and commodities price surges worldwide. The end is not in sight. On the other hand, the bulk of the profits made with China's low cost factory army (no welfare) goes into the pockets of Western retail giants and their shareholders, leaving only 10 to 15 % for their Chinese counterparts. In the meantime, the deindustrialization of the Western world continues with massive job losses in the textile, car, computer and even the service industry.
Overall, however, China's economic development continues to benefit enormously world trade, notwithstanding the regularly surfacing accusations of protectionism, currency manipulation and rampant piracy. Politically, the problem of Taiwan is still not solved.
Mencius''ren' (benevolence) is not a basic ingredient of Chinese foreign policy, but the author believes that ultimately pragmatism and flexibility will have the upper hand.

This book is a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! But watch out for a dodgy cartel rubbishing this book and promoting another, 19 July 2010
This review is from: China Shakes The World: The Rise of a Hungry Nation: The Rise of the Hungry Nation (Paperback)
An excellent book. A few broad insights, particularly that China is struggling with a top-down system which means there's no dialogue from the grassroots up which in turn means there's nepotism, a lack of trust in officialdom and state institutions, an 'everyman for himself' ethos, regular military crackdowns (as there's no dialogue and therefore no safety valves), gross resource depletion (the State hasn't adapted to the almost overnight industrialisation whilst as the rivers literally dry up individuals and groups don't give a damn because it's everyman and every regional area for themself) and appalling pollution.

There's also been clampdowns on 'spirituality' which in turn means materialism rules which in turn means there's a declining moral structure.

In the long-term there's no way X billion people can live like Europeans (there's not enough resources on the planet) but at the same time this is the dream that's being peddled to the masses.

So China is being twisted and turned this way and that, a billion trapped individuals suddenly seeing a glimpse of freedom, Russia writ larger, the rich getting appallingly richer, the nation consuming insatiably but without a tried and trusted political system to absorb the forces unleashed.

Watch out for a cabal of individuals promoting George Zhibin Gu: China's global reach - see the review by 'A business researcher' on that book's page. For example, Expat-biz-Hong Kong has reviewed THIS book but has only ever made two reviews, posted on the same day and both promoting the above mentioned book by George Zhibin Gu.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good presentation but remains outside observations, 1 Feb 2007
This is a very serious book on China written by a veteran journalist. Good story, but its understanding about China vast changes and factors behind remains very much on the surface. One basic weakness is its insufficient knowledge about the Chinese communist government and its motives for reform. A more insightful book on this issue comes from a Chinese reporter named George Zhibin Gu: China and the new world order, which identifies China's main problem: a self-appointed, overextended, and abusive government bureaucracy. Both books should be helpful in understanding what is inside China and its changing relations with the world.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written book, BUT..., 3 Nov 2006
Following my previous review of this book on 6 August 2006, China Shakes the World won the 2006 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award on 26 October 2006.

I congratulate author James Kynge, and write the following further comments on the book as Part 2 of my review.

My previous review focused on assessing the book from the perspective of PRACTISING BUSINESS PEOPLE who are already engaged in doing business with China. I think that it is fair to say that China Shakes the World does little to relieve the difficulties we encounter on a daily basis. So, for practising business people who are planning to do or are already doing business with China, I still recommend The China Executive.

That said, I think that it is also fair to say that China Shakes the World deserves a five-star rating for being an entertaining book for the GENERAL READER. There have been many books trying to achieve the same mission as China Shakes the World does, but the latter simply does it most brilliantly. James Kynge weaves the stories in such a way that you, as a general reader, will experience not only bones (dry statements which most books of this nature make) but also flesh and blood (how the very fabric of China is intertwining with that of the rest of the world).

So, to understand the general implications of China for the 21st century, I recommend China Shakes the World.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly compelling, utterly terrifying, 6 Jun 2006
By 
Mr. A. C. Gilbert "thegilb" (Chatel sur Rolle, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This book is a must-read for anyone remotely interested in the shape of the world to come. Kynge, fluent in mandarin and a China "expert", sets out in captivating detail the immense shock the world is about to suffer as China awakes. The world's natural resources, ecology, economy, and Western society will never be the same again.

I was expecting to have to plough gamely through a turgid book of arguments and analysis. Instead I read it in 2 days flat. Full of insight and anecdote, it is closely argued, easy to read and completely captivating. It's as if Kynge sets up two express trains and lets you watch as they hurtle towards eachother, powerless to stop them but unable to look away.

Suffice to say that our current preoccupations will soon look like futile nimby affectations. The machine is already in motion and, whether it continues its current path (the first part of his book) or crashes to earth in a mass of tangled steel and bodies (the second part), we are at the tipping-point of a new era which may make the West rapidly seem like some Athens or Byzantium. And we are just as incapable of saving ourselves from events.

Not a comforting book but an essential one. Tony, Dubya, Jaques, Angela, stop faffing around and read it!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one of better books on China, 5 Dec 2006
Mr. Kynge has done a nice job in this book, which offers many interesting topics that concern both China and the world. His two decades experience working as a journalist inside China has added much color, which makes this book one of the better ones indeed.

At the same time, it is somewhat weak on deeper issues, though one appreciates his passionate search for truths on the China issue and beyond. In particular, its discussions on China's changes should go deeper, which is a common weakness for books written by outside observers, especially when considering China is a nation with a long history as well as as independent development orbit for ages.

One key that remains to be addressed is on the direction of China. In truth, what has been happening inside China in this era is this: The Chinese people are bravely walking out the Communist bureaucratic traps of the Mao era. For now, they are fully embracing globalization and its consequences. This idea is expressed in another book: China and the new world order: how entrepreneurship, globalization, and borderless business are reshaping China and the world, which offers very relevant and highly insightful ideas on what is really inside Chinese political and business world, as well as China's evolving relations with the West.

In short, the Chinese are becoming more like us, other than the other way around. What is stopping them from going forward has been and is the corruptive Chinese bureaucratic power.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 19 Dec 2010
This review is from: China Shakes The World: The Rise of a Hungry Nation: The Rise of the Hungry Nation (Paperback)
Superb overview on this emerging superpower, after a week of reading this book you will have a sound understanding of both the motivators and barriers to the potential of China to challenge the US for number 1 position.
A real education and if you're like me you'll feel privileged in being able to learn so much from an excellent experienced author.
Watch the news / read the papers with a greater level of understanding and hold your breath for the next 10 years on where this rise in China will take us all.
5 starts without doubt
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