Some of the world’s most successful businessmen have credited their success to their voracious appetites for reading. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, for example, post regular reading lists that are heavily coveted by aspiring investors and entrepreneurs. Following in their footsteps, I’ve decided to compile my own list of titles that dive into Pan-Asia’s rising economies. Below, you will find five books that I will be perusing over the coming months. If you have book recommendations, let me know.
This is a great read for anyone looking to understand the growth trajectories of the East Asian superpowers. Studwell presents insightful research on the economies of Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, and China. His work debunks common perceptions of East Asian powers as clustered economic miracles that all behave similarly, and discerns the unique drivers within each country’s economy that have led it to prosperity or ruin.
Presented by McKinsey & Company, this may be one of the most comprehensive analytical texts ever written on Japan. The volume compiles insights from a roster of 80 contributors that ranges from Fortune 500 CEOs and Pulitzer Prize winners to video game creators and manga artists. Those thinkers relay their thoughts on Japan can solve the plethora of challenges it presently faces – its face-aging society, enormous debt, lack of entrepreneurial verve, and its falling position in technology. Those looking to dabble in the Japanese economy, or economies correlated with it, will find many gems within its pages.
Michael Pettis details his predictions for China’s falling growth, urgent need for reform, and rising debt problems. He also provides a potential roadmap for Beijing’s policy makers on how to tackle the looming issues – with strong stances on increasing household income and reducing reliance on investment. This is an insightful read for those willing to look past China’s lingering bullish expectations and discover the new trajectory that lies underneath.
“China’s Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies are Changing the Rules of Business,” by Edward Tse, 2016.
This book dives into the recent wave of Chinese tech behemoths that have swept the world. Tse tells the stories of their ascent – like how Alibaba raised $25 billion in the world’s biggest-ever IPO – and details their strategies moving forward. Points discussed include how the tech giants are transforming China’s once inclusive economy into a major global powerhouse, and how they are handling engagement with the fast rising incomes of China’s 1.3 billion consumers. Global investors will be especially interested in the strategies they deployed to achieve mass success, and the implications of their expansion to the global economy.
“Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries,” by Jagdish Bhagwati, 2014.
Bhagwati is often accredited one of the greatest economic miracles in history: the economic reform of India and its subsequent takeoff. In these pages, Bhagwati restates his thesis that aggressive economic growth is the only way to lift India out of poverty. He fervently challenges those who reject pro-growth policies in favor of redistribution schemes by drawing from myriad cases in India’s growth history, and lays out a tangible framework for policy makers to adopt. Investors will find many lessons regarding national development here, with implications for countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe that are undergoing similar trajectories.