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From Third World to First

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  1,319 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
The remarkable inside story of nation building in the 20th century is offered by the architect of Singapore's amazing economic miracle. Kuan Yew takes a hard look at the burgeoning economic and political might of China and its portents for the future. Few gave tiny Singapore much chance of survival when it was granted independence in 1965. How is it, then, that today the f ...more
Hardcover, 752 pages
Published October 2nd 2000 by HarperCollins (first published 2000)
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Appu In colonial times, Singapore was an entrepôt for the produce of British East Asia. Once the British left and Malaysia went its own way, Singapore had…moreIn colonial times, Singapore was an entrepôt for the produce of British East Asia. Once the British left and Malaysia went its own way, Singapore had nothing to export. Therefore Singapore repositioned itself as low cost but efficient base of manufacture for European, American and Japaneese MNCs. Also by improving infrastructure, it became a first world city right in the middle of the third world and became a centre of business finance and tourism (less)

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Part II of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's memoirs.

Given his extremely busy life as a statesman over the past 30 years, this volume is not arranged in chronological order. Instead, LKY organizes it in two broad sections - the first on domestic policy, and the second on foreign relations.

The combinations of his political positions may seem odd to most Americans. In trade, he is a free market proponent, in domestic social spending he is a pragmatic social democrat, with a progressive but light tax policy. In t
Apr 02, 2012 Huyen rated it really liked it
I'm surprised this book is translated into Vietnamese. He makes no effort to hide his distaste for communism and the Vietnamese leaders who came to him for advice in the 1990s. Whether you like the way he's ruled Singapore Inc., he's an amazingly intelligent guy with a far-sighted vision for where his country was going and has largely succeeded and outdone many leaders of the West. From his fascinating description of other Asian countries, including many that had similar starting point as Singap ...more
Mar 20, 2010 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This guy just seems to get everything right. Take all the good stuff in Ayn Rand and turn it into something that's actually workable, and that adds in the concept of fairness. LKY is able to examine the policies of all the other countries that came before Singapore and take what's good and leave what's bad. His policies on "welfare," healthcare, retirement savings, you name it, it seems to be the ideal solution for dealing with the inherent problems of each of those things. His personal savings ...more
Mik Chernomordikov
Nov 10, 2012 Mik Chernomordikov rated it it was amazing
Прекрасная автобиография одного из самых великих политических деятелей современности!
Толстая книга с подробными рассказами - но оно стоит того.
Имейте в виду, что где-то на первой трети начинается рассказ не про внутреннее устройство Сингапура, а про взаимодействие с другими странами - Великобританией, США, Китаем, Россией, Японией, Малайзией, Индонезией и другими.
Мне это понравилось больше всего, хотя, думаю, эта существенная часть книги может быть не всем интересна
Jan 28, 2012 Taisin rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and well worth reading. The story itself is great: a small nation, isolated, forced to import even drinkable water, obtains (forced into) independence. Ah, yes, small detail: British Empire, protector and developer of this big port, is moving out. And China is willing to move in.
Question: what do you do?
Majority's response: cry and die.
LKY's: whatever is necessary to make it work.
Amazing, what a team of people honestly dedicated to their country and utterly pragmatic can do, no?
Lorong Cat
Nov 09, 2012 Lorong Cat rated it it was amazing
Dear Harry,

Thank you for your company during my daily lunch hour for the past couple of months. When I heave open the hard bound book that is the second volume of your memoirs, I feel as if I have been transported back in time to post-colonial Singapore. I have benefited from the peek into your early struggles and that of your colleagues Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye and Raja. I am intrigued by your account of The Plen (short for plenipotentiary), your moniker for Fang Chuang Pi, the mysterious
Henna Pääkkönen
Dec 20, 2015 Henna Pääkkönen rated it it was amazing
I have always admired how Singapore has managed, in a short period of 30-40 years, to become the competent, rich and serious first-world country in the region where it sits, and wanted to learn more about the how.

Lee Kuan Yew's impressive and magnificent autobiography is a testimony of pride of the growth of the nation, written by its founding father, and covers the period from 1965 onwards (i.e. When the country separated from Malaysia and became The Republic of Singapore), i.e the period of 30
Michael Scott
+ very clear, high quality writing. A delight to read such an eloquent story!
+++ Very good book, excellent in many parts but annoying in its many propaganda parts. Excellent and lengthy analysis of China's leadership, policies, and issues, if more compassionate than that of Southeastern Asian countries.
+++ I finally understood how Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia and Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge were possible.
+/- Many politically charged statements, which makes the book difficult to assess object
Mar 23, 2013 Sergey rated it really liked it
Безусловно, очень интересная книга одного из видных политиков на Востоке. Книга ценная тем, что подробно описывает шаги, которые предпринимались правительством Сингапура для развития страны, подкрепляя эти шаги комментариями от первого лица. Пребывание столько лет у власти - большой подвиг. Не меньший подвиг - работа над этой книгой.
Теперь о минусах. Автор претендует на то, что он рассказывает свою историю честно и от чистого сердца. Он не раз подчёркивает, что обходится также и со своим народом
Petr Didenko
Jan 05, 2011 Petr Didenko rated it it was amazing
In my top10 ever. Full review:
Jul 22, 2016 Samuel rated it it was amazing
He was:
A free market supporter who also didn't mind some government intervention.
A die hard anti-communist who also supported gun control and unique social policies
A proponent of the rule of law but one who didn't mind using the state to jail and bankrupt his opponents in long court cases.
A dedicated classical liberal who also was willing to institute the infamous anti-chewing gum law and hang drug smugglers.
A founder of the most successful multi-cultural state in Asia but one who also be
Deanne Dumo
Jun 13, 2015 Deanne Dumo rated it really liked it
Mr. Lee's memoirs first narrates how his team took the reins and built Singapore from scratch when the city-state was expelled from Malaysia in mid-1960s. His team was organized in crafting policies, such as targeting investments and building up key high-tech manufacturing industries, building up their defense capabilities, devising an efficient health care and housing system, promoting tourism through building up airport infrastructure and nurturing its national airline, improving tertiary educ ...more
Jun 20, 2015 Cristobal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books you'll ever read, period. Mr. Yew knows everything about how to build a prosperous country and nothing about political correctness. I'd never heard someone as accomplished as Mr. Lee describe with all honesty his dealings with super powers, heads of state and the common man.

If you're interested in learning how common sense, discipline and hard work can be combined to transform a country, you can't miss this book.
Michael Dubakov
Mar 03, 2016 Michael Dubakov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Скучная, но интересная книга о Сингапуре. В основном про политику, но есть и несколько забавных глав про организацию государства. Ли Кван Ю пишет монотонно и довольно скучно, а вот контент хороший. По такому пути могла бы пойти и Беларусь. Без особой свободы прессы, с одной партией и с одним премьером 30 лет, но зато с крутой экономической свободой, высоким уровнем образования и в целом с заботой о народе. Но пока не идет.
Jan 25, 2015 Samy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
وجدته مفيدا جدا
NJ Wong
Feb 11, 2016 NJ Wong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"From Third World To First" is an exciting read because we already know it has a happy ending. Singapore, the city state that no one in 1965 expect to make it, did, and become what others have called a country "that punches above its weight".

I have wanted to read this book when it was first published back in 2000. But it was constantly sold out. It was next to impossible to borrow from the library, and there was a long reservation queuing list. After that, several chapters were serialised in th
Ankur Vohra
Jun 16, 2016 Ankur Vohra rated it really liked it
Singapore today has become a second name for development at least for the developing world countries like us in India. Every now and then we hear our politicians promising us to make another Singapore out of one of our cities. So, what is it that Singapore did right? and is it possible for us to do that here? I wanted to find out these answers, having traveled to the island myself couple of times myself, I knew Singapore was doing something special and exceptional but the exact reason of its suc ...more
A glimpse into a Cambridge-educated, economics-minded, personnel-obsessed statesman. This is his second memoir and includes stories of foreign relations.

His explanation for Singapore's bilingual policies is thus: If you can't speak English, you won't be able to find work and make a living. If you can't speak your native language, you'll lose your cultural identity, and hence your confidence, because no matter how well you speak English, you're not an Englishman.

He considers Hong Kongers to be dr
Khalil James
Mar 27, 2013 Khalil James rated it really liked it
I dicided to read up on the history of modern singapore before I headed there for an international exchange later this year.

Lee and the other fathers of modern Singapore were able to fashion a Singapore with confucian values while capitalizing on western technology. The singapore we admire today was almost inconcievable back when Britain's depature threatened to leave the small island of 1.3 million chinese, indian and malay immigrants vulnerable to the whims of surrounding asian giants. Lee wa
Farid Samadov
Jun 25, 2015 Farid Samadov rated it it was amazing
II Dünya muharibəsinin sonunda, dünyanın xəritəsi 1 kəs daha qaliblər tərəfindən çəkilərkən, qədim tarixi və özünəməxsus mədəniyyəti , qərb dünyasından əhəmiyyətli fərqlənən dəyərlər sisteminə məxsus Asiyada Singapur şəhər-dövləti yaradılır. Güclü qonşuları tərəfindən hər an əzilmək qorxusu qarşısında olan ,1 zamanlar Böyük Britaniyanın Cənub-Şərqi Asiyada əsas fortpostu olan Singapurun rəhbərliyi qarşısında, bir yandan xarici faktor regionun radikal kommunizmlə mübarizə, digər yandan coxsaylı e ...more
John Seno
May 16, 2012 John Seno rated it really liked it
A Broad overview of the policies and ideologies that shaped modern singapore. What really stands out is Lee Kuan Yew's almost religious commitment to improving the living standards of his people, he comes across as a man who detested politics for the sake of politics and endless discussions on ideology. This is Lee Kuan Yew's autobiography so he might understate the role of other stakeholders in Singapore's development story but nevertheless it is clear he did not squandered the trust of his peo ...more
Sashko Valyus
Sep 30, 2013 Sashko Valyus rated it it was amazing
«Сінгапуру не потрібна демократія, йому потрібна дисципліна» Ось такими словами можна описати цю дивовижну книгу.
Автор — людина яка піднімала Сінгапур з аграрної країни-міста, до високотехнологічного мегаполісу. Книга описує не тільки розвиток усіх сфер від профсоюзів, до пенсійної системи, так і більша частина присвячена глобальній політиці між країнами. Крім власне історії Сінгапуру, ви взнаєте шлях розвитку країн південно схіної азії. Книга досить велика, але написана просто і розрахована на
Diem Le
May 05, 2014 Diem Le rated it really liked it
Shelves: year-2014
Một câu chuyện cực kỳ thú vị và truyền cảm hứng mạnh mẽ về quá trình xây dựng một quốc gia. Ông Lý Quang Diệu cũng chia sẻ góc nhìn của ông về mối quan hệ với các nước, đặc biệt là các nước trong khu vực. Quá nhiều điều có thể học hỏi từ người đàn ông mạnh mẽ này.
Tôi cũng ngạc nhiên một cách thú vị khi cuốn sách này được dịch ra tiếng Việt bởi vì người ta đã chấp nhận những nhận xét quá thẳng thắn về Việt Nam và một số nhà lãnh đạo của Việt Nam cũng như quan điểm chống cộng quyết liệt của ông.
Kolia Shlapak
Dec 05, 2014 Kolia Shlapak rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Прекрасна книга. Цікава історія від першої особи про те як колишнє місто-колонія Великобританії перетворилося на азійського тигра.Історія становлення Сингапура як держави цікава тим, що місто мало дуже обмежені ресурси і складні національні конфлікти, однак зуміло зосередитися на своїх сильних сторонах та макисмально ефективно їх використовувати. Мемуари Лі Куан Ю - це не лише історія Сингапуру. З книги можна скласти гарне уявлення про історію та лідерів багатьох країн південно-східної Азії.
Talal Fitwi
Dec 27, 2012 Talal Fitwi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
مذكرات الدكتاتور الصالح الذي قاد بلاده سنغافوره المستعمرة النائية والخالية من الموارد الى ان تصبح واحدة من اهم المراكز المالية في العالم في رحلة مدتها سنة جديرة بالقراءة استمتعت بقراءتها كان هدفه واضحا ( ايجاد واحة من العلم الاول في منطقة عالم ثالثية) أحاط نفسه بالكفاءات وكان صارما منضبطا ووضع سنغافورة قبل لي كوان يو ...more
can a country move form a poor third world nation to a modern firstworld centre of innovation, creativy and intellectualism? if u dont believe this read Lee Kuan Yew's 30 years at the helm of Singapore
Sep 04, 2016 Rohan rated it it was amazing
There are many great books about building a great business, this is probably the only book about building a great nation.
It is like a great startup story, where LKY seems to be executing almost everything perfectly.

Ngoc Nam
Feb 22, 2016 Ngoc Nam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A period in the history of Singapore (1923-1965), as told by its most important citizen, Lee Kuan Yew. A great example of how a small country can survive economically, politically under the pressure of regional powers (Malaysia, Indonesia) and even world power like Commonwealth countries.
Mamdouh Saif
Feb 14, 2014 Mamdouh Saif rated it liked it
الشخص الياباني -بصرف النظر عن وظيفته- لديه رغبة في التفوق في دوره المرسوم والذي يؤدي إلى زيادة الإنتاجية.
أحمد المحمودي
كتاب جميل يعرض فيه لي كوان يو عملية التنمية و التطور في كل جانب من جوانب الحياة في الفترة من بعد إنفصال سنغافورة عن إتحاد ماليزيا إلى أن صارت سنغافورة في مصاف الدول المتقدمة.
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“To straddle the middle ground and win elections, we have to be in charge of the political agenda. This can only be done by not being beaten in the argument with our critics. They complain that I come down too hard on their arguments. But wrong ideas have to be challenged before they influence public opinion and make for problems. Those who try to be clever at the expense of the government should not complain if my replies are as sharp as their criticisms.” 16 likes
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