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How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  7,871 ratings  ·  1,306 reviews
From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the boldly imagined tale of a poor boy’s quest for wealth and love.

His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world’s pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation and exceeds it. The astonishing and riveting tale
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published 2013)
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”…when you read a book, what you see are black squiggles on pulped wood or, increasingly, dark pixels on a pale screen. To transform these icons into characters and events, you must imagine. And when you imagine, you create. It’s in being read that a book becomes a book…”

One feels a part of this story, the way Mohsin Hamid tells it. There is an immediacy and directness to his second-person narrative that entirely works in involving the reader. This book began to get widespread attention before i
You are considering buying a work by Mohsin Hamid. Something about the length and odd construction of the title puts you off. And then there on the cover is that goldfish -- what is up with the goldfish? So you are no doubt thinking to yourself, should I buy this novel, "How To Get Filthy Rich In Asia"? Is it a novel for you?

Such decisions can be difficult. On the plus side, the work isn't very long and the page on Amazon does just ooze positive reviews. And on the negative side? Well the idea o
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Even as I rate it, I sorta feel like a dick. As far as prose is concerned, I'm really into the concise yet rich thing Hamid is doing, hills fulla gold, and it was nice learning a little something about Pakistan beyond the things I've gathered up from Homeland episodes. I also know that when the president says "Pakistan", it sounds like he's making fart noises, or maybe attempting to inflate a balloon. So. Now I know more than that.

Not into: Hamid's use of second person. The conceit of the book i
Dan ☼
As soon as I started this book, I knew I was going to hate it. The second-person was constantly grating, the "self-help" introductions to each chapter flippant and vaguely insulting. What shoddy gimmicks! Not to mention, I'd seen this story before: Kid grows up in a poor village, pulls himself out of the gutter, falls in love, ends up with all the trophies. That's a staple storyline I'd read ten times since last Tuesday. But, alas: I was trapped on an airplane, the book was short, and I couldn't ...more
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is the best book I’ve read this year because it made me think and then it made me cry. For a book with such a coarsely straightforward title, it’s remarkably beautiful; a love story (in a book whose third chapter title instructs: “Don’t Fall in Love”) about the power of connections between people.

That sounds rather trite, non? Yet this book made it seem like the most novel idea in the world. Mohsin Hamid chooses to write his simple story under the guise of
So how DO you get filthy rich in rising Asia? Mohsin Hamid’s latest book – masquerades as a how-to manual for success, with chapter headings such as Move to the City, Learn from a Master, and Dance With Debt. Each chapter lasers in on a different socioeconomic level in stratified Pakistan: dirt-poor urchin, up-and-coming entrepreneur, wealthy business owner, and so on.

None of the characters have names. There is “you” (as in “You are a smart kid who grows up in a poor South Asian country, workin
Even the presentation of the British edition is brilliant, with its big brash lettering like real financial self-help books: The Richest Man in Babylon, The Millionaire Next Door, and especially, right down to the colours and the italic typeface, Rich Dad, Poor Dad . The font inside is familiar from this sort of thing too; I don't know its name but it's definitely not one I associate with literary novels for grown-ups. The only thing obviously missing in satirical design terms is a contents pag ...more
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia has a lot going on. There are two books in this novel--one that is eminently successful and one that is not.

The narrative frame here is that of a self help book on getting filthy rich in rising asia. The entire novel is told in the second person with a narrator telling the you, or the novel's protagonist how to achieve such wealth. The problem is that the first 300 words or so of each chapter are completely different in tone from the rest of each chapter. Th
Meh. It's a cool idea -- write a novel framed as a self-help book -- but the execution is strange. The book is written to "you," as in "you are reading this book about how to get filthy rich and I will tell you how to do it," but then "you" is also one the main characters in the novel, so unless you (the reader) are actually a young Indian (? or maybe Asian?) boy, this causes a bit of dissonance. Also the langage and pacing and tone don't really fit a self-help book -- not that you'd want them t ...more
What a rare, curious bird of a book! I don't think I have ever read anything like this before. A book so unique in its structure, its style and meaning that it shimmers like a lone star somewhere on the horizon. The arc of a life in Rising Asia, the fate of one man, an Everyman, in a developing megalopolis. An impressive tour de force of story-telling which manages to pack so much in so few pages. The power of the book rests mainly in the beauty and grit of its main character but mostly in its w ...more
Mohsin Hamid definitely has a unique masterful writing style. His ability to succeed in not naming any of his characters is amazing. Yes, you read right – his characters are nameless, but yet you know them…How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is set in a nameless country in Asia. The book is a so-called self-help book – helping the protagonist “improve” as he climbs the ladder of life, hits its peak and descends into the waning years of his life. We get to know him as a young boy in an unnamed ...more
Chad Sayban
Follow the journey of a nameless, impoverished rural boy who climbs to the top of the Asian business boom. But beware, because not everything in his life is going well and not all of his methods are necessarily ethical or legal. Haunted by the pretty girl he has known his whole life from afar and unable to reconcile his desires with his reality, his entire empire stands to crush him with its collapse.

“We are all refugees from our childhoods. And so we turn, among other things, to stories. To wri
I had read a bit of buzz about this book and, inexplicably, there was no waiting list at the library, so I picked it up, not really knowing what to expect. I absolutely couldn't put it down and read through it in one day. It begins as what appears to be a parody of a self-help book, in an unnamed country (but probably the author's native Pakistan), about an unnamed village boy addressed in the second-person as "you". As the story unfolds, little by little, the book is not as specific as the begi ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Rusalka, Beth
Shelves: 2013-reads, asia, fiction
This book is a self-help book. Its objective, as it says on the cover, is to show you how to get filthy rich in rising Asia. And to do that it has to find you, huddled, shivering, on the packed earth under your mother's cot one cold, dewy morning...

So begins How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. I wasn't sure I would like reading this conversational-type writing, but it proved to be no problem. Even in the beginning before I found myself integrated into the story the promise of the title kept m
Jon Boorstin
So vivid, yet so economical. And so funny! When I got off the subway (yes, in Los Angeles) holding this book, I was stopped by an Asian woman, who wanted to see it. When I told her it was a novel, and not an actual self-help book, she lost interest. But in fact it's both. It skewers our secret desires.

Remarkable that it can be so vague about the big stuff (what country we're in, people's names), but so specific on the small stuff. It has tremendous vitality, and credibility, because it speaks th
Aban (Aby)
Without encouragement, I would never have picked up a book called "How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia", so I am grateful to Jordan for his enthusiastic review of the book which made me decide to read it. What an amazing book. It's format is unique: written as a self-help book, with each chapter title focusing on some aspect of self improvement, it is none-the-less a riveting novel (set in South Asia) about the rise from poverty to riches of a man whose name we don't know. (He is addressed sim ...more
Ultimately this book was a disappointment for me. The last chapter was by far the best, really a wonderful piece of writing save the use of the word "creepy" in the last sentence which was DISASTEROUS, shame on his editor! (I'm not usually so meticulous that word choice was SO incongruous I STILL find it jarring). The conceit of writing it as a self Help book was clever but did not ultimately serve any particular purpose and the story was too familiar. The characters, the city, the struggle, the ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Another book from the Tournament of Books list for 2014, this book is told almost entirely in second person, "You are reading this self-help book and you want to know this" etc. Each chapter focuses on a topic that will lead to success in "rising Asia," with some allusions to details about a specific character that you never know by name. He is the Everyman, trying to navigate a rapidly changing world, as the author says - "leap from my-shit-just-sits there-until-it-rains poverty to which-of-my- ...more

I was so impressed by the writing in this short novel that I am determined to read both of Mohsin Hamid's earlier novels.

This one is the story of one Asian man's rise from the poorest of rural boys to wealth and corporate power. Hamid uses the construct of a self-help book with the book's author speaking to the aspiring man in the second person.

Many readers and reviewers found both the self-help book conceit and the second person voice either unimpressive or annoying. I found it an inventive if
A perfectly executed, beautifully written, compelling novel that is about universal themes of greed and ambition while also portraying "rising Asia" and telling a beautiful love story. In some ways it feels like the novel Balzac would have written if he visited Pakistan today.

Unusually written in the second person, it almost makes "you" feel like the protagonist of the story, as if you are going through the experiences that are recounted literally from cradle to grave.

Much of the rise and fall a
Mohsin Hamid’s third novel “How to get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” can only be described as one thing: a pseudo self-help book designed to mock everything about getting rich in not so Rising Asia. Chronicling the life of an entrepreneur from his childhood to his death, this novel was more about life than about getting rich.

Mohsin Hamid’s previous novels were remarkable penned masterpieces. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for his third novel. Like “Moth Smoke” and “The Reluctant Fundamental
Nancy Oakes
for a longer discussion, click here; otherwise, continue on with the quick version.

As always, my many thanks to the publisher and to LibraryThing early reviewers for my copy.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a story about growth, love and loss, although you might not guess that based on the title. Nor would you believe it when you open the first page and find yourself reading about the nature of self-help books. In fact, you might be wondering just what the author is doing as you get m
Adrian White
I thought this book got better and better until by the end I was convinced I should give it a five star rating - this despite the fact that I've been giving myself a stern talking-to about giving everything I enjoy five stars. But I've decided: anything I really do enjoy deserves the full five, even if not everything matches up to, say, The Great Gatsby or War and Peace.

If you appreciated Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, as I did, I think you might agree that with this book he raises

I finally completed reading all of the three Mohsin Hamid's books and I think I see now what his pattern is. He simply picks up a stereotype and turns it into an enigma. Though I would like to add that the settings might not be cliché for Western audience but being a Pakistani, I can tell that all his characters are those that we already have in our minds. All the things about his characters are what we say when we talk about those class of people in general and we even have commonly used maxims
Karen Morrison
I loved this. I read Hamid's earlier book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, ages ago and really found his style interesting. I passed the copy around and even my elderly mother-in-law, who'd never read an Asian author before, thoroughly enjoyed it. I bought this new title after reading an interview with the author in the Bangalore Times and I finished it in one delicious sitting. Mohsin Hamid has the uncanny ability to suck you into the world he is creating. In this book, the city is imagined, and ...more
When the book started, I thought the writer would go on and describe another average Pakistani's life which, although written in an interesting second person narrative, was at the end of the day, still something that may be interesting to an outsider but would seem a rhetoric to a local.

The picture he paints is again not something out of the ordinary. Pick up a daily newspaper and a few economic reports and you would gain the same picture that Mohsin Hameed tries to paint in the informal narrat
Haider Hussain
Perhaps some readers may find such painstakingly dull, monotonic and bureaucratic writing beautiful, I certainly did not. After dragging myself till page 88, I gave up reading "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia" because all the book offered was long, twisted sentences that could have been written rather more efficiently in less space.

With all due respect, I think for some Pakistani/Indian writers, writing fiction is all about showing off their command over English language (or perhaps their
I liked this and wish I could give it another half star. I think it has more impact than his previous novels but the fact that it is ultimately a love story was a bit of a disappointment. I was looking for more of a indictment of materialism, but hey, that's just me. But it does get inside your head and kind of re-orient the way you see things, which is a very good thing!

I love that one scene explores what is seen by a drone. Very timely.

I will say that I think this novel is going to stay with
Aug 15, 2013 Tim added it
Here's a brief piece I wrote, more a set of musings about the book's genre and voice than a review per se, for Late Night Library.
Linda Lackey

Oh I do love a book that you don't want to finish reading because reading it is so lovely! Those books don't come along very often, but with the help of a knowledgable sales woman at Malaprop's Bookstore in Asheville, NC this one made its way into my hands. Moshin Hamid is an author I discovered last year when I read The Reluctant Fundamentalist - which has lately been made into a movie! I loved the novel and look forward to seeing the movie.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is couched as a
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Mohsin Hamid is a Pakistani author best known for his novels Moth Smoke (2000), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013).His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, and the Paris Review, a ...more
More about Mohsin Hamid...
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Moth Smoke Discontent and Its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London The Third-Born Il fondamentalista riluttante

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“We are all refugees from our childhoods. And so we turn, among other things, to stories. To write a story, to read a story, is to be a refugee from the state of refugees. Writers and readers seek a solution to the problem that time passes, that those who have gone are gone and those who will go, which is to say every one of us, will go. For there was a moment when anything was possible. And there will be a moment when nothing is possible. But in between we can create.” 78 likes
“It's in being read that a book becomes a book, and in each of a million different readings a book become one of a million different books . . .” 24 likes
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