Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World
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Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  208 ratings  ·  40 reviews
When Lee Kuan Yew speaks, presidents, prime ministers, diplomats, and CEOs listen. Lee, the founding father of modern Singapore and its prime minister from 1959 to 1990, has honed his wisdom during more than fifty years on the world stage. Almost single-handedly responsible for transforming Singapore into a Western-style economic success, he offers a unique perspective on...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by MIT Press (MA)
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Hadrian
A 'collected sayings' book, with the sources being pieced together interviews, public statements, essays, and so forth. Although the authors did conduct their own interviews, some of these answers are fluid composites of statements made over the past twenty years.

We see the usual stuff here, but some interesting new thoughts. He shares the cautious ambivalence on China's rise, noting that its sheer size make global ascendance extremely likely, but that it must change some 'cultural factors' incl...more
Angie Kim
Lee Kuan Yew is brilliant. I never agreed so much to one politician's views.

On India:
"I am against a society which has no sense of nurturing its best to rise to the top. I am against a feudal society where your birth decides where you stay in the pecking order. The example of that, par excellence, is India's caste system."

On America:
"The ideas of individual supremacy ... when carried to excess, have not worked. They have made it difficult to keep American society cohesive. Asia can see it is not...more
Chinmay Maheshwari
The book gives amazing insights about the clarity of thought and depth of thought demonstrated by the charismatic leader. At times, the predictions he made couple of decades back seem to be coming to reality today. For example he mentioned lingual disputes leading to partition of states in India, which is what's happening right now. Though, at times, a few ideas seem repetitive, especially the parts about China and its future plans. The q & a format of narration was a bit new to me and seeme...more
Ross
This book was phenomenal. I had never heard of Lee Kuan Yew, and the discovery of such an international figure was enlightening for me. Yew was the prime minister of Singapore for 40+ years from the country's founding. He was there when the British abandoned the city during WWII, and he is primarily responsible for shaping it into what it is today, a country of 3 million with a medium income of $50k USD. His insights on world politics, the role of government, and how society should be governed a...more
Ashok
Many leaders speak promisingly , just to give a hope about future but being vague about the execution of their plans. This guy here is not the one belongs to that herd. I think he is empirically knowledgeable about almost all the nations on the earth. A very clear and open minded leader who can speak about any global issue or affair and also provide his insight as a reference to the successors. Yet to read his "Third World to First ..." which is a detailed account of Singapore developmental hist...more
Huy
Truly refreshing and absolutely blowing my mind away.

This book is a gem. Packed with insightful and concise analysis, Lee's provides a comprehensive view of world politics, from China to Islamism. Instead of being politically correct, Lee holds a strong stand towards various issues, frankly and candidly. I couldn't literally put it down while reading his.

He has noted to us the importance of being a practitioner. He is not a theory master, but likes to dwell on how things work and propose differ...more
S
The book aims to summarize LKY's view on selected issue and it has done a relatively good job.
I found myself taking down many parts of what LKY had said. There is no denying he is a man of brilliance.

Some things to note about this book:
As these are excerpts from speeches, interviews and the likes that LKY had made over the years, there is a repeat of certain key ideas. I do understand that it would be hard to entirely separate the sentence to take out the other key ideas that have not been pre...more
Knut
While I agree with most that Lee Kuan Yew is a man listening to I am not convinced this book is all that worthwhile. It's seems to me that some confuse rating the book with rating Lee himself.

For those who don't know, this is a book based partly on interviews done by the authors/editors, and partly on other interviews and speeches held over the last couple of decades. I did not check all the notes, but my impression was that it draws way more extensively on other sources. In other words, those h...more
Tai
This book is written in an interview style and is quick and easy to read. A good portion of it is basically a racist rant. He starts off disparaging HIspanics, then Indians, and then Islam, blatantly stating that America will be ruined if Hispanics aren't quickly assimilated into WASP culture, that Indians who grow up close to their culture will be lazy and corrupt, and that Islam is a religion of extremism (if all 1.3 billion Muslims were terrorists we'd be in serious trouble). This outlook is...more
Pepe Guevara
Straight no nonsense interpretation of the world we live in from a non democratic capitalist perspective. Lky is the ultimate capitalist, defender of efficiency who managed to develop Singapore from a swamp based on pragmatic leadership without being dragged down by ideologies. (Including democracy)
Sharad Jain
Good short book that, rightfully, decided not to interpret what LKY has to say. LKY is very down to earth and open about the dynamics of geo-politics and what it will take to maintain peace and prosperity thru out the world. His opinion about how China and India are very different economies and cannot be compared was eye opening. A good read.
Steph Yiu
I learned a lot reading this book. Because LKY's thinking is so clear, his perspectives on very complex topics are very easy to understand. By the end of the book I understood his world view and why Singapore is the way it is. Some of his ideas are brilliant, and some of it is interesting and not at all politically correct, but, as he says in the book, he could care less what you think.

If you're interested in international affairs or politics, this is a must-read.
Austin Matthews
I don't like the "conversation" format of this book. I think it misses some important followup that may leave some readers unimpressed, unconvinced or confused.

From a Western vantage, lots of the primary beliefs help by the Grand Master are shocking, illogical and even downright hard to swallow, but he's right. I like his optimistic outlook and solution oriented pragmatism.

Sadly, we don't live in a perfect world and hard public policy decisions are just part of the game.

Thomas Jefferson said...more
Morteza
LKY has done a great job for Singapore and its economy but I found his opinion very strong on most subjects.
He talks as if he's son of god.
Evan
Definitely an insightful fellow. ;)

This book is a collection of his quotes, from interviews or publications. He seems very sure of what he thinks. I don't know if he is right, but his views on China, India, the United States and Islam were interesting. I found myself agreeing with much of what was credited to him. Perhaps what intrigued me the most, was his acceptance of what was, whether it agreed with what he wanted. He recognizes what will be, what can be changed and what can't. He doesn't wa...more
Xi Xi
sharp insights
but sometimes he carries a "know-it-all" tone.
Daniel Oon
LKY's thoughts on the future of us & china, as well as the major powers and how it affects all. I was very intrigued by the immense content this book has, a chapter that really brought out the book was LKY's view on extreme islam as well as his views on China.

Authors' questions & the conclusion points are all great - from the belfer centre at the kennedy school.

Even in a lifetime most people will not be able to obtain such a wealth of global macro knowledge that LKY has. This book is st...more
Wind
I thought this was the new insights from Lee based on the interviews they had. But too much content was the assembly of old books and speeches. Some even go back to 1970s.

The book wanted to use direct quotes from Lee's previous work and as a result, a lot of paragraphs seem a bit incoherent.

The chapter on China, US, India and Democracy were best.

If you haven't read anything from Lee, this slim book can be a quick introduction. But for a more in depth insight into Lee's perspective and experience...more
Brad VanAuken
This is a quick an easy read. Lee Kuan Yew is a highly respected leader who transformed Singapore into the thriving place it is today. He has a modern and strategic view of the world, one that is refreshingly independent of our US-centric view of things. He has great insight into China and Southeast Asia and has many solid recommendations for how the US should navigate its future, especially related to foreign affairs. Lee Kuan Yew speaks with great clarity and common sense. This should be requi...more
Sandipan Rawat
No doubt LKY is a prominent leader and I was enjoying this book till the point where he emphasize on authoritative system over democracy , personally I can’t subscribe to that idea. Authoritative system believe in heroism where one person understand or dictate what’s good or bad for everyone. Democracy has deeper roots that’s go beyond good or bad which help in all inclusive growth of society and ensure individual freedom can coexist with the freedoms of others.

I hope I read this book till the...more
Lim
Biting clarity, full of gumption.
Julian Haigh
Perfect read for a flight - nice and easy content, interesting perspective from our eras longest serving political strategist, and father of Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew doesn't mince words and sees the world with a clarity that overcomes the disparaging current state of understanding between the US and China (mainly). A valuable look at underlying trends with some suggestions for what the future holds for global power balance.
Song Medina-Babijes
This man is truly a wise leader. Reading his insights on the future of China, India, and the US as well as the pitfalls of Western (American)-style democracy and the direction of globalization, one gets into the mind and character of this great political leader. One will realize the reason why Singapore rose to become a developed and modern city-state it is now. A recommended read for leaders!
Calzean
A collection of interviews and statements made by Lee Kuan Yew on his views of China, USA, India, democracy, terrorism, earth warming, demography and leadership.

Lee states things so clearly and simply. His ideas and insights are very interesting and certainly different to the Western view that the free market and democracy is the only way.

Easy to read, short and recommended reading.
Vinod Ravi
Refreshing to see a book on LKY that doesn't feature him in the usual avatar of a nation-building architect. This is him playing the role of an international observer, commentator and strategic thinker. Don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but it's a really fascinating glimpse into his worldview nonetheless. Plus it's an easy read; finished it within a day!
Wai-kit Ng
This is just a short book. But in it, you could discern the character and key thoughts of the man. He never failed to impress me, but the breadth of his thoughts, the depth of his observations and the fortitude of his spirit. I really enjoyed this book.
Vincent Tan
Not really a coherent read - but it's not meant to be one. More a collection of insights and conclusions of one of the most successful politicians of our time. A must read for any student of geopolitics.
Wang Han
Different angle of interpreting the world politics. I like the parts of talking about China, US, Sino-US relationship, India and Islam. But, again, the chapter of SG's economy is boring to me.
Benjamin Creutzfeldt
superb insights in candid language on China-related issues - some obvious, almost commonplace, others more surprising. Great soundbites, useful references with the weight of authority.
Brian
Mar 22, 2014 Brian added it
This book is a nice resource in a brief volume on Lee Kuan Yew's thinking on key topics. I would recommend to anyone who wants a primer on him and contemporary issues.
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