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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,721 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Grand strategist and founder of modern Singapore offers key insights and controversial opinions on globalization, geopolitics, economic growth, and democracy.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 yea ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by MIT Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Angie Kim
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 working. Those who want a wholesome society where young girls and old ladie
Brit Cheung
I got a Chinese copy and read the Ebook of English the previous year, and still possessed the immense impulsion to read it again. The book and his other works scintilate his perceptive state visions and wisdom for international studies,genuinely illuminating and thought-provoking.

Acclaimed to be the founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew was one of the rare country leaders winning paramount respects both in Asian regions and western hemisphere. His preeminence not only lies in that he succes
May 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended. Another book in the spirit of The Prince focused on understanding populations and politics as they are, not was we wish them to be. This is a fascinating compilation of Lee Kuan Yew's observations on government, citizens, management, Singapore, the West and the East over the last several decades. Some of the portions I found most interesting include:

"Democracy should not be made an alibi for inertia. There are many examples of authoritarian governments whose economies have fa
Charles J
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
For Americans who think that so-called liberal democracy is neither, and in any case is a dead end, successful modern societies with a different political model always intrigue. In the West, notable such are Hungary and Poland, who have effectively executed a mild and tentative turn away from the most extreme vices of liberal democracy, though there is a long way to go. Singapore, which has apparently successfully blended economic success, certain virtues, and limited democracy, offers another p ...more
Miebara Jato
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Such an insanely smart and competent leader. We'll forever miss your insights.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I knew very little about Lee kuan Yew prior to stumbling across his name on Goodreads. I will admit that I still know very little about the guy who purportedly was the founding father of a Singapore who famously helped turn the nation from a third world country to a first world one in a single generation. I hardly yet understand what this means. Ah well. It was not needed for reading this text.
This book was styled in a interview format as yew was asked many questions where were fundamental to h
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Until I read this short book I did not know much about Yew except that he took over Singapore after World War II and is the founding father of modern Singapore. Yew was Prime Minister from 1959-1990.

Graham Allison and Robert Blackwell two leading strategic thinkers asked Yew questions and also put together information from his voluminous writings and speeches. The book is mainly in a question and answer format, the result is this concise, but important book.

I found myself engrossed in the incisi
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lee said "I understood Deng Xiaoping when he said: if 200,000 students have to be shot, shoot them, because the alternative is China in chaos for another 100 years.... Deng understood, and he released it stage by stage. Without Deng, China would have imploded."

Don't you know that China has been in chaos since communists spread and occupation?
Daniel Frank
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When the master speaks, you listen.

Beyond the enormous impact LKY had as a statesmen, I believe LKY was the best political thinker of the 20th century. I try to read everything I can from LKY and while this book is not ideal, it unearthed a lot of great content I would otherwise have not been exposed to.
Not much to gain if you’ve already read his autobiography, watched a few of his videos, or read some of his speeches. The value comes in the focus on the flaws of Western democracy, which he tread more delicately in his late 90's/2000 autobiography. Allison et al do drill down to the very essence of the man and there are quite a few gems.

The key takeaway from LKY’s style of pragmatism is that he has strong views on generalized principles while tempering them with localized exceptions. To a typic
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: purchased-amazon
Why read this book? Because world leader's have said LKY is one of the smartest leaders they have ever met.
The book isn't to look back at 50 years of Singapore but present LKY's opinion of the world ahead (circa 2013)
Some of the stuff he says is relevant today in a the era of PresidentCheetos, such as how to deal with China but not isolating it but by economically competing S.Asia. Then there are things like how Mexican culture will spread in the US that I don’t agree with. He too contradicts t
Goyam Jain
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got interested in Lee Kuan due to of course his work in Singapore but more so due to my burgeoning interest in foreign policies. It is a fascinating subject in its own right where one needs to access a country just like one would access a human character and personality. This text will be less about book or Lee Kun. He is a legendary leader and master in governance. But rather about how his views and analysis can be used and can shape our mind set with regard to governance and world around.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a compilation of different interviews, speeches and essays from and with Lee Kuan Yew, the man who made Singapore what it is today; a prosperous and successful First World country. He is respected by many, and world leaders listen to his views and advice.

What makes this book so good is the fact that many things Yew claimed and predicted years ago are actually coming true today. He has a clear mind and a brilliant view on things which he explains in a comprehensible manner that make
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I believe certain parts were taken out of context due to the particular format of this book, but nonetheless I have so much respect for LKY. "I want to be correct, not politically correct" --- so sharp, so wise and so brutally honest!
Fattah Fathun Karim
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lee Kuan Yew might look a little authoritarian to some scale to the readers of this book. But if you go through the book in full you will get to see the mind of one of the most intelligent person ever to live. This is not his book to be precise but a collection of interview questions and answers compiled as a book. The interviewer threw quite a lot interesting questions regarding geo-politics towards him and the answers he gave proves that he is one of the greatest leaders to tread on the planet ...more
Diep Dao
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Despite an old book and the interviews of Lee Kuan Yew were conducted decades ago, the insights of the first Singapore PM about China, US and the whole world are still correct until today and maybe applicable in the next decades.
Michael Knolla
May 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
The single star rating is 100% related to the copy and paste structure of the book. It is organized to be LKW’s responses to a series of questions but this is accomplished not by finding those questions in actual interviews and directly recording them but taking sentences and paragraphs from multiple different interviews and other materials and mashing them up. For example the material for just the first “answer” combines material from 2011, 1999, 2008, another separate interview in 2011, and 20 ...more
Tey Shi
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
LKY offers clear insights to how the international political arena would likely change, and some of the countries mentioned have indeed taken the measures that LKY had suggested in order to solve the problems their country is facing. A good read to understanding international relations. The theories of racial superiority remains rather dubious to me but that would be something I would comment further after I have learnt more about the topic. The compilations of various interviews and speeches sp ...more
Denis Tan
Good summary of this thoughts over the duration of his public life - would be better if it documented some of the mindset shifts he had too.
June Ding
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-read
Changed my thinking on China and democracy.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow this book helps me understand the way Lee built Singapore, through the way he viewed China, US and the world.
John II
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
wise leader of the Singapore, during the time that it was a state within the British Commonwealth through its full independence and the formation of the Republic of Singapore. Lee was the Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990 and is considered the founding father of modern Singapore. When Lee assumed office, per capita income was about $400 per year and it is now more than $50,000.

Leaders including Richard Nixon, Barrack Obama, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and a host of others have reco
Preston Caddell
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
For those not familiar with him, this will be an interesting introduction to former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. As someone both lauded for raising Singapore from a third-world backwater to a first-world country and condemned for his authoritarian views and practices, Yew has a lot of interesting views on the future of world politics. This book is not a look at the history of post-WWII Singapore or an analysis of Yew’s cabinet and policies. Instead, Graham Allison and Robert Blackwell ...more
Nisha Menon
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
My dad gave me this book and as a fellow policy wonk I read it with great interest because I really wanted to know where the ultimate policy maker that we grew up learning about, respecting and relying on, stood on global relations.

Two-thirds of the book deal with his insights on China, India, the United States and to a lesser extent other players (now somewhat has-beens) who used to extert some influence on the economy , growth and wealth of most nations.

They ring true if taken as the truisms o
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Whether you agree or disagree (or more likely both depending on topic), you can not deny the results that Lee Kuan Yew has accomplished in Singapore. You definitely feel that Lee speaks his mind freely - some statements may be offensive in a PC world.

On some aspects, Lee showed his wisdom and foresight: “So long as you run this one person, one vote, the easiest of appeals that can be made to the ground are the simple, emotional ones, not economic development and progress and all these other thin
When Lee Kuan Yew died on March 21 of this year, accolades poured in from around the world and focused mainly on his greatest achievement, the spectacular growth of Singapore. As Prime Minister from 1965 to 1990 he utterly transformed a tiny, poverty-stricken, Third World island nation of less than 2 million people, devoid of natural resources, lacking even a water supply, reeling from a series of economic shocks, its only major asset being a port for entrepôt trade. In 25 years he catapulted it ...more
Omer Iqbal
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LKY's pragmatism is very enlightening. He prefers being "correct, rather than politically correct", and many thoughts in this collection reflect that mantra.

His analysis on the future of China, USA, India and the Islamic world is particularly interesting and very well reasoned. For instance, he defends Deng Xiaopeng's decisions during the Tianamen Square demonstrations, arguing that the stability established then was necessary for China to grow without imploding (unlike Gorbachev's USSR). He al
Parth  Belani
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it
For better understanding of characteristics, roles, interests, relations and dreams of the countries

Lee Kuan Yew was the first Prime Minister of Singapore, governing for three decades. He is recognised as the nation's founding father and is highly respected for his key role in transitioning the country from “Third World” to “First World”.

The book is a collection of his views summarised from various interviews, lectures and articles of LKY. I found his views on China, the US, India and ASEAN regi
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended read, incredible how more than 10 years after publication Lee Kuan Yew's insights apply to today's problems. Disheartening to see how many world leaders are making strategic mistakes he warned against!

Recommended read for anyone interested in South China Sea politics, economic development of city states and overall history and global economics

I could have done, however, without the prologue of quotes and the epilogue of recommendations, flattering statements about one of the m
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Lee Kuan Yew was born in Singapore in 1923. He was educated at Raffles College, Singapore and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, England. He was called to the Bar, Middle Temple, London, in 1950 and practised law in Singapore. He became advisor to several trade unions.

In 1954, he was a founder of the People's Action Party and was Secretary General up to 1992.

Mr Lee became Singapore's Prime Minister i

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