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Robert Kuok: A Memoir

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  458 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Robert Kuok is one of the most highly respected businessmen in Asia. But this legendary Overseas Chinese entrepreneur, commodities trader, hotelier and property mogul has maintained a low profile and seldom shed light in public on his business empire or personal life. That is, until now. In these memoirs, the 94-year-old Kuok tells the remarkable story of how, starting in ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published November 2017 by Landmark
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4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  458 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
The problem with autobiographies and memoirs is one can never be sure precisely, or even approximately, how much is fact and how much is fiction. With some, one might, however, attempt to gauge the general degree of faithfulness to truth by way of comparison to known facts or published articles or even by its consistency with history. On this score, I get the feeling that Kuok has been more than a little disingenuous. To be sure, there are more than a few nuggets of solid life advice here but ag ...more
FT Liu
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Born in the 60s and with a father who made his way from China to Malaysia to make his fortune, I lived through a big part of the events that Robert Kuok described. His insights have helped me understand the events better. These include the contribution of the Overseas Chinese to the economies of Southeast Asia and the political situation in Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

It is easy to start a business but to get it to be phenomenally successful like Robert Kuok's takes courage, luck and resilienc
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, tops
The memoirs by Asia's most reclusive tycoon with business interests around the world, traces his life throughout the 20th Century covering the depressin, WW2 and the dismantling of the British Empire up to the rise of China. This real forest gump's story is the stuff of legends Definitely a must read!
Nazri Awang
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was looking for this book for quite a long time. Stumbled upon it at MPH yesterday. A little pricey at RM140, but it was all worth it. This is the only official memoir of Robert Kuok, the man who is known as the "Sugar King".

From a humble beginning in Johor Bahru, he founded Kuok Brothers Malaysia. As the pond grew ever more suffocating, he moved to Singapore and created another venture in Singapore. Several decades later, he relocated yet again to Hong Kong, and founded Kerry Group.

It was a
Thian Low
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Personal memoirs of the man, the myth, the legend, Malaysia's greatest businessman ever, one who succeeded in multiple industries, is a master of multiple skills, and is a survivor of many turbulent periods and events in his era.

Most Malaysians of my age group and many of my South East Asian, Hong Kong and Chinese contemporaries have heard the name Robert Kuok. They know of his industries - sugar, cooking oil, flour, rice. Some of his greatest business achievements are visible for all - the many
Simon Yoong
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read
Carol Pang
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s a must-read for any Malaysian who’s interested in the nation’s history. It’s written in an easy-to-read style. Anyone interested in the region’s history (Malaysia, Singapore, China), British colonial history in the region, sugar trading, doing business, or simply the life of the Sugar King - should read this book. It’s one personal version of history but what a rich and vivid history it was, especially of events in the 60s and 70s.
Amanda Ooi
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everyone needs to read this book, regardless you’re young or old, Malay Chinese or Indian. Robert Kuok is truly a legend; a living example of the saying “success stems from hard work and persistence”. I’ve tagged a few pages of the book and one of them is about the story of Robert telling Tun Hussein Onn his views on Malays being too handicapped by the coalition government. It really made me wonder what would have happened to Malaysia if THO had listened to Robert. Perhaps, if not better, we cou ...more
Cathreen Shiucheng แคทเรน
I don't really read biographies as most of them are written for self-promoting purposes. This memoir however is a very grandfatherly-advice kinda book (which none of my grandfathers able to advice me on life, business, etc). There are couple of things that Robert Kuok keep emphasizing on--i.e. work hard, be humble. Nevertheless, from what I grasped from the book, it seemed like Indonesian Chinese tycoons cannot be trusted and rather than working hard, these tycoons relied on their ties with form ...more
Trung Nguyen Dang
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's great to read a memoir from the most successful businessman in Malaysia so close to me (located in Singapore). Usually other great memoirs tend to be from great characters in US or Europe. The man is a straight-talker and his book shows.

It's interesting to see how business was done in the old days, based on relationships, licenses, quotas ... which is hardly applicable now.

It's nice to read about Robert Kuok's various business adventures.

It's enlightening to read about his philosophy, bel
Haw Kuang
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read the Chinese version of this book but the translation was not quite perfect. I believe the English version would be better as it's the original. The book was an inspiring read of the rags to riches. And with the current political climate in Malaysia, it's definitely good to read about Robert Kuok's insights, as he has been rubbing shoulders with the Prime Ministers in Malaysia....kind of also made me wonder what would have happened to Malaysia today, if Tun Hussien Onn had listened to Kuok's ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a very frank and tell all recollection of the author's life. A very good read. Would prefer to have more details on how he actually made it, like the sugar futures trading he was involved...
Isabelle  CaiWei
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Faye Ng
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly enjoyed this book through its insights on SE Asia through its founding and developing years. A frank and candid telling of this larger than life character from his perspective.
Phew! Finally finished the book after a long period of time. A good lesson on being successful in business ( he is the richest man in Malaysia) and also contributing to the country. His direct style of writing and commenting on the past and current state of Malaysia's economy definitely ruffled some feathers but such brutal honesty is needed in these challenging times.

Kee Alicia
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A mixture of business, politics, relationships and opportunities.
许多人都迫不及待要一览世纪富豪的传奇人生,所以郭老自传真促进了书店去年年底的买气。这也是我第一次买入人物传记类的书。虽然并不了解郭老涉及的行业,但读来并不觉得艰涩。郭老不卑不亢地讲述了他的营商生涯,当中不乏儒学的道德准则,和对中庸之道的推崇,有许多值得借鉴的地方。有一些句子我挺喜欢,例如 “银行家只奉行简单信条:把钱借给不需要的人。”;“资本主义要存续下去,必须要在资本主义中不时掺入几勺共产主义的成分。”。很多人会觉得这本书对中国过于推崇了,也许可以解读为郭老的一份故土情结?
Shahrill Ramli
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's no wonder that this memoir is a best-selling hotcake. People are dying to know the secret recipes to Kuok's success. Yes, he works his ass-off, able to tweak the circumstances into his side, possess the ability to predict the market and most of all, the shining stars are shining upon him - pretty much due to the filial piety he demonstrated towards his Mother. It is interesting to read how the influence of a matriarch soothes the ravaging flame of temperamental tycoon.

Kuok learns modesty t
Jacqueline Tan
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Robert kuok gained experience of business management from the father and also working with Japanese and British during colonisation. He displays a person who is very disciplined and observant. He is willing to work extra mile and very visionary. Although I am not 100% into his business expansion, but I able to learn bit and refresh memory on the history of Malaysia. It is a very well written book to expand general knowledge and guidance for daily life. Comparing myself during younger time with R ...more
Clement Ting
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I did not felt highly inspired to start a business after reading the book (it is not a motivational book after all). However, I have friends that felt otherwise. Mine was more "oh wow" and "that is a really interesting story" type of experience. A 5 star nevertheless.

The book first touches upon Kuok's childhood days, during the war times in Malaya and how he eventually ventured into commodities, challenging the more established competitors and eventually emerging victorious. It then slowly branc
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story of Asia's Sugar King is absorbing, and I found it difficult to put this book full of interesting anecdotes from his life and business down. Like all autobiographies, it should be taken with a pinch of salt as the author seems to have no qualms heaping praise on those who have benefitted his business, whom history has otherwise found to be morally tainted - while ironically at the same time attempting to convey ethical business practice. That aside, Robert Kuok is undoubtedly one of Asi ...more
Nasih Saifullah
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Memoir has always bore a sense of uncertainty in the truth of the storytelling.

I bought this book because I've been long wanting to know how he started off; how he established his foot in the monopoly of rice and flour and how he expanded his empire throughout China and Indonesia.

As skeptical as one can be of him, one must accept the fact that he was at the correct place at the correct time. And he knew how to position himself in the correct society at the correct place, and established good co
Dominic Wong
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Robert Kuok's love for his motherland is very consistent and respectable. It's interesting to see two completely opposite characters coming out of Raffles Institution, the elite English speaking Singaporean school. While he cares so much for his Chinese motherland, Lee Kuan Yew on the other hand told Southeast Asian Chinese to get real, stop being loyal to the faraway homeland in the North and focus on domestic affairs here in the South. Southeast Asian Chinese is a very complex identity, often ...more
Serena Long ﺕ
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I liked what Robert has to say, “You must look at life and assume everybody is going to be unreasonable.” In 376 pages, the book delivers not only the life of a true blue, self made tycoon, one with a tremendous sense of ethnic and morals, but of the times between 1923 and today too. I read that almost nothing came easy to Robert Kuok. He had to fight for his achievements and to build the Group. And finally I know why he loves his mother so much. This is one of the books that I have put on my “m ...more
Joe Lee
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The biography of this Malaysian-born, Hong Kong-based entrepreneur took me through Malaysia and Singapore’s colonial history, Japanese occupation and the postwar developments of the region. Macroscopically, it offers interesting insights into the intricate relationships between politics, economics and business, hence the rise of Asian conglomerates.

However grand those stories were—and well told—the micro takeaway that anyone could use is his 3-point way of hiring and managing people: integrity,
Veronica Liew
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Was this book anywhere near what I expected it to be? Yes, and more. I did expect a long recap of his business life, and wasn't expecting him to have been as revealing about his personal life. On most days, it felt like I was listening to an uncle tell me about his conquests at work, proselytizing certain traits and damning others because he had lived long enough to be able to tell the difference of who's a con and who's the real deal. Perhaps my mind was also coloured by this image I have of hi ...more
Chiang Shong
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very easy read and I enjoyed it throughly. Robert Kuok makes all of us proud of his achievements and in particular Chinese who are from Fuzhou descent. I enjoyed the observations he made of personalities like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Joe Pillay, his other brothers and cousins and one nephew names Kuok Khoon Hong who founded Wilmar. Robert is a a great observer and a great businessman who knew his ground well.
Kwang Wei Long
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is penned by Robert himself sharing his life story with a lot of wisdom and perspective regarding life that was strongly influenced by his mother.
In it you will learn that he is a man that is motivated by his desire to help his country and his willingness to give that help him raise up to the top.
Highly recommended read.
Harry Lee
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
As kids growing up in Malaysia, we would always ask who is the most successful businessman in Malaysia. And the answer would be Robert Kuok. (I thought I heard Robocop as a kid, haha). It is good to read first hand from the man himself - his story.
Timothy Teoh
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
To become really rich: work seven days a week, network with everyone, neglect your family.

I liked the candor of the book - Mr Kuok didn't try to hide his pride to be Chinese or his own failings with his family. Was succinctly written.
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Robert Kuok Hock Nien, is an author, a Malaysian business magnate and investor. According to Forbes, his net worth is estimated at $14.8 billion on March 2018, making him the richest person in Malaysia and sixth richest in Southeast Asia, As of May 2018, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Kuok has an estimated net worth of $19.9 billion, making him the 48th richest person in the world. ...more
“The worst thing in life is not shortage of food; it's human indignity.” 0 likes
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