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Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew: Citizen Singapore: How to Build a Nation (Giants of Asia series)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  385 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
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Hardcover, 216 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb (first published May 26th 2010)
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Kenny Chan
LKY's views, as always, are full of insights. Unfortunately this book is nothing more than a long interview and would have made better reading if it had been presented as a simple Q&A transcript. The author does not value-add much here--he intrudes into the narrative with passages of personal ruminations which only slow down an otherwise engaging conversation. Fans of LKY who have read his two-volume memoir can give this book a miss. It doesn't reveal anything new that we do not know about t ...more
Bach Tran Quang
Một Lý Quang Diệu 86 tuổi, trên cái nền triết lý của Plato và Machiavelli với lớp lót của Khổng Giáo được Tom Plate khắc họa trong cuốn sách này. Một cuốn sách không câu nệ, không né tránh, cũng không tâng bốc về một trong những con người quản lý tài giỏi nhất mà Đông Nam Á từng sản sinh.

Với những cái nhìn thức thời về địa chính trị, kinh tế, đặc biệt là về Trung Quốc, với một Singapore "hoàn hảo" - một Utopia trong mơ với bất cứ quốc gia nào, điều đó đã đủ nói lên cái tài và cái tầm của ông Lý.
Mar 29, 2015 Suhrob rated it liked it
3 stars if this is the first book you read about LKY. There is no way this will hold up in the longer run.

The problem is Plate - he writes very well, so he embeds the interview in descriptions, which make the interview read almost like a novel. This does make for an engaging and easy read, but often, however, the descriptions and digressions sound made up or inauthentic (such as noticing and interpreting brief gestures or facial expressions of LKY).

But the worst offense is unnecessary writing h
Brit Cheung
Dec 08, 2015 Brit Cheung rated it liked it
The book is a journal of consecutive two days of interviews.All the narratives left readers to a self-digging out and exploration for the insights which were sparking in those lines .The way the author advanced his interview was mostly based on Mr.LKY's responses to the questions he offered and he basically maintained an impartial tongue.

From what I have read , I would extrapolate three deductions that were not directly reflected in this book and I want to test their validation through other wor
Jan 21, 2012 Muhammad rated it it was ok
In his candid interviews with author Tom Plate, Lee Kuan Yew has made it very clear what he thinks about Malays. He thinks that Malays are “not as hardworking and capable as other races” and that Malays are a race that should not breed with other go-getting people (page 53).

Such conviction in negative eugenics and blatant racism may shock the casual observer. But such is this man Lee Kuan Yew, calculative, ruthlessly pragmatic and cares for very little for political correctness. Sometimes I cann
Wai-kit Ng
May 25, 2013 Wai-kit Ng rated it it was amazing
Shelves: box2
Again I learnt a lot from this book. Can't say I like the style and construct, but it didn't hinder the message much.
Đặng Hưng
May 28, 2017 Đặng Hưng rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dân chủ hay độc tài. Nên hay không nên. Góc nhìn mới về Singapore. Một con người của thời đại. Nhận định sắc xảo và đối đáp sâu sắc của người phỏng vấn và người được phỏng vấn. Chính sách, người lãnh đạo của các quốc gia lớn. Các học thuyết và ý tưởng. 24h để hoàn thành. Tuyệt!
Mar 22, 2015 Samuel rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it
For those who have yet to read LKY's From Third World to First or LKY: The Man and His Ideas, Conversations with LKY is sort of the "lite" version for getting a sense of the man, his personality and intellect. A lot of the material here is familiar ground who have read LKY's books, heard him speak or read his articles - LKY's pragmatism, his views on governance, development, eugenics, China, etc.

The good part about Plate's book is that the format - an account of 2 afternoons' worth of interviews
Giang Tran
When I picked this book up, I hoped it would be a professional interview, which contain interviewee's viewpoints and the interviewer's sharp political questions and analyses.

It do provide a lot of useful information that worth reading. Such as Lee Kuan Yew's opinions, reasons why he did what he did, some historical and political facts, Lee Kuan Yew's discussion with other countries' leaders, relationships between Singapore and China, America, Indonesia, Malaysia...

I would give the book 4 stars,
Nandini Goel
Apr 04, 2015 Nandini Goel rated it it was amazing
Lee Kuan Yew was indeed a legendary statesmen and to Singapore, what the center is to a circle-in the middle of the whole deal. I admire some of his ideas & theories of leadership. Especially, the one about being pragmatic and utilitarian.

He once said that "He doesn't works on theories but he works on making them work". "He also said that one move that he makes might fail but there will never be a dead end".

Although his views about Gandhi and Gandhian "Charkha" are different to what I belie
Ro Laberee
Mar 28, 2013 Ro Laberee rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ro by: 80
Lee Kuan Yew says things out loud that no American dare say. He's an authoritarian - it is his way or the highway - yet he makes SO MUCH SENSE. Many years ago, he predicted the direction in which America is now headed. He explains clearly the idea of American excellence and understands it better than the bulk of Americans. He also explains why American excellence is dead and/or dying. He detests laziness and he is an inveterate capitalist. His views would never go over well in a pure democracy, ...more
NJ Wong
Jan 20, 2016 NJ Wong rated it it was amazing
A short book based on a 2 day interview with LKY. Very readable, but doesn't really cover much new ground. Most of the opinions offered by LKY in this book is already well known to readers of the local presses like the Straits Times. Another book, "Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going", which is of a similar format and which was published later, is probably more comprehensive in its coverage. However, as this book is targeted at Western readers rather than Singaporeans, its coverage was probably ...more
Marcus Tay
Apr 15, 2016 Marcus Tay rated it really liked it
I don't know why but I actually enjoyed this book - take note that I have read all of LKY's books and even that book of Hard Truths that was written through a Q and A manner.

The key perhaps was as mentioned in many of the books, LKY sought to write a clear and direct manner so that the someone with just O level education will be able to understand.

For Hard Truths, perhaps because anyone who is inside the system (refering to the ST journalists in Hard Truths) will be limited by the framework of
Levan Tsutskiridze
While LKYs comments and thoughts are interesting to read the book is full of reflections and opinions of Plate himself reading which did not seem very interesting to me. Plate seems to be in awe with LKY and this is obvious throughout the book.Fareed Zakaria's renown interview is much more illustrative of Kuan Yew's points than this entire book which seems to borrow a lot from it. It would have been much better should Plate kept his views and meditations limited and focused more on LKYs approach ...more
Celine Nguyen
Dec 21, 2014 Celine Nguyen rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
Read this book while researching for a paper. It's interesting to see the perspectives of Asian politics through the eyes of an American journalist. I enjoyed reading about his mentoring relationship with Deng Xiaoping and his candid reviews of all the POTUS he interacted with. There were some very provoking opinions that certainly do not sit well with "The Free World", no surprise there.. LKY is controversial and brilliant as always :)
Amrika Lê
Băn khoăn giữa 2 và 3 sao. Mình thích tính cách của Lý Quang Diệu và thế giới quan của bác ấy, tuy nhiên khi đọc nhiều khi hơi khó chịu vì cách tường thuật và kể lể của bác tác giả, làm mờ đi & mang tính hơi dẫn giải. Mình thích đọc cách viết "show, not tell", nên Tom Plate không khiến mình hồ hởi đọc cho lắm.
Dù sao thì, những cuộc đối thoại của họ vẫn làm rõ triết lý xây dựng quản lý quốc gia của LQD, hiện lên khá rõ và vẫn để lại nhiều ấn tượng trong đầu, dù đọc hết đã lâu.
Chandra Witts
Feb 14, 2014 Chandra Witts rated it liked it
I wanted to read this book for a paper I was writing on LKY for a leadership class. In those respects it was useful. My only complaint is that in the chapter the author said he wanted to write a book about LKY without referring to the chewing gum laws, which is what conjures in the minds of Westerners. By four chapters in, I was going to put the book down if I read one more reference to anti-chewing gum laws.
Mar 05, 2016 Andre rated it liked it
* Even in his twilight years, Lee Kuan Yew's mind is still very sharp. We may not always agree with him, but he gives justifications on why he believes in his actions.

* Some of the questions are silly, e.g. the whole discussions and questions whether Lee Kuan Yew is a fox or a hedgehog is downright stupid.
* The filler essays are not interesting. If I wanted to read an assessment about Lee Kuan Yew, I would have read a biography book, not a book about a few of his interviews.
Vidhya Nair
May 17, 2015 Vidhya Nair rated it did not like it
Useless book. The book is more about Tom Plate encountering LKY than what LKY is actually saying. There are too many casual asides and personal anecdotes. the author is too flattered to be in Lky's presence to make any comprehensive analysis or reading. There are better ways to learn abt LKY. This book is a gimmick.
Jan 22, 2016 Aylinalpustun rated it it was ok
The content is no doubt very interesting indeed, a lot of extremely valuable information.
However I felt that tne book just did not flow.
In fact it was very suffıcating at times.
Many opinions, quotes and theories of both LKY and great statesmen and philpsophers were just scattered across the chapters making the ideas difficult to follow
Jul 27, 2013 Audrey rated it really liked it
I am clearly overly generous with the rating - largely driven by a whimsical idolisation of the person in context. It was a easy read, although the content is rather sketchy and could most certainly add some meat.
Jun 07, 2015 Bindesh rated it really liked it
I don't know whether the informal language was appropriate for the conversations with a serious state-builder but some insights gained by Plate from Lee were marvelous. Evaluating Lee with that Isaiah Berlin category of "Hedgehog and Fox" was marvelous.
Oct 07, 2015 Ryan_hg rated it liked it
One of the condensed book on a 2 days conversation with LKY. Not a bad read but if you would like to know more about LKY & Singapore, there are much better books out there such as "Hard Truth to keep Singapore going" & "LKY - One man's View on the world"
Nov 20, 2014 Joanna rated it it was ok
Could've been better organized. Probably Plate was opting for a diff literary style to make it more interesting? I honestly don't care about Plate's thoughts/impression of LKY. Unfortunately he inserted way too much of himself there. Nevertheless, there are gems here. Good read to kill time.
Tanagrit R. Pharc
Apr 24, 2015 Tanagrit R. Pharc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
อานสนุก ใหแงคิดมุมมองตอสังคมสิงคโปรทีมีผูนำมุงมันพัฒนาประเทศ เนือหาเขมแตไมขนจนเคลียด แลวเราจะไดรูเคลดลับของความเจริญของสิงคโปรผานหนังสือเลมนี

ไมใชเฉพาะเรืองการเมืองการปกครอง แตสามารถนำมาปรับใชในชีวิตประจำวันได
Nguyen Anh
May 20, 2015 Nguyen Anh rated it it was ok
Plate is trying to cover too many topics at a time and in order to make it a "book" he must include his own opinions and descriptions to fill in the gap. Reading Plate's opinions and descriptions are not what I am looking for in a book about Lee Kuan Yew.
Truong An
Aug 06, 2015 Truong An rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is great . I can learn so much knowledge about ASIAN and Singapore's politics and history.
Now Lee Kuan Yew is my idol. He teach me a lot about vision of modern country. I wish i could help my country like him . Rest In Peace my idol.
Aug 15, 2012 Dennis rated it liked it
Not the best book on insightful views on Lee Kuan Yew. More of a long interview peppered with thoughts from the author. Might be more useful for a quick read this great leader and some of the misconceptions surrounding his leadership style
Not impressive. Seems it's less of an interview and more of a commentary by the author. Would not recommend...
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