Maree's Reviews > Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid

Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost
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's review
Feb 01, 2012

really liked it

I thought this was an exceptionally true book about a visitor's take on China, having just gone last year myself and finding many of the same things as the author, even in my much shorter stay. The tone is chatty and informative, and I really wish I would have read this book before I had gone. Then maybe I wouldn't have been so hesitant to haggle even in the nicer shops (where I did at least catch their incorrect math in giving discount percentages). And the knowledge of the history of various events in China would have been good to have as well. I would have been really interested to ask some of the students I was with there if they knew about such and such event, or if it just hadn't been taught to them so they wouldn't know about it.

China really is a fascinating nation, but I agree with the author in that I wouldn't want to live there. I also think Troost did an excellent job of capturing where China is right now and also their mindset and how they plan to get things done. You have to admire China for their drive, but executing the people who are smarter than you and trying to make logical suggestions as an alternative to the madness going on is going to catch up with them eventually. Hopefully before they pollute the world enough to make it uninhabitable.

Unfortunately, the only downside of this book is that it goes on for too long. It needs to be maybe 50 pages shorter, because I was starting to look at it with distaste toward the end, thinking it was almost over but those thin little pages are misleading. But still, very informative and I'd definitely recommend it for anyone going to China, to visit or live.
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