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Posted November 3, 1999
Perpetuation of Myth and Stereotypes
With books like this purporting to explain Asia and its people, it is little wonder that the average Westerner is still so misinformed on the subject. Contrary to what the title says, she is not 'unlocking any hidden agenda'. The fact is, this is well-charted territory, much of which is covered in books that are millenia-old (Art of War), decades-old (Chrysanthemum and the Sword) or just plain assinine (The Japan that Can say 'No'). Another problem with the title is that she is not providing any 'survival' advice. She simply shows how some Asians operate and negotiate without showing the best way to counter their tactics. Reading this book to learn how to deal with Asians is like studying martial arts to learn how to get beat up. But perhaps the worst quality of the book is the way she imbues each passage with the sense that Westerners shouldn't even bother trying to understand Asia. (Certianly they shouldn't bother learning from her.) In one section she even states explicitly that there are two types of Westerner in Asia -- 1) the Asia-phile who thinks he knows alot but doesn't and 2) the novice who realizes that he knows nothing. But hey, here is the real 'secret agenda' of this Asian: when a teacher tells her students that they are still ignorant, the students exalt her as one of the few enlightened ones to whom they can turn. They become dependent on the teacher for her pearls of 'wisdom', each one poisoned with the idea that student is ignorant. With each pearl, the perceived dependence deepens. Good way to drum up business for this Asia consultant. If you want to read all-encompassing books on Asian strategy, go to the source - The Art of War, the Five Rings, etc.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.