The Best Books about China: Part 2- Economy and Politics

Where Politics and Economy coincide: Tiananmen Square Beijing.

Where Politics and Economy coincide: Tiananmen Square Beijing.

Whether it is possible to make a clear distinction in categories between the first post and this one, is a matter to be debated. But here are some more good reads about China.

For the Time deprived: The 1 Hour China Book- Jeffrey Towson and Jonathan Woetzel
Two American professors at leading Chinese University Peking University describe six “ Mega Trends” in the Chinese economy, from urbanization to the internet. They claim the book can be read in 1 hour, though a closer read warrants 2 to 3 hours. While the authors admit that China is big and complicated, the book gives a good and simplified overview of current issues.

Politically savvy– The Party- Richard McGregor
How has the Communist Party shaped China and how is it ruling this vast country in the 21st century? McGregor points out how what was once a revolutionary party is now firmly the establishment. A must read for those who want to understand more about how this vast country is governed.

Entrepreneurs: Mr China- Tim Clissold
After China opened up to foreign investors in the late seventies, Western investors tried to grab their chances and huge amounts of foreign investment became available. Many became rich, though not necessarily the Western investors themselves. Although the Chinese economy has changed tremendously, the book still contains lessons for foreigners wanting to do business in the Middle Kingdom.

Marketeers: As China Goes, So Goes the World- Karl Gerth
People who visited China in the 80ies or early 90’ies always tell me about the throngs of bicycles in the streets. Gerth explains why dreams of turning China into the first motorized vehicle free economy have been replaced by the smoggy, congested cities we know today, and gives examples of the Chinese consumer’s needs.

Negotiators: Chinese Commercial Negotiating Style- Lucian Pye
This book is only available second hand, but a relevant and concise introduction into Chinese negotiating. Many books about doing business in China focus on irrelevant details about handing over business cards with both hands. Pye on the other hand explains that Chinese believe patience is a value in negotiations and takes it from there, answering questions such as why the Chinese have a preference for informal sessions and who really is in charge of the negotiations.

Looking for in-depth knowledge:Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China- Ezra Vogel
I hesitated to add this book to the list. Not because it is not worth reading, but rather because it takes such a long time. However, if you want to understand the enormous transformation that China, and particularly its economy, has undergone, this book provides you with an in-depth description, with Deng Xiaoping as the leading man. The architect of Opening Up and Reform, he had a fascinating career in the Communist Party, but was purged from it 3 times.


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