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I read "When China Rules The World" because I'm spending much of he next two years working in China, and felt I should have some idea about what the country was like. In this regard, the book is informative. It gives you a potted history of the country, how they see themselves and why they are how they are. If I had actually read this book before I arrived, I would probably have been better prepared for what I experieced here.

The strengths of the book lie in the explanation of the Chinese psychology. Their history and "distinctive beliefs" are explained pretty well here, and help me understand them much better. Should I ever have to deal with the "coming Chinese" when I move back to the UK, I think this book will help me understand them.

The weaknesses of the book lie in its' tendency to be slightly repetitive. Certain ideas (like Chinese conviction of their own superiority and their belief in Confucianism for example) get talked about repeatedly (and not just in the sections where they are rightly discussed). The first couple of times they are repeated you might find the idea useful (and allow it to stick in the memory because of that repetition). After that, you'll start thinking that he's mentioned this before and start wanting him to move on.

In addition to the weaknesses of the book, their are a couple of other problems that I had with the book's contents. First, I don't think that it will tell anything new to someone who knows a lot about China. Maybe this isn't the aim of the book, but I don't view myself as a Chinese aficionado, and I found myself thinking "Come on I knew that" a fair bit.

The other thing is that I found it depressing. I'm proud of being English. The book, however, made me more concerned that the Chinese aren't going to change. Their convictions about their skills and their premier position in the world, has made me more hawkish about China and globalisation. I am now extremely wary of what the Chinese are up to, and I think that probably wasn't the point of the book.



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January 2013