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SOUTH KOREA: The Price of Efficiency and Success

"This account of a side of a country that those who don’t live there might not ever see, is honest but also compassionate."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

A detailed and compassionate look into Korea culture past the glitz and glam of K exports. This is the second edition of South Korea: The Price of Efficiency and Success by John Gonzalez and Young Lee, revised to update the narrative and figures as well as include discussions of more recent significant events. As someone who is only familiar with the exported face of Korea - the K-beauty, K-pop stars and K-dramas, this was an interesting introduction into Korean history and how the country has been able to grow at an astonishing rate since the Korean War. Taking us through how the Korean people celebrate efficiency and how this is ingrained into the psyche of its people, whether it’s the predominance of fast food to the students having extra tuition to help them get ahead on exams and university applications. As we read however it becomes clearer that this desire for efficiency, while leading to technological advances, also creates pitfalls that can have dangerous and sometimes fatal consequences. I liked the perspective of this book. John Gonzalez provides a detailed account of Korean culture, the ups and the downs, from the perspective of someone who has lived in and seems to have a great love for the country. As a UK reader I can empathise with the description of governments who are unwilling to make changes that would have long term impact as opposed to short term boosts in numbers that they can claim success for during their terms. I can also empathise with the younger Korean generation, struggling to find the work they expected and homeownership despite following the path we were always told would lead to success. From the perspective laid out it is clear to see how easily focusing on efficiency has led to a positive boost for the country over the course of a number of years but has now led to corners being cut, having an impact on public safety. This account of a side of a country that those who don’t live there might not ever see, is honest but also compassionate. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in Korean culture, and also those with an interest in world history, sociology and politics.

Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

LoveReading Ambassador

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