During the year, I read several books:
1. The Money Formula (Paul Wilmott + 1)
2. Advice and Dissent (Dr. Y.V. Reddy)
3. The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom (John Pomfret)
4. Journey Continues (Sri. M)
5. Asia’s Reckoning (Richard McGregor) – in parts, because I was not persuaded to read the whole thing
6. War by other means (Robert Blackwill + 1)
7. Aadhaar (Shankkar Aiyar)
8. Reflections on the Revolution in Europe (Christopher Caldwell)
9. I do what I do (Raghuram Rajan)
10. The Fix (Jonathan Tepperman)
11. An Extraordinary Time (Marc Levinson)
12. A Capitalism for the People (Luigi Zingales)
13. Sapiens – a brief history of humankind (Yuval Harari) – brilliant in parts
Advice and Dissent, The Beautiful Country…, Reflections on the …., Sapiens and The Fix deserve special mention. My comment on John Pomfret’s book are here. For the spiritually inclined, Shri. M’s ‘Journey Continues’ is utterly fascinating.
A short review of Pomfret’s book, ‘The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom’ appeared in MINT:
Among the many books I read this year, I would pick The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom by John Pomfret as the best.
It was slow to start as the book traced the history of the Sino-American relations from several centuries ago. But, once the book entered the contemporary era, I perked up. What comes out rather clearly in the book is that China has played America like a fiddle over several decades–from President Nixon to President Obama. It appears that America won the Cold War not because of but in spite of the State Department. Nixon reflected later that he might have created a Frankenstein monster. Too late. When President Trump told Xi Jinping that China did what was right for it and that his predecessors had to be blamed for the unequal relationship, he was spot on.
It is interesting that Mao waived Japan’s apologies for its crimes against China but that did not stop his successors from making it a big issue. The amount of damage that Nixon and Kissinger have done to America’s (and India’s) interests thanks to their utter cynicism is considerable. We learn from the book about the origin of Siamese twin. The lesson that comes out rather clearly is that China views solicitude as a sign of vulnerability. Being nice is unrequited diplomacy with China. The book is a must read for India’s diplomatic community that includes both policymakers and starry-eyed commentators. [Link]