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What's Wrong with China

Narrated by: George Spelvin
Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, World Affairs
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Summary

What's Wrong with China is the widely anticipated follow-up to Paul Midler's Poorly Made in China, an expose of China manufacturing practices. Applying a wider lens in this account, he reveals many of the deep problems affecting Chinese society as a whole. Once again, Midler delivers the goods by rejecting commonly held notions, breaking down old myths, and providing fresh explanations of lesser-understood cultural phenomena.

©2018 Wiley (P)2018 Gildan Media

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the guardian hated it, so I knew it would be good

It's partly or largely anecdotal but serves as a good cultural steer and warning. Entertaining and well structured

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Very perspicacious

Excellent book for anyone seeking to understand the Chinese ethos and mentality.
Highly recommend you give it a listen.

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Great book!

It articulates everything I've seen and experienced in China. Excellent book and extremely useful for anyone living in China, or considering doing business with the Chinese.

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  • Laura Richardson
  • 17-03-19

Midler Should Be Required Reading

Excellent book. After being an audible member for many years (and listening to hundreds of books), this is my first review, which indicates my sentiments on the book. This book, and even more so Poorly Made in China, gives an incredibly rich understanding of the Chinese people. It's interesting that Paul describes the Chinese culture as "informal". In fact, the culture as a whole sounds very much like "Artisans" on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator system. As he describes the cultural informalities, it is interesting to note that this sounds very much like the Indian culture (without the narcissism or sociopathy). I feel this book is a must read for anyone in business, anyone visiting China, or anyone curious to understand the Chinese. Furthermore, I feel a bit embarrassed at how easily I have believed the opinions of other authors about China, when none have spent so many years (or even any) in the trenches as have Midler.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-10-18

whirlwind

an honest, assertive, accurate portrayal of the Chinese psyche based on a strong combination of historical, empirical and anecdotal evidence. Jibes with my comparatively limited experience, for what it's worth. This guy should be working for our state department. also recommend his other work, poorly made in china.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-11-19

Best book on China I ever read

I’m a Chinese writing down the review while listening to this interesting audiobook because I feel compelled to write something about it.

This book is written by an American, who grew up in a fully industrialized society and culture, on a transitional society of China. The language is straight forward, no disguise, no political correctness. I chose it from hundreds of audiobooks about China in Audible listing, and I just like it. The thing is Chinese culture is still on the course of transition, from an agriculture one to an industrialized one. For one example, the author pointed out Chinese culture don’t value so high of inventers. That’s true. But admiration of inventors is a cultural phenomenon typically seen in an industrialized society. 5 centuries ago in the west, people still admire those religious saints or legendary warriors more. Many things are changing now. English education is compulsory in China, and it’s just unavoidable that many modern concepts are mingled into Chinese thinking now. Say double standards, it’s a foreign concept for most elders, but more and more youngsters are correctly using it now.

Most Chinese adults grew up in an impoverished rural family. Their thinking and behavior cannot avoid being influenced by the scarcity. And China has a long history of rule by the bureaucracy. Many phenomena the author portrayed are just a reflection of these simple facts. It’s annoying to a foreigner who grew up in a prosperous democracy, but not so difficult to understand, I think. But I see many things are changing now, China will become a different society one generation later.

The author didn’t picture China in a transitional prospect is the only shortfall of this book IMHO. But anyway, this book is much better than most books on China, which indulged in obscure concepts, imaginary plots or extremely exotic portrays. It offers some accurate and insightful description on the real China. I recommend this audiobook to foreigners who is interested in China.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-10-19

I was looking for the one-two punch

The author is too soft on Communist China. He failed to give his readers the full gravity of the problems perpetuated by the totalitarian regime. The title of the book should have been stronger, as in What the Fvck is Wrong with Communist China to illustrate the seriousness and ridiculousness of the Mainlanders’ behavior, delusion and hubris. The most satisfying part of the book was when the author described - accurately - the Mainlanders as narcissistic and anti social, calling them sociopaths and psychopaths, and pointing out the traits of the Cluster B personality disorders as per the DSM5. Also, the author’s blanket use of the name Chinese made me cringe for all the enlightened and classy Chinese from outside of Mainland China such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Those Chinese people don’t deserve to be dragged into the mud. The author should have stuck to the name Mainlanders to illustrate the acute differences between them and those not from Communist China.

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  • JBSmoove2
  • 20-09-19

Describing instead of interpreting is the key to understanding

The author seeks to describe how Chinese act in interpersonal relationships, and does so in an admirable and straightforward manner. Instead of apologizing for what clearly offends American sensibilities, Midler merely explains how the Chinese act/behave, and sometimes provides a detailed explanation of the rationale for such actions/behavior where further explanation helps to illustrate the underlying action/behavior.

What’s the especially about interesting are the explanations surrounding magical numbers, or so-called oriental mysticism, that an American may regard as culturally significant. In reality, placing special numbers into pricing, or other such nonsense, may make the American businessman feel more culturally sensitive (and thus more worthy of respect in a business relationship), but does not make the Chinese businessman on the other side of the table any more likely to adopt the American negotiating position or strategy.

In fact, adopting the allegedly significant Chinese custom puts the American on a lessor footing because, since the gesture is adopted without true understanding, it can be purposefully misinterpreted on the Chinese end of things, and used as a cudgel in continuing negotiations, further weakening the American negotiator.

Listening to this book was very informative and enjoyable, and I’d wager that many will find it equally interesting.

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  • Lonnie G. Hardy, Jr.
  • 24-06-19

A Very Accurate Analysis of China And Its Nature

Have spent much time in China and am married into one of the families, so I am blessed to see it from the perspective of the locals. This book is dead-on accurate . Helped me to resolve many questions and suspicions I have raised.
Outside of my adopted Chinese family , I do not enjoy doing business with most Chinese as one has to always keep your guard up and assume that a win-win perspective is not mutually shared. But, that’s ok as long as both sides understand it from the start !

Most concerning is how our well meaning but naive politicians of the past have been taken as fools. Our country has to negotiate hard-nosed, rejecting all the nonsense . This book makes a great case for this . Love the people as they have many lovable and admirable characteristics ! But, when it comes time for business- make it all business !

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  • David
  • 12-05-18

Excellent - concise, informative and timely!

Very informative on Chinese national history and personality. I was surprised at how easy it is to make sense of things that previously perplexed me.

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  • chemmonkey
  • 20-04-18

Critical but very biased

It is ridiculous to find excuse for Japan to invade China because Japanese cared about Railway. Another problem talked about, which I agree, it copycatting. But I can see that everywhere, in the west too. Overall, the author used a vision of God to argue things he though are wrong with China.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful