All posts tagged: Book reviews

Taiwan’s Looming Pension Crisis: A Review of Hao Chung-jen’s ‘Taiwan Inc Bankruptcy’

A new book calls on the Taiwanese government to undertake pension reform as warning signs indicate that Taiwan could face problems similar to those experienced by Greece This article was first published online by Thinking Taiwan想想論壇(http://thinking-taiwan.com) on March 30, 2016. In his latest book 《中華民國股份有限公司破產》(Taiwan Inc Bankruptcy), Hao Chung-jen (郝充仁), a professor at Tamkang University, takes a close look at the impact of what he describes as Taiwan’s ill-designed pensions system and the barriers that have hindered progress in pension reform. The book emphasizes the urgency of pension system reform through a business metaphor: If the Taiwanese government were a company, you would be terrified to discover how little its earnings are. Hao is adamant that the pension system has serious flaws, but he believes that it can change. The opening chapters provide a brief history of Taiwan’s pension system and analyze how demographic structure changes have affected that system. The section goes all the way back to 1949, when people from China poured into Taiwan and when the government decided to give outrageously high pensions …

Of Bicycles and War: A Review of Wu Ming-yi’s ‘The Stolen Bicycle’

The latest novel by the award-winning Taiwanese author interlaces devastating events with a touch of tenderness This article was first published online by Thinking Taiwan 想想論壇 (http://thinking-taiwan.com) on December 1, 2015. Wu Ming-yi’s (吳明益) fifth novel《單車失竊記》(The Stolen Bicycle) pays tribute to the millions of soldiers who died during World War II and the countless animals and natural habitats that were destroyed in the cataclysm. Written in traditional Chinese, the novel follows the protagonist as he sets off on a search for his father’s stolen bicycle, a popular Made-in-Taiwan Happiness Brand bicycle (the brand used the slogan “Get on a Happiness, Bike Your Way to Happiness” (騎幸福牌腳踏車,踏上幸福之路). The unnamed middle-age male protagonist, a writer like Wu himself, whose father is a skilled tailor at the Chung Hwa Market, receives a letter from a reader asking what happens to the father’s bicycle left at Taipei Zhongshan Hall in his last novel,《睡眠的航線》(Route in a Dream). The letter immediately grips the protagonist’s heart and he embarks on a journey of discovery, tracing back the history of the Happiness bicycles …

Book Review: ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’ by Cal Newport

Cal Newport’s ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’ – the book that changed the way I think about career By Jasmine Huang So Good They Can’t Ignore You Cal Newport. Grand Central, $28 (304P) I first heard about Cal Newport’s book ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’ because of an episode of Tim Ferriss’ podcast. In the episode, former executive editor at Wired and author of the new book ‘The Inevitable’ Kevin Kelly talked about several books he recommends the most and Cal Newport’s book was one of them. I looked it up immediately and thought I needed to read it. I went to the closest bookstore in the area to read the book, which at the time happened to be the biggest bookstore in Taiwan— Eslite Bookstore Xinyi Branch in the Xinyi District. I grabbed the book from the selves and started reading while standing there. The book changed what I think about career. I used to believe what Steve Jobs had said in the famous Stanford commencement speech. He said, “You’ve got to find what …

Reading Notes: ‘Michelle Obama: A Life’ by Peter Slevin

A few thoughts after reading parts of Peter Slevin’s Michelle Obama: A Life. By Jasmine Huang Michelle Obama: A Life Peter Slevin. Knopf, $27.95 (432p)   A strange thing happened to me in September 2016. An interesting education consulting firm had contacted me to see if I can write English recommendation letters for their young Chinese clients. Many of them were wealthy Chinese college graduates who were trying to realize the Chinese Dream by pursuing J.D. degrees in the States. I had never written recommendation letters as a ghostwriter before and thought it was one of the most interesting writer jobs I had ever had. I was thrilled to produce recommendations that sounded like serious law professors! Once I passed their writing test, I immediately started reading and writing a bunch of law education related books. Peter Slevin’s Michelle Obama book was one of the books I read in order to write better,  highly unethical law school recommendation letters. I wanted to ghost-write good recommendations so badly that I had spent most of my spare …