Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West

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9780679777601: Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West

"Fascinating...clearly stated, interesting and provoking.... A plainspoken account of living in Asia."  --San Francisco Chronicle

Anyone who has heard his weekly commentary on NPR knows that T. R. Reid is trenchant, funny, and deeply knowledgeable reporter and now he brings this erudition and humor to the five years he spent in Japan--where he served as The Washington Post's Tokyo bureau chief.  He provides unique insights into the country and its 2,500-year-old Confucian tradition, a powerful ethical system that has played an integral role in the continent's "postwar miracle."

Whether describing his neighbor calmly asserting that his son's loud bass playing brings disrepute on the neighborhood, or the Japanese custom of having students clean the schools, Reid inspires us to consider the many benefits of the Asian Way--as well as its drawbacks--and to use this to come to a greater understanding of both Japanese culture and America.

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Review:

Despite setbacks, the economic "miracles" achieved by many Asian countries in the latter 20th century have been impressive. This entertaining and thoughtful book invites the reader to consider East Asia's other miracle: its dramatically low rates of crime, divorce, drug abuse, and other social ills. T.R. Reid, an NPR commentator and former Tokyo bureau chief for the Washington Post, lived in Japan for five years, and he draws on this experience to show how the countries of East Asia have built modern industrial societies characterized by the safest streets, the best schools, and the most stable families in the world.

Reid credits Asia's success to the ethical values of Chinese philosopher Confucius, born in 551 B.C., who taught the value of harmony and the importance of treating others decently. This is not a new perception--Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and others have rather heavy-handedly invoked it to claim moral superiority over the West--but the author's vivid anecdotes strengthen its relevance. Public messages constantly remind Asian citizens of their responsibilities to society. To enhance a sense of belonging, civic ceremonies encourage individuals' allegiance to a greater good; across Japan, for example, April 1 is Nyu-Sha-Shiki day, when corporations officially welcome new employees, most of whom remain loyal to their company for life. Citing Malaysia's ideas of a "reverse Peace Corps," Reid sees a case for Asians coming to teach the West in the same way that Westerners have evangelized in Asia for over four centuries. --John Stevenson

From the Back Cover:

Anyone who has heard his weekly commentary on NPR knows that T. R. Reid is trenchant, funny, and deeply knowledgeable, and now he brings this erudition and humor to the five years he spent in Japan, where he served as The Washington Post's Tokyo bureau chief. He provides unique perspective on the country and its 2,500-year-old Confucian tradition, a powerful ethical system that has played an integral role in the country's "postwar miracle".

Reid explores the Confucian ideals of respect, responsibility, and group unity and the way they color every aspect of Asian life. Whether describing his neighbor calmly asserting that his son's loud bass playing brings disrepute on the neighborhood, or the Japanese custom of having students clean the schools, Reid inspires us to consider the many benefits of the Asian Way -- as well as its drawbacks -- and to use this to come to a greater understanding of both Japanese culture and America.

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Vintage Books ed. Language: English . Brand New Book. Fascinating.clearly stated, interesting and provoking. A plainspoken account of living in Asia. -- San Francisco Chronicle Anyone who has heard his weekly commentary on NPR knows that T. R. Reid is trenchant, funny, and deeply knowledgeable reporter and now he brings this erudition and humor to the five years he spent in Japan--where he served as The Washington Post s Tokyo bureau chief.He provides unique insights into the country and its 2,500-year-old Confucian tradition, a powerful ethical system that has played an integral role in the continent s postwar miracle. Whether describing his neighbor calmly asserting that his son s loud bass playing brings disrepute on the neighborhood, or the Japanese custom of having students clean the schools, Reid inspires us to consider the many benefits of the Asian Way--as well as its drawbacks--and to use this to come to a greater understanding of both Japanese culture and America. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780679777601

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