China’s Change: The Greatest Show on Earth

China’s Change

If you only read one book about China this year, I strongly recommend that it should be “China’s Change: The Greatest Show on Earth”.

The book is written by Hugh Peyman, who has lived in Asia for over thirty-five years, including twelve in China, who does a masterful job of explaining how the country has transformed its once poor and backward economy into one of the most vibrant and innovative ones in the world in the space of just over four decades.

Indeed, the author even goes on to argue that there is much for western countries and companies to learn from how China has successfully managed this process of change, which it is implementing at a speed and scale that dwarf any previous economic and social revolutions in human history.

“Still a work in progress,” he argues, “China’s change will be the Greatest Show on Earth as it becomes a significant part of the new equilibrium that emerges from the growing disruption of the next 15 years or so. No other country possesses the twin strengths of China’s scale and momentum, except possibly India. All need to understand China’s change better if they are to remain economic or world leaders…”

I particularly enjoyed the author’s exploration of how the lessons from China’s long and turbulent history and the teachings of ancient Chinese philosophy from the I Ching, Daodejing, Analects of Confucius, and other great works underpin the government’s approach to constant renewal “weixin” and change. These has not only given it a long-term holistic perspective, but also a proven path based on constant experimentation and continuous learning for managing the inevitable challenges that lie ahead as a result of the rapid technological and social disruptions that are roiling the global economy.

Despite the growing paranoia about China’s rise in the west, Peyman argues that the country’s “advance need not mean that other societies will fall back, let alone fail.” Indeed, the unprecedented speed with which China has revived its economy provides lessons that the whole world can learn from – not to mention unleashing myriad opportunities for future global growth.

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