This is another book that landed on the Give Away table at a gathering recently. With the subtitle, And Other Tales of China’s Timeless Wisdom for Leaders (author is Michael C. Tang), it was intriguing.
I am frustrated with China at this point for its brutalization of Tibet and its destruction of that environment, but nonetheless was intrigued.
I shouldn’t have bothered. It’s fairly fat – over 300 pages – and is full of stories of one war after another, often told from the point of view of the administrator of the area. The time span runs from 2700 bce to 1911 ce. It should be fascinating, and it’s not. The stories are written or translated in a particularly crass way, often smart alecky in tone.
And the author’s reflections (‘Comments’ in bold type) are the main part of the problem, it seems to me. They are all over the lot – simply a bunch of contradictory opinions. No reflection did I find, no soul searching, no meaning, no wisdom.
This could have been a good book. Having read the author’s history, growing up in the Cultural Revolution, there may be good reason as to why this is not a good book. I would rather read the book of his anger, frustration, powerless watching his family, friends and teachers being abused and destroyed. That would be a more honest and focused book, I expect. This one is not.