Saturday 20 April 2024

Book Review: South Korea: The Price of Efficiency and Sucess by John Gonzalez and Lee Young (Non-Fiction)

South Korea: The Price of Efficiency and Success
John Gonzalez and Lee Young
24 March 2024
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley

In South Korea: The Price of Efficiency and Success, second edition, authors John Gonzalez and Young Lee combine their educational training and professional experiences to look behind the public face of South Korea. Through stories, anecdotes, and hard evidence, they capture Koreans being themselves without the glamour and glitz of K-pop, K-beauty, and K-drama. They examine the conditions, behavioral patterns, and cultural values that helped lift the country from the ashes after the Korean War to the international stage as the fifth-largest economy in Asia and 13th in the world. Their analysis includes the price Koreans have paid for the country's astonishing achievements and the existing social inequality. In the current edition, the authors have thoroughly revised and updated the narrative, incorporating a discussion of recent significant events, such as the deadly 2022 Itaewon crowd crush.


South Korean: The Price of Efficiency and Success was easy but interesting non-fiction reading. Most of the information contained within its chapters I was already well aware of, but it was still good to read the authors' interpretations and comments. For those fascinated by Korea and wanting to know more about its socioeconomic background, this book would be well worth a read. I thought the authors struck a good balance between positive and negative commentary, making their narrative seem fair and honest, neither prejudiced for or against but rather objective throughout. I am giving it four stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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