Age of Ambition

This book is so good. If you have any interest in what’s happening in China, you should definitely check it out. It profiles some influential characters in modern China and how they navigate the murky waters of an authoritarian state that is trying to reconcile its identity while subsets of the population find wild success and others live in relative poverty. There are so many great narratives and ideas crammed into this book.

My biggest takeaway is that modern China is a diverse population  full of people coping with the incredible pace of transformation from post-war communism to economic reform. The magnitude of the changes are astonishing, but a lot of old moral codes were thrown by the wayside along the way as people sought to get ahead. With government censorship, a lot of corruption and immoral behavior happened with a blind eye. Yet with social media and increasingly difficult to police subversions, more information is flowing and the Chinese population is becoming more skeptical about the accuracy of their media outlets. Participation of a political nature is becoming more prevalent.

In the last few decades, China has undergone growth unlike anyone has seen before. This book was a really great peek into the impact of tremendous economic growth on Chinese values and Chinese lives.