Henry Paulson’s Book: “Dealing with China”

Henry Paulson, Jr. has a new book titled “Dealing with China”. Is this a practical treatise on working with China?

Seventeen of the book’s twenty chapters are detailed descriptions of Mr. Paulson’s own personal history while working with Goldman Sachs, as US Treasury Secretary and with the Paulson Institute. It is an interesting personal story. However, the autobiographical review is not truly helpful for dealings with China.

A Wall Street Journal book review by Jeffrey Wasserstrom is quite accurate:
“…careful language that will not bother Chinese censors…Mr. Paulson is too soft on his “old friends,” including the man now in power, Xi Jinping.”

The Financial Times review by James Kynge is on target as well:
“…Paulson’s prescriptions all tend toward forging better relations with China by supporting what China wants…may win friends in Beijing but will be less popular among U.S. allies…such as Japan…the lessons…are…academic.”

These reactions are entirely understandable, leaving the reader to wonder what is clouding Mr. Paulson’s vision. His assessment of China consistently glosses over reality. While addressing the needs of the Chinese people, Mr. Paulson curiously concludes: “…they have made good on their vows.” Throughout this book, Paulson is clearly advocating on China’s behalf. He encourages a greater role for China internationally, including with the World Trade Organization. Paulson suggests: “We should… make concessions… to encourage China to take a more prominent role.”

In a Fox News’ interview with James Rosen discussing his book Mr. Paulson offered: “I would definitely not classify China as an enemy…they are a competitor.”

The FBI report in Matt Dean’s recent Fox News’ article raises doubt that China is simply a competitor: “China the most predominant economic espionage threat to US…the number of economic espionage investigations undertaken by the agency over the last year…a 53 percent increase…state-sanctioned corporate theft by China is at the core of the problem.”

Are China’s strategic ambitions hostile? Jingoistic? Its territorial claims as reported by the BBC’s Carrie Gracie and in the Financial Times book review have raised concerns in Taiwan and Japan.

Mr. Paulson is a successful and serious man. He is certainly not naïve. But his glowing praise of China’s economic and social progress, including suggesting a leading international role, raises sincere questions about his impartiality. This book was unfortunately a disappointment for those seeking constructive analytical insight.

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Reason I wrote my book “Learn to Whisper”

Click on this link for a more complete description of “Learn to Whisper”

The reason I wrote “Learn to Whisper”:

My conclusion after operating as a Turnaround Chief Executive Officer for more than twenty-five years is that the majority of this country’s top management is far from first-rate. In fact top management, particularly at the chief executive officer level, is at best average with a large number that can be rated mediocre. This lack of management competence has seen this country’s market leaders lose sizeable market share to foreign manufacturers able to export better quality and lower cost products to the USA. It has seen manufacturing and service operations unnecessarily moved to foreign countries. All of which has negatively affected the economy, severely damaged former blue-chip corporations and seen quality jobs lost.

It is quite common to discover that companies struggling with this inability to compete with foreign companies have been simply mismanaged. The once successful business deteriorated because of an incompetent chief executive officer and weak senior management

Why doesn’t this nation have first-rate management? Inadequate training. Chief executive officers and vice presidents learn “on the job”. A number get promoted based on personality, political connections and drive – not merit. They are not carefully screened for the potential to become successful at managing. For some all that is needed is a well-written resume, the right interviewing style and the inability of a new employer to accurately assess skills, performance and potential.

Compare this to the process doctors go through. From medical school to internship to residency to a senior role after years of education, experience and continuous training their progress and capabilities are constantly monitored even after they become senior in the profession. Generals and Admirals go through a similar protocol. They must prove themselves in low-level assignments before they are judged qualified for senior positions. Unqualified applicants in both professions are culled out. What can be done to improve management competence? Education, on-the-job training and job performance monitoring. My book will educate people on the subject of managing. Its 101 management lessons are separated into the 17 subjects managers need to know.