Book Review: How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

If there’s any genre that the startup community collectively loves, it’s a self-help book, whether it be about negotiation or growth hacking. I am more of a fiction lover, so if I were to read any self-help book, Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia seemed like the right place to start. Set in an unnamed country in the developing world–although it is generally assumed to be the author’s home country, Pakistan–the novel follows a boy’s journey from village to city, poverty to business savvy, business savvy to wealth, and wealth to the conclusion that life is better experienced without dependency on material wealth. 

The book is a lesser-known work from Booker Prize-nominated Hamid and was largely met with critical praise, but it was hard to enjoy for several reasons. Sweeping novels that encompass lifetimes are very rarely done right and the novel uses second-person point-of-view (“You are a door to an existence she does not desire”) to an interesting, but exhausting effect. 

Aside from this literary feature, as a member of the Indian diaspora–a country with many similarities, and indeed many ties to Pakistan–the repeated references to slum life in urban Asia had an unpleasantly commercialized feel to them. But readers saw value in this material, with The Guardian praising Hamid’s descriptions of “stomach-churning depths of squalor.” However, the clinical tone and second-person POV leave little room for sensitivity or emotion. What began as a clever way of repurposing the self-help tone soon becomes a vehicle for the author to baldly interject details about poverty, as though included for shock value. 

Hamid’s novel is still redeemable by virtue of being a different kind of read. It may not have real insight to offer in terms of getting filthy rich, but for those with similar ambitions, at the very least, it can provide a mental break away from the grind. –NB

penguinrandomhouse.com

Cover art courtesy of Penguin Random House.

Photo by marqquin on Unsplash

SHARE THIS STORY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

RELATED POSTS

Microsoft-backed Builder.ai Secures Over US$250 Million in Series D Funding

Microsoft-backed Builder.ai Secures Over US$250 Million in Series D Funding

London-based artificial intelligence (AI)-powered composable software platform Builder.ai has raised a significant investment of over US$250 million in Series D funding. Led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the funding round brings the total amount raised by the company to over US$450 million, resulting in a valuation increase of up to 1.8x.

Essential Gaming Slang Terms for True Gamers

Essential Gaming Slang Terms for True Gamers

Gaming is not just a hobby; it’s a culture with its own unique language. Understanding slang and jargon is crucial for having an immersive experience and connecting with fellow gamers. From the acronyms that define player roles to the phrases that capture epic moments, mastering these slang terms is a must for every true gamer.

LinkedIn Launches Tools to Boost Job Seekers' Safety and Confidence

LinkedIn Launches Tools to Boost Job Seekers’ Safety and Confidence

Networking platform LinkedIn has introduced a range of tools to empower job seekers to confidently navigate their job search process while ensuring their safety and security. The latest updates include the implementation of verifications on job posts, enabling the display of verified information about job posters or their companies.

A Step-by-Step Guide

The Power of a Wikipedia Page for Your Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

The one thing that builds trust between your company and its potential customers is having its own Wikipedia page. It is the first thing that shows up when someone looks up your company (besides your website of course!) and gives potential customers all the information they might need about your business.

Top 5 Unique Pet Care Startups to Watch

From Diagnostics to Play Dates: Top 5 Unique Pet Care Startups to Watch

All pet owners out there understand the feeling of wanting to do whatever it takes to make their furry companions’ lives just a little bit more comfortable. It is perhaps that exact feeling that has made the average pet owner spend over US$1,300 on pet care a year. According to a 2021 survey conducted by the market research firm OnePoll, 52% of Americans spend more on their pets than they do on themselves each year.

Course5 Intelligence Gains US$55 Million Funding Boost

Course5 Intelligence Gains US$55 Million Funding Boost; Closes First Round Successfully with 360 ONE Asset’s Tech Fund

Analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions company Course5 Intelligence has recently announced its plans to raise a funding round of USD 55 million. The initial closing of the funding round was achieved through the participation of 360 ONE Asset Management Limited’s Tech Fund, which specializes in investing in promising technology companies. Leading the round, 360 ONE Asset invested US$28 million in Course5.