Few groups are more secretive than the Asian “godfathers,” the tiny group of obscenely wealthy businessmen who control the economic fates of Singapore
, Hong Kong
, and the Philippines
. Mysterious, shrewd, and ruthless, these tycoons represented eight of the twenty-five wealthiest people on the planet in the 1990s and they continue to command multibillion-dollar personal fortunes, controlling everything from banking and real estate to shipping and gamblingyet their names would not be familiar to regular readers of The Wall Street Journal
Who are they and how do they do it? That is the question Joe Studwell, author of the acclaimed book The China Dream,
answers in this incisive behindthe- scenes exploration of the outsize figures behind the veil. Studwell has spent fifteen years as a reporter in the region and uses his unprecedented access to debunk one myth after another while simultaneously painting intimate and revealing portraits of the godfatherswho they really are and how they make, build, and maintain their fortunes. He also examines the political and economic environments in which the godfathers operate, which are remarkably similar to the ones exploited by turn-of-the-century American tycoons. Studwell also explains how the region’s political choicesand not the godfatherswill determine if Southeast Asian countries move toward first-world status or continue to circle, Latin Americanlike, in the purgatory of underdevelopment. Asian Godfathers
is an explosive book that lifts the curtain on a world of staggering secrecy and hypocrisy and revealsfor the first timewho the leaders of one of the world’s most important and tumultuous markets really are, how they got to the top, and how they keep themselves there.