[Books in brief] Selling sickness and moreThis book will make you sick
30 years ago, in Fortune magazine, the then-CEO of Merck said that he wanted his company to become like a producer of chewing gum, selling drugs to healthy people. Now comes a Korean translation of a controversial book that suggests Merck and others have fulifiled his wish. Ray Moynihan’s “Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All into Patients” (Alma Publishing) comes from an author who is a prominent medical journalist. The book suggests pharmaceutical companies conspire to produce profits. It delves into the various marketing strategies used by the medical industry (FDA included) to expand drug bills, using examples from recent cases. The book goes on to state how the industry has become a business selling fear. The book, which was translated by a Korean medical journalist Hong Hye-geol, explains how the exact same marketing strategies have found their way into the Korean medical industry. By Park Soo-mee
The virtue of hypocrisy
“The Night Before Windstorm” (Random House Korea) is a collection of essays in political criticism by Jeon Yeo-ok, a former spokeswoman for the Grand National Party, about the GNP, the government party and their supporters. The book, which comes in two parts, covers topics from Blue House press conferences to Roh’s handling of critical issues within the government administration.
The author, a former KBS reporter and the first female correspondent in Korea, is known for the emphatic way she criticizes the president. The book is also a critique of the political tradition in Korea, which she says is where “hypocrisy is a virtue and principles become the barriers.” The author also offers some thinly-veiled anecdotes about politicians. For example, she reveals how an assemblyman abbreviated as “A,” who has a good reputation as “the party’s young blood,” lives in “his liquor jug” and often plays golf even when his work is unfinished. By Park Soo-mee
King of Hangul finds a friend
In “Chojeong-ni Pyeonji (Letter from Chojeong town)” (Changbi publishing) author Bae Yu-an has used historical fact to create a charming children’s book with a touching plot that is also educational.
Historical documents say that King Sejong went to recuperate in Chojeong with aching eyes and head after creating the 14 consonants and 10 vowels of Hangul and fighting with those who opposed the new writing system.
The author’s imagination begins at this point. The king meets a boy who is worried about his sick father. The king is impressed with the way the boy takes care of his father and studies to reach his goals to become a “successful person.” The king teaches the little boy Hangul. Without knowing that the old man is the king, the two strike up a genuine and touching friendship. The publishers picked this book as the best children’s book they select regularly.
By Lee Min-a
Exercise the easy way
“One Day Fitness” (Random House Korea) is the latest book on dieting that seeks to capitalize on the popularity of year-end self-help books. The book features Oh Yoon-ah, a former race car model, and Kim Min-cheol, a wrestler-turned-fashion model, both decked out in their best and demonstrating the exercises they call “easy.” But don’t assume the advice in the book is no good because it features fancy models. The two people are actually quite delightful guides and offer simple reminders that calories can be burnt while watching television, sitting at your desk or commuting to work. The authors say we should lift our heels repeatedly while sitting down or stretch our arms out the car window before driving. The problem is whether one can perform these routines when no one is looking.
By Lee Min-a