Saturday, November 5, 2016

Seoul man

Seoul Man: a memoir of cars, culture, crisis, and unexpected hilarity inside a Korean corporate titan / Frank Ahrens 336 pgs.

Frank Ahrens was a happy journalist bachelor when love struck.  In the span of a few months, he got married, changed jobs and moved across the world to Seoul, Korea.  That is a LOT of change.  This memoir talks a lot about his new job in the P.R. department of Hyundai motors and the differences in culture between Korea and the United States.  Frank had always been a journalist so P.R., the auto industry and corporate life were new to him as was Korea.  Some of the insights into the Korean rise to a formidable economic power are excellent.  Stories about the auto industry and Hyundai's goals to move up to a more respected position in the industry were also interesting.  Korea is a country that has undergone a lot of change in a generation.  Frank's personal stories of his life in Korea and the shelter given to the normal ex-pat struggles by living on a U. S. military base are insightful.  At some point, however, this book seems to veer off into the personal story about how fatherhood makes you grow up (even at 49) and begins to focus on the importance of Christian belief in the author's life.  That is all fine but is not mentioned in any of the marketing of this book.  I think the book suffered from a lack of focus or maybe I'm just not amazed to hear that having a child changes your life when I thought I was reading about cars and culture.

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