ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Review: Mohsin Hamid's 'How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia'

Updated on March 2, 2017
Michael Ttappous profile image

Michael has been an online freelancer and writer for many years and loves discovering and sharing about new experiences and opportunities.

In much the same way that Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee manages with his Dusklandsnovel, Mohsin Hamid brings to life a fictional world with strong roots in reality. While Coetzee tells us about “The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee” (a ‘memoir’ of an 18-century South African colonialist) and focuses on the underlying horrors behind treating human beings as inferior species, Hamid shows us the side of the 21st century that achieves almost the same effect.

At its core, Filthy Rich is about you. As you experience Coetzee’s bloodlust and murderous drive, so too shall you experience Hamid’s—or your—drive towards escaping the shackles of your past and progressing towards wealth. The main difference separating these two books, and what makes Hamid such a notable name, is his writing style. You feel the pain and pleasure of your first love; you feel the loss of your parents and siblings; you feel the need to change your future. You experience aspects of your own life through his writing.

Indeed, whether or not you were born in (what we assume is) Pakistan, Hamid makes you a reluctant participant in a narrative that resonates across multiple levels. Although rife with moments of laughter and discomfort and disagreement, the book strikes at the heart of larger generational and cultural issues; of breaking away from what our parents had to go through, from what our siblings have to go through, and to be the one to break the chain. Filthy Rich is an embodiment of the life struggle experienced by the majority of people around the world: becoming a better version of our parents. And Hamid guides you in the form of ‘self-help.’

With the ultimate goal of accumulating wealth, he instructs to avoid many of the things that make us human and to undertake many of the actions that are not readily available to people; escaping the village, obtaining an education, and being born as the third son being some of them. Yet, even with such predestined successes, “there [is] no hiding from the fact that you [are] the son of a servant” (59), and try as you might it is difficult to break that stigma.

Indeed, Hamid is representative of larger cultural setbacks that afflict many in Asian countries. Whether it is discrimination, powerlessness, bribery, or clan-related nepotism, he portrays the failures of larger society in the journey of the individual. And while he guides that we should join larger organizations for power and learn from established masters, within such a system where we are all but ants in the eyes of the state, our pathway has become about justifying actions; about doing everything we can to make wealth, even if it means treating humans as “biological machines that must be bent to your will” (119).

And as you fulfil goals the likes of selling expired products and bottling boiled water in used bottles, the family you began with takes up less and less of your attention. Deaths and losses weigh heavy on you—and so does the desire for your first love—but the focus is on the fact that for your own son, “the probability of his early death has, through your attainments, been reduced dramatically” (146). This is what shows Hamid’s hand and demonstrates his implicit question of: ‘what happens to the first son of the third son?’

Ultimately, we are but the result of our parents’ opportunities. Even Hamid himself admits that his book will fail to live up to its title. Too many are predestined to not being the 3rd son of successive 3rd sons, and Filthy Rich is the perfect outline of the type of journey those people will take in areas the likes of Pakistan. It may not guide you to riches, but the book is a hell of a guide for the challenge against fate of becoming self-actualized versions of ourselves. And Hamid himself has a phrase that suits this journey perfectly: “You call. The hand is yours. Chance, really” (225). You were born and achieved success. Congratulations. How many didn’t?

Have you read Mohsin Hamid's 'How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia'?

See results

Photo Credits:

  1. Sunset Noir Shanghai, China via photopin(license);
  2. Matiluba time to sleep via photopin (license);
  3. chimothy27 Shadow Boy via photopin (license).

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)