Specifically, I would love some help in understanding something that’s wonderful, but a bit mysterious: the astonishing reaction to the Legacy Project’s message in South Korea.
After the book on the Legacy Project, 30 Lessons for Living, was published, translations have come out in German, Chinese, and Japanese, among others. Everywhere, we’ve gotten great feedback about the elder wisdom portrayed in the book.
But nowhere has the interest been as overwhelming as in South Korea (where the title is 내가 알고 있는 걸 당신도 알게 된다면).
The book was published in South Korea (with the cool cover, above) one year ago. It has been on the South Korean bestseller list since then (right now it’s #4) and has sold over 160,000 copies. On a site that publishes book reviews (similar, I gather, to Goodreads), it is one of the most reviewed self-help books – and mostly with top scores.
So I would love to know: Why has 30 Lessons for Living been such a hit in South Korea?
With the help of a Korean-speaking colleague, I explored the media and blog attention to the book, which gave ideas like these:
- Readers in their 30’s and 40’s expressed how the book helped them to think about their current concerns, like parenting, marriage, and fear of getting old.
- Historically, young South Koreans were supposed to respect elders, but this attitude is being replaced with views of the older generation as old-fashioned and outdated.
- The book appealed to nostalgia for times when there were stronger links between the generations in South Korea.
- The book included questions that the readers wanted to ask their own parents and grand parents.
These reasons all seem plausible, but still don’t seem to explain entirely why 30 Lessons for Living has resonated so strongly with South Korean readers.
Any ideas out there? If so, please share them as comments!