Straits Times Press (Part of Focus Publishing Limited)

 1.  Fifty Secrets of Singapore’s Success

Tommy Koh (Ed)

Singapore has evolved from a developing country to a developed one, in only a few short decades. Its gross domestic product per capita has soared from just US$517 (S$697) in 1965, to US$64,582 (S$87,128) in 2018.

Impressed, visiting university students from Mexico and the United States, in early 2019, asked the city state’s Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh for its secret of success.

His reply: there was not a single secret but many, which he would consider curating a new book on.

The result: Fifty Secrets of Singapore’s Success.

The collection of 50 essays, written by leaders and experts in their fields, sheds light on how the small state has scored significant success in not only economics but also eight other areas.

Among other things, Singapore is one of the world’s least corrupt countries, has one of the highest home ownership rates worldwide — of more than 90 per cent — and has world-class schools, healthcare and environments.

Singapore has also been a good global citizen. It has played a significant role in the development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the United Nations (UN), Singapore has played a leadership role in the negotiations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (also known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation) and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.


2.  Diplomacy: The Singapore Experience (2nd Ed)

S Jayakumar

In this updated book, viewed by many as a definitive guide to Singapore-style diplomacy, former minister, diplomat and law dean S Jayakumar outlines the principles and norms that form the bedrock of Singapore’s foreign policy, shaped by more than five decades of hard-earned experience of ministers and officials. Professor Jayakumar, who retired from politics as Senior Minister in 2011, illustrates these with his accounts of and reflections on milestones where he had been involved as either Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs or, much earlier, as Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN).

This second edition includes an overview and chapter updates of the tumultuous trends and developments in the 2010s that have made a significant impact on geopolitics and diplomacy, especially for small states such as Singapore.


3.  Money Smart

Lorna Tan

Like the best-selling Retire Smart: Financial Planning Made Easy — which sold 12,000 copies within a year — Money Smart is packed with information and insights into a range of personal finance topics such as retirement planning, investment, tax planning, financial planning, and consumer protection.

This compilation of the Lorna Tan’s articles published in the Invest section of The Sunday Times from January 2018 to May 2019 include:

    • Finding the right financial adviser
    • Funding your children’s education
    • Financial planning tips for millennials
    • 53 tips for better financial health
    • Stress-free investing (or at least, close to it)
    • Integrated Shield Plan riders: what you need to know
    • Stretching your dollar with a Supplementary Retirement Scheme account
    • Investor tips on Singapore Savings Bonds
    • Online investing: it pays to pause before you click

Written in an easy-to-understand way, this book is a good guide for anyone who wants to understand how to manage his or her finances better, from retirees and more seasoned investors to young people just entering the workforce.


4.  Think Wits Win: How to Use Sun Zi’s Art of War for Success

Soo Kok Leng

Why is Sun Zi’s Art of War still studied all over the world today? It’s because many great words of wisdom lie between its pages — ideas that are applicable in our business world today.

This book focuses on the power behind Sun Zi’s written word and his thoughts on dialectical thinking and ambidextrous strategic leadership. Centuries ago, these helped Sun Zi transform a weak army into a formidable force and he continuously achieved victory in an era of great Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA). Among the areas of warfare he studied and wrote about were leadership, strategy, terrain (地, Dì) and the weather (天, Tian).

In the VUCA marketplace of today, it also takes holistic and systemic approaches like dialectical thinking and ambidextrous leadership to make a difference. And just like the leaders of old, business leaders today also have to understand leadership, “terrain” i.e markets and industries, the “weather” i.e. trends and patterns of change, and more.

The author, who has years of experience as a corporate warrior in companies such as Hewlett-Packard and 3Com Technologies, shows how Sun Zi’s principles can help leaders learn about strategic capabilities, intelligence-gathering, being a first mover, rallying the troops and the use of deception — essentially, how to win without engaging in costly battles.

He also adds to the book numerous examples and analyses of the business strategies of companies, including Apple, HP and OSIM, which will interest the general reader, as well as diagrams and charts that will be particularly useful to business leaders.

Readers of this book will come away with invaluable insights into Sun Zi’s principles of warfare and the concepts of dialectical and ambidextrous thinking, and a clearer understanding of how these can be used in the modern marketplace to achieve success.


5.  A British Serial Killer in Singapore: A True Story

Tan Ooi Boon

It could happen to anyone.

You have just arrived at one of the safest cities in the world. As you are leaving the airport, a tall, dark and handsome stranger approaches you and asks for help.

As he is charming and friendly, you let your guard down and start to chat with him. Seeing that you are also travelling alone, he suggests staying in the same hotel and sharing a cab to save money. And why not? Good to have a new friend to watch out for you in a foreign land. However, those who said “yes” to the friendly stranger ended up dead hours later.

This is the true story of a man who went on a world tour to hunt his victims with a sinister skill.

Body parts murderer John Martin, who was trained in butchery, was the first serial killer to be convicted in Singapore.

His modus operandi was to first bash his victims with a hammer and then cut up their bodies at the joints with a small knife.

He could have gone scot-free but for underestimating the mettle of his foe — the Singapore Police Force.

Also included is an epilogue where the author re-imagines how a similar case would pan out if it happens today.


6.  You Are Good Enough!

Karl Larowe & Ravi Vig

The feeling of being burnt-out and exhausted, and of struggling endlessly to find a balance between family, work and other commitments is common. Many caught in this chase to succeed at all costs end up feeling like failures — that they are just not good enough.

The authors of You Are Good Enough! are determined to help the defeated feel empowered again.

Addressing the reader directly, the book covers and discusses concepts and issues including:

    • The idea of “Enoughless”: The pervasive, persistent and corrosive sense of not feeling good enough
    • Its opposite, “Enoughness”: Believing that who you are, right now, is good enough
    • Identifying and recognising how old, outdated life scripts may be keeping you trapped in anxious fatigue and toxic negativity
    • Experiencing a shift of perception from the image of who you thought you were supposed to be (your counterfeit self) to the honest reality of your authentic self
    • Taking ownership of your emotions and exploring how to become the person you naturally, truly are

The book has four sections: Enoughless; The Opportunity Cost of Enoughless; Transformation to Enoughness; and Experiencing Enoughness. Chapters include “Anxious Fatigue”, “Loss of Purpose” and “Roadmap to Enoughness”, and real-life examples based on case studies are given throughout. The ultimate aim is for readers to embark on a “hero’s journey” in their hearts and minds, find and embrace their authentic selves, and from then on re-discover and embrace their inherent worthiness.


7.  Fun Sized Singapore Tidbits

Lee Chee Chew

Veteran Singaporean cartoonist Lee Chee Chew is back, with his sharp eye, sense of irony, unbeatable humour and wicked pen. This compilation of close to 200 comic strips brings together among the best of his cartoons published in The Straits Times over several years.

With gentle mockery, his cartoons highlight the idiosyncrasies and unique aspects of Singapore living as well as the contemporary urban lifestyle that will be recognisable to anyone, Singaporean or not — from being kiasu to beating the heat, and from Internet access in the office to mobile phone use on MRT trains. The book is divided into 21 topics including education, shopping and transport.

The light humour and colourful, recognisable characters make this an instantly perfect gift for anyone young or old — something to put your feet up with during this holiday period, and guaranteed to have you chuckling.


8.  Mastering English with the Straits Times: The Upper Primary Edition, 2nd Edition

The Straits Times School Team

This is the second edition of Mastering English with The Straits Times: The Upper Primary Edition. Like the first edition, launched in 2017, it is based on the latest Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) format. It is aligned with the English syllabus issued by the Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Produced by The Straits Time Schools team, it contains guided practice and sound tips to help pupils prepare for the various components in the examinations. With The Straits Times articles and photographs, pupils will be able to work on authentic texts and find themselves better equipped to manage the PSLE English examinations.

The first edition of the book sold more than 12,900 copies.


9.  Mastering English with the Straits Times: The Secondary Edition, 2nd Edition

The Straits Times School Team

This is the second edition of Mastering English with The Straits Times: The Secondary Edition. Like the first edition, launched in 2017, it is based on the latest O-level English examination format and is aligned with the English syllabus issued by the Ministry of Education, Singapore.

With completely new content, it provides more of what the first edition was valued for – excellent guided practice, The Straits Times articles and photographs, and sound tips, to help students prepare for and be better equipped to manage the various components in the O-level English examinations.

The first edition of Mastering English with The Straits Times: The Secondary Edition won the Best Education Title award at the Singapore Book Awards in 2018.

It has, to date, sold more than 12,900 copies.


10.  Beverly and the Peranakan Feast

Debra Ann Francisco

The story starts when a little girl called Beverly comes across her mother weeping in the kitchen because a Nyonya dish she is trying to cook is not coming out right. Beverly telephones her grandmother and asks her to come over to help. Together, the three of them cook up a number of special dishes, such as pong tauhu (meatball soup), for a party. Along the way, Beverly learns more about special Peranakan dishes, some traditional tools used, such as the batu lesong (mortar and pestle), and traditions such as the tok panjang, or a sumptuous Peranakan feast.

About the series

This is one of five titles in an illustrated heritage cookbook series that aims to inspire children to discover more about the traditional dishes of the various ethnic groups in Singapore, through imaginative storylines involving kids learning about food and cooking for themselves.

The other titles in this series are:

    • Emma and the Eurasian Potluck
    • Hafiz and the Raya Recipes
    • Mei Lin and the Reunion Dinner
    • Vinod and the Deepavali Dishes

The books are beautifully illustrated, with intricate and detailed hand-drawn and hand-painted artwork. Scenes are vividly brought to life, and local settings and items, from a batik tablecloth to bustling Little India, are rendered in delightful detail, making it easy for young readers to understand in a glance the meaning of certain local terms used in the book. The essential ingredients, herbs and spices of each cuisine are also woven into the illustrations.

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