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Advice from a successful elder

Update: April, 11/2015 - 12:00

One of the most important businessmen in the world has written a book.

It is filled with ideas and advice about how younger people can live successful lives.

He is from South Korea.

People his age made their country the wealthy place it is today.

Youth rules: author of the book It's a Big World and There's Lots to Be Done, Kim Woo-choong, at a discussion with students at the National Economic University.
Youth rules: author of the book It's a Big World and There's Lots to Be Done, Kim Woo-choong, at a discussion with students at the National Economic University. - VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — As you get older, you spend hours regretting each minute you wasted in your youth, which flies by.

With this statement, founder of South Korea's Daewoo Group, Kim Woo-choong, began his meeting with students at the National Economic University on Friday, on the occasion of his book, It's a Big World and There's Lots to Be Done, being reprinted in Viet Nam.

First published in 1989, the book is a compendium of the lessons and wisdom of his generation, which was driven by selfless dedication in pursuit of prosperity.

Many years ago, the book had been translated into Vietnamese from an English version. Yet it was only recently that it was translated from its original version and republished, with a preface written by the author for Vietnamese readers.

Kim wrote the book with the expectation that his generation would be the last one in a still-developing South Korea and that his "beloved young generations" could become the first generation living in a developed South Korea.

"Young people cannot afford to remain complacent in the comfort of the achievements of past generations, but must strive to create a better future themselves," he said.

"My strong desire to deliver the collective lessons and wisdom of my generation to the next culminated in my compiling the book," he explained.

"My conviction that the world is big and that there is much to do, remains strong. Regardless of where you're born, whether in Korea or Viet Nam, you must remind yourselves that the world is ultimately yours to rule."

"I found that Vietnamese students are smart and creative," he remarked.

"After graduating, you should spend a decade to learn more, to practise what you learned, to experiment, and to admit failures."

"In the past, people either retired at the age of 60, or became sick, or died. But now, we can work at the age of 70 and 80, and even when we're older. So don't be afraid. You have so much time to learn, to work, to fail and to try again."

Furthermore, a student from the Ha Noi University of Science and Technology, Nguyen Hai Phong, pointed out that he learned a lot from reading the book.

"Earlier, I thought people like Kim had a difficult childhood and youth, and that these hardships had been their motivation to succeed," he noted.

"I wonder where the youth today, who are content with all conveniences at their disposal, can find motivation."

"I now understand that each period of history brings us challenges and opportunities, difficulties and simplicity. But what matters are the choices we make."

The book became the fastest million-seller record in the Guinness Book of Records, reflecting the overwhelming popularity and support the author garnered from young readers who aspire to become pioneers of the next generation.

As many as 1.67 million copies of the book were sold. Until now, it has been translated into 17 languages and published in 23 countries.

At the young age of 30, Kim founded Daewoo and created the first and most vibrant export-driven business in South Korea.

His success in leading the nation out of the cradle of its economic infancy and in pioneering a new frontier of global businesses, soon put him in the rank of the most respected business leaders in his country.

Kim said that his relationship with Viet Nam spanned over two distinct periods, each decades apart from the other. The first time in South Viet Nam, he was on his way to England to study. With garment samples he acquired in Viet Nam, he started his new business, gave up studying, and founded Daewoo.

Years later, when Viet Nam embraced a market economy, he was the first to begin establishing a large-scale cooperative business relationship in the country.

In addition, he launched a programme that has cultivated global business leaders for the last five years. He would now like to invite Vietnamese students to join the programme, as well.

"Many people encouraged me, stating that my book can give valuable advice to young people. If this is true, I would like to donate copies of the book to school libraries," he said. — VNS

 

GLOSSARY

 

As you get older, you spend hours regretting each minute you wasted in your youth, which flies by.

To regret something means to feel sad about something you did, or did not do.

With this statement, founder of South Korea's Daewoo Group, Kim Woo-choong, began his meeting with students at the National Economic University on Friday, on the occasion of his book, It's a Big World and There's Lots to Be Done, being reprinted in Viet Nam.

The founder of a business is the person who started it.

First published in 1989, the book is a compendium of the lessons and wisdom of his generation, which was driven by selfless dedication in pursuit of prosperity.

A compendium is a collection of things that are similar to one another.

Your grandparents are one generation; your parents and aunts and uncles are another; you and your brothers and sisters are yet another. Your children are, or will be yet another generation too.

Selfless dedication in pursuit of prosperity means making all the things that give you pleasure less important because you are trying so hard to do well in life.

Yet it was only recently that it was translated from its original version and republished, with a preface written by the author for Vietnamese readers.

The preface of a book is its first couple of pages that are written to introduce the book rather than to be part of the main book.

"Young people cannot afford to remain complacent in the comfort of the achievements of past generations, but must strive to create a better future themselves," he said.

To be complacent means to feel what you have done is good enough, even if it is not.

"My strong desire to deliver the collective lessons and wisdom of my generation to the next culminated in my compiling the book," he explained.

A desire is a wish.

Kim Woo-choong's desire to tell things to the next generation was always inside him, becoming stronger and stronger. Then it culminated -- or reached a point -- and at that point he put all sorts of information together in a book.

To compile a book means to put together a book.

"My conviction that the world is big and that there is much to do, remains strong. Regardless of where you're born, whether in Korea or Viet Nam, you must remind yourselves that the world is ultimately yours to rule."

A conviction means a very strong belief.

"I found that Vietnamese students are smart and creative," he remarked.

To be creative means to be able to make something from your imagination.

The book became the fastest million-seller record in the Guinness Book of Records, reflecting the overwhelming popularity and support the author garnered from young readers who aspire to become pioneers of the next generation.

Pioneers are people who begin new things.

His success in leading the nation out of the cradle of its economic infancy and in pioneering a new frontier of global businesses, soon put him in the rank of  the most respected business leaders in his country.

When South Korea was in the cradle of its economic infancy, it was still a young country and not a strong economic power. It was rather like a baby in its cradle, which is very different to what the country is today.

Kim said that his relationship with Viet Nam spanned over two distinct periods, each decades apart from the other.

Spanned means stretched.

Years later, when Viet Nam embraced a market economy, he was the first to begin establishing a large-scale cooperative business relationship in the country.

By embracing a market economy, Viet Nam decided to allow its economy to be run by market forces. Market forces are what make people do business with one another, based on supplying what people want and are willing to pay for.

Cooperative means working together.

"If this is true, I would like to donate copies of the book to school libraries," he said.

 

To donate means to give.

 

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

 

1. Kim Woo-choong started North Korea's Daewoo Group.

2. Kim Woo-choong's book has been translated into 71 languages and published in 32 countries.

3. Kim Woo-choong was only 30 years old when he started Daewoo.

4. Viet Nam's National Economic University is in Ha Noi.

5. Kim Woo-choong believes it is great that people live long enough to work longer than people could in days gone by.

 

 

 

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2015














































 

 

 1. True; 2. False; 3. True; 4. True; 5. True.

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