A statue of Zeng Guofan, the Qing Dynasty official who put down the Taiping Rebellion. (Photo/CNS)
The top five of the 10 most recommended books released by Beijing's central government are all history-related, our sister paper Want Daily reports, citing China's iRead Magazine.
The list is seen as a significant indicator as to what government officials are thinking and how the books that they read shape their political behavior, the report said.
One of the books, entitled Zeng Guofan, is a novelization of the life of an eminent Qing Dynasty scholar official during and after the Taiping Rebellion in the mid-19th century. Zeng is seen as an important historical figure, unusual in being praised by both Communist leader Mao Zedong and Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek for his ability in military and political affairs.
Ranked No. 1 on the list is Miserable Brilliance, a non-fiction account of the early history of the Chinese Communist Party, which has sold more than 1 million copies. The historical books on the list give people a glimpse into the lives of officials, as it shows that understanding the history of the Communist Party is a must for them, and key to enabling them to be promoted, iRead said.
A deputy director of a city government said that he has worked hard to read and study a book on economics recommended by the city's party secretary as it is significant to his superior, adding that it will help him understand the party secretary's view on economics.
The books recommended by government leaders are must-reads for any government official, with the book entitled The World Is Flat, also on the 10 most recommended book list and a personal favorite of China's vice premier Wang Yang, becoming a must-read for junior government officials. If a candidate for higher office is found not to have studied the book, it could affect their chances of promotion, iRead said.