Through his work, What Living in the East Teaches Us about Living in the West, Reid creates a wide and diverse platform to share his insight on the disciplines of contemporary Islam and Confucius religions. The two faiths are mirrored as fundamental social segments of humanity, whose purpose is pertinent to the livelihood of all human race, hence the interrelationship among the different faiths embraced from around the world (Reid, 2000). The author of makes an argument that Confucianism has been an integral part of the Asian society. Furthermore, his assertions are inclined toward creating an impression that both Islam and Confucius faiths have permeated the whole world, which he finds pertinent to the most rapidly developing communities of the world. Reid portrays Asia as a continent whose social and cultural command will dominate the twenty-first century. Furthermore, through his arguments, his audience is capable of appreciating the fact that the Chines` and the Japanese` influence across the planet is irresistibly conspicuous. The book paints a picture that the west has a lot to emulate from Asia. The education systems, for instance, the author portrays the academic arena of the east and Asia as of a high class category relative to the west. The author also touches on the issue of security and safety. He confirms beyond doubt that Asia is more secure than the west, specifically the US, where most lives are lost to social conflicts, whether within or from outside the country (Yong Huang, 2011). Therefore, other than analyzing the question of Confucianism, the author makes great exploits into examining the globalization of the Asian culture, touching on socio-political, cultural, and economic disciplines.

The faith and the traditions elaborated by the author are broad and compelling. The practices are implemented into one’s life, and the principals assimilated as argued out, for instance into the American culture, then the eventuality will be a totally edified and positively changed society.  The book covers wide subjects and primarily remains to be an anecdotal commentary (Reid, 2000). The author skillfully analyses the socio-political, economic, and cultural aspects of both the west and Asia. Furthermore, the historical, religious, and philosophical concepts are covered in details. The author makes the text a global print, whose relevance towers above geographical boundaries of continents, to excellently cover the global communities in meaning and importance.  The faith of Confucius teaches instrumental precepts. The work by Reid is made exemplary and of ease to comprehend, making it convenient for a wider audience (Reid, 2000).  The content can be easily covered, yet the reader is capable of absorbing so much at a single reading. Therefore, the author has primarily sought to engage his audience as the second party, without much need for a secondary research.

The beliefs and the aspirations of the Asian communities are aired out in the book; hence through these tenets Reid is capable of creating such a strategic ethos.  How the Confucian ethos is expressed remains fundamentally paramount, citing out the Japanese culture as one of the most indispensable social characteristics of the Asian communities (Yong Huang, 2011).  A good example is the clear outline of the five virtues of the Japanese as highlighted by the author, which include; Hsin, Jen, Chih, Li, and Yi. The five virtues are pronounced as cardinal avenues that lead to righteousness, and that one who embraces the same is on their way to heaven. Nobody follows the teachings of Confucianism without fully adhering to the virtues. Jen, one of the virtues, implies that one remains polite and embraces goodwill even in trying times, and has generosity as well as politeness toward others. Yi on the other hand refers to the dignity one must have for their respective responsibilities, whether as parents or professionals in other segments of duty for the sake of humanity (Yong Huang, 2011). Li is a virtue that maintains on the need to exercising propriety, whereby the inward character is manifested in the physical benefits of others. Finally, Hsin implies the supernatural wisdom an individual portrays, as well as embracing faithfulness and trustworthiness. As such, Confucius maintained on the need for individuals examining themselves on a path that led to edifications gradually, whose eventuality would lead to eternal peace in heaven. Therefore, the respect for oneself, others, and the environment are primary to the Asian virtues.

Reid is capable of sharing the Asian teachings of Confucius to his audience. The lessons the author outlines can be used in many ways to engage and eventually compel the improvements in the ethical and moral values of individuals as well as the culture of a wider society. The author easily prevails to sell his ideas and ideologies because he embraces a multifaceted approach. The book is written from a western point of view, yet he strikes a bipartisan ground by talking about the Asian culture (Reid, 2000). By so doing, everybody becomes party to the whole course. The author centralizes the importance of globalization. He is satisfied that both the western and the Asian cultures have been amalgamated to bring out a new culture. Therefore, every individual has been blended uniquely. He asserts that the whole society cannot be reflected in one person, and hence the need to appreciating that learning and embracing personalities that are termed admirable and of upright moral ethics should be personalized, so that at the end of it all everybody, at a personal level, is said to be civilized. On the other hand, Reid argues that the good Asian education, strong family setups, proper community orientations as well as personal safeties are fruits of Confucianism, hence the need to embracing the culture. The author is capable of giving a clear understanding that history, statistics, anecdotal commentary, and reality can be intertwined together to give a vivid image of life, and hence the need to embracing Confucianism for better personalities. Indeed, diversity is such a cardinal principal in his arguments, which teaches his audience that regardless of age, gender, race, nationality or any other human variant, everybody matters.

The author creates a controversial scenario when he argues that he is a citizen of the west, while analyzing the culture of Asia and the east, whose primary values he was taught in childhood. Reid is unbiased enough though, to give a fair share of the weaknesses and the strengths of the Asian culture. He argues that Asia, just like any other continent, it too has its dark side. Corruption is one of the negative effects. Public funds are lost and accountability is never of essence in most Asian countries (Yong Huang, 2011). Furthermore, he outlines that democracy is a weak institution in Asia. In most cases, the people do not have the voice in decision making, despite the arguments that power belongs to the people. Human rights as well are not embraced as specified in the constitutions of respective countries. This compromises the independence and the freedoms of the Asian people. He as well indicates the lack of the freedom of expression for the press, as some of the privileges are infringed on by the states. Nevertheless, the advantage is that the author appreciates that the weaknesses presented by the Asian governments are not the values of Confucian. He admits that even though the systems have deteriorated, there is still hope for change, even for the rest of the world, as the ethical values can neither change nor get expired to lose meaning across generations (Reid, 2000).

The book may lead individuals to independently gravitate on social, political, academic, or criminal issues. This is because the analysis of cultural social, and economic matters by the author in a multifaceted approach, unleashing both the gains and losses of every Asian and western ideology. Therefore, across the book, Reid establishes a creative way to capture the thoughts of every reader, and takes them along a journey, whose trajectory curves toward leaving everybody with an irresistible option to pursue as a result, depending on their primary interests (Yu, 1998). For instance, Reid paints a picture that Asia uses the media to mirror the west negatively, especially America. The US is characterized with a people full of selfishness, violent, chaotic, materialistic, and dangerous, as well as of no spiritual harmony. The approach by the Asian media as such makes the west appear as a culture of impunity, hence the safest way to consolidate the Asian beliefs and power. Therefore, most Asian people choose not to compromise their cultural and spiritual harmony like the west, and rather suffer a loss of the freedoms necessary and counted as basic for humanity. Therefore, since America has been made as a scapegoat and stereotyped in the east, the Asian leaders rationalize and justify their social problems by condemning the west, especially the US (Yu, 1998). Therefore, the Asian media has assured the east that their culture and moral values are pristine, and that every contamination is brought in by the west, consequently, any problem witnessed in the Asian socio-political systems will be termed as the problems caused by America.


Reid, T. R. (2000). Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West. the University of Michigan: Random House, essay samples, 1999.

Yong Huang. (2011). Can virtue be taught and how? Confucius on the paradox of moral education. Journal of Moral Education, 40(2), 141–159.

Yu, J. (1998). Virtue: Confucius and Aristotle. Philosophy East and West, 48(2), 323.