I like it when books combine different styles – like travel stories and professional insights, for instance on place brands. Even more so when written by a master writer, traveller and storyteller – Singaporean author and brand advisor (Rick) Buck Song Koh.
Buck Song’s latest book, Around the World in 68 Days – Place Brands Through a Traveller’s Eyes, reached me just when I was recovering from Pneumonia – perfect timing and a great escape to fascinating places and cultures. Here’s how the publisher describes the book (very aptly):
Around The World In 68 Days is a travelogue with a big difference – not about how to get there, what to see or where to dine, but instead, seeking to glean insights into the meaning of life and the true nature of human societies, using the lens of the brand attributes of each territory to look more clearly into the kaleidoscope of humanity. In a time of a global pandemic, this is also a type of memoir, a tribute to travel, of a pre-Covid-19 world. This is like a 68-day extravaganza of ichigo ichie, the Japanese concept of cherishing every worthwhile
Singaporean writer Koh Buck Song – author and editor of more than 30 books – distils the quintessential brand essence of very different cultures in 13 countries across four continents. He draws from his experience and perspectives as a country brand adviser, advocate of liveable and sustainable cities, and commentator on society and public policy.
Koh, also a poet and artist, opens each chapter with his own haiga artwork of a haiku poem with an ink sketch. These artworks complement this book’s effort to capture and interpret shared humanity across the globe – what makes each of us unique, what we share, and how, in the end, perhaps we’re all really chasing ultimately similar dreams.
I found Around the World in 68 Days very rich in details about locations and cultures, which makes it a great read not just for the travel aficionados and globetrotters among us, but also those with a healthy interest in the mysteries and workings of other countries and cultures: their identities and brand reputation.
My recommended summer reading for you.
Another must read from Buck Song is his book on nation branding and Singapore.