The Birth of Korean Cool

The Birth of Korean Cool Cover

The Birth of Korean Cool

How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture

By Euny Hong

Picador USA, Paperback, 9781250045119, 267pp.

Publication Date: August 5, 2014



By now, everyone in the world knows the song "Gangnam Style" and Psy, an instantly recognizable star. But the song's international popularity is no passing fad. "Gangnam Style" is only one tool in South Korea's extraordinarily elaborate and effective strategy to become a major world superpower by first becoming the world's number one pop culture exporter.

As a child, Euny Hong moved from America to the Gangnam neighbourhood in Seoul. She was a witness to the most accelerated part of South Korea's economic development, during which time it leapfrogged from third-world military dictatorship to first-world liberal democracy on the cutting edge of global technology.

Euny Hong recounts how South Korea vaulted itself into the twenty-first century, becoming a global leader in business, technology, education, and pop culture. Featuring lively, in-depth reporting and numerous interviews with Koreans working in all areas of government and society, "The Birth of Korean Cool "reveals how a really uncool country became cool, and how a nation that once banned miniskirts, long hair on men, and rock n' roll could come to mass produce boy bands, soap operas, and the world's most important smart phone.

About the Author
Euny Hong is a journalist and author with international experience in web, print, and television news. Her work has appeared in the "New York Times," "Washington Post," "Wall Street Journal Europe," "International Herald Tribune," "New Republic," "Boston Globe," and "The Forward." She is the author of one previous book, the novel "Kept: A Comedy of Sex and Manners. "She is fluent in English, French, German, and Korean.

Praise For The Birth of Korean Cool

“Full of insight and shocking facts, The Birth Of Korean Cool is a hilarious, gutsy, eye-opening account of Korean drive and success. I couldn't put it down. Euny Hong is a force of nature.”—Amy Chua, Yale Law Professor and author of The Triple Package and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

“If you’re not fascinated by Korea yet, you damn well should be. The most innovative country on earth deserves a hilarious and poignant account on the order of Euny Hong’s The Birth of Korean Cool. Her phat beats got Gangam Style and then some.”—Gary Shteyngart

“A funny, iconoclastic Korean-American journalist and author turns her skewering lens on her own culture….Hong gives a thoughtful, self-deprecating and sly analysis…A pleasing mix of Margaret Cho, Sarah Vowell and a pinch of Cory Doctorow.”—Kirkus Reviews