Daewoo founder seeks to inspire youth

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.

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

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 among 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.

Source: VNS

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