Bui Kien Thanh is a well-known economic and financial expert in Viet Nam. At the age of 85, he has now still working with passion and enthusiasm to build up a stronger and wealthier Viet Nam. Having been a consultant for four Vietnamese Prime Ministers, he has often made proposals to deal with difficulties in the national economy. Many of them have been proved to be fruitful, yet some have created multidimensional debates among researchers and policymakers.
Born in 1931, Bui Kien Thanh was a very close friend of Ngo Dinh Diem, former Prime Minister and later President of South Viet Nam. In 1954, after graduating from Columbia University, USA, he was invited to work as an assistant to Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem and an advisor to Ngo Dinh Nhu at the age of 23.
In 1956, he was sent back to the USA to study banking system management and establish a representative office of Vietnam’s the National Bank here. He turned to be the youngest of more than 60 representatives of State Banks in the USA at that time.
When backed in Saigon, Bui Kien Thanh quit working for the government to work as one of the most influential businessmen in South Vietnam. In 1959, he was invited to be Chairman and Managing Director of American International Underwriters (AIU) in Saigon. Since 1965, after Ngo Dinh Diem’s government collapsed, he settled in Paris and started a long period of being away from home. Then he became a successful real estate investor in the south of France.
In the early 1980s, the Vietnamese government contacted with Bui Kien Thanh to ask for advice and to invite him to carry out the DOI MOI Policy. He submitted many effective proposals and was engaged in a lot of economically strategic projects. He also contributed greatly to how to normalize the diplomatic ties between Viet Nam and the USA.
It took the co-authors almost two years to compile the book Bùi Kiến Thành – Người mở khóa lãng du. They have conducted more than 40 interviews with Bui Kien Thanh and other related people, along with many talks on phone and online discussions. To keep the main character more alive and objective, the book is designed in the form of long intimate conversations between him and the interviewers. It includes four main parts: CHILDHOOD, AMID THE WHIRL OF THE TIME, AWAY FROM HOME and KEY-SEEKING.