Favourite books, leadership style and managing dissent: Highlights from Lawrence Wong’s interview before becoming PM

Favourite books, leadership style and managing dissent: Highlights from Lawrence Wong’s interview before becoming PM


” I do not have a may- read list, I read frequently. It’s not just me, I believe some officials do. In response to a question about whether Mr. Wong has a list of must-read books for various groups of people because he is known to enjoy reading, he responded,” I read generally non-fiction these time.”

” A lot of it is present affairs. I had occasionally pick subjects that I wanted to read more and learn more about. So some of the more new issues, I am trying to figure out more about quantum computing, artificial intelligence, but I just read some books on that”.

He shared that he also read histories of officials from Singapore’s foundation technology, such as Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Keng Swee and S Rajaratnam, as well as international ones.

He recalled a book about former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower and how his ideas of leadership have often persisted.

” He distilled command into two points. One, knowing what to do and two, getting people to do what is the right item. It sounds pretty easy, but actually, there is a lot of wisdom in that”, said Mr Wong.

” First, you need to know what to do. There is no need for a innovator to occur if the leader is not even able to articulate and communicate this position ahead, but knowing what to do does not mean the leader has all the answers. However, the leader can certainly listen to advice and find opinions, but ultimately they may say this is the best course of action.

What is also extremely important is the president’s capacity to “engage people, motivate them and get everyone on the same page” to walk forward together, he added.


When Mr. Wong was questioned about particular policies he would follow as the next prime minister, and whether he was prepared to slaughter some” spiritual cows” after a long period of detention.

We are prepared to reevaluate anything, but not so much as attempting to kill a sacred cow for it, but we are also prepared to reevaluate our assumptions and take into account how, under various circumstances, with various societal expectations and needs, things may go. he said.

Mr. Wong cited the Forward Singapore exercise, which he launched two years ago, recent policy changes in public housing, improvements to the SkillsFuture scheme, as well as the upcoming unemployment benefit scheme, which “in the past ( we ) had stated this was not something we would do.

We believe there must be some kind of support system in place in light of the more dangerous economic environment and the more numerous job disruptions, according to Mr. Wong.

It serves as an example of how we are prepared to re-examine all of our basic beliefs and regard, finally, what is the best way to move Singapore ahead.