There’s a part in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where a family’s constantly leaking faucet contributes to a tense atmosphere in the house. Whenever something else goes wrong, a glass breaks or some other minor incident occurs, it’s almost too much.

Ignore those outdated guidebooks claiming people don’t tip in Vietnam. As David Mann explains, international travellers are making it the norm

David Mann gives us a crash course in buying an electric bike (excuse the pun). Popular in Hanoi and spreading further afield, are they the answer to a country increasingly struggling with exhaust fumes? Photos by Andy Crompton

Our species has an obsession with categorisation. From plants and animals through to simple and complex ideas, humans like to give everything around them a label, and then fit these labels into groups.

In early 2009 a well-known financial advisor and analyst based in Vietnam told Word that now (or then) was the time to invest. He expounded his reasons, but the key one was that the market was subdued. A subdued market means lower costs — labour, raw materials, rental, real estate and so on. Businesses, he continued, should take advantage of this and invest now while the going was good.

Swami Pranavananda

In 1993, Swami Pranavananda was living a high-impact life in Los Angeles as an engineer in the aerospace sector working for the American defense industry. “I had done a lot of sports, but yoga seemed intelligent,” he recalls. “I started looking at things more closely and I realised there was something else I could be doing.”

(illustration by Cristina Nualart)

In his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond tries to explain why some civilizations were able to develop faster and more successfully than others. He pays particular attention to the domestication of large animals.

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