When he was 23, TIME Asia editor Karl Taro Greenfeld set off to become an English teacher in Japan. But that was only the beginning. Standard Deviations: Growing Up and Coming Down in the New Asia is a vivid, intimate portrait of a continent--and a young man--in flux. As the Asian economies come of age, Greenfeld takes the reader on a tour of the giddy highs and lurid lows of late 20th century Asian life. "There was a wicked sorcery in Asia," he writes, and in Standard Deviations he deconstructs that magic.