Essential Reading

  I am often asked how to expand knowledge of China and Chinese business practices.  Nothing beats being there and learning from experience, but putting things into perspective can be greatly enhanced by reading.  Hear are some great books that should be on your reading list:

Chinese Lessons:  Five Classmates and the Story of the New China  John Pomfret  (Henry Holt and Company 2006). For Chinese businesspeople born in 1960 or earlier, a significant part of their outlook was shaped by the Cultural Revolution.  This book, that deals with students graduating in 1982, is fascinating to the business reader.

The Penguin History of Modern China...The Fall and Rise of a Great Power 1850-2009  Johnathon Fenby (Penguin Books).  Chinese people are justly proud that their culture is 6000 years old.  Old pots and terra cota warriers are interesting, to be sure, but as a modern economy the country is 40 years old.  This book gives context to the reforms.

Business Journey to the East....An East-West Perspective on Global-is-Asian Chow-Hou Wee and Fred Combe (McGraw Hill).  A handbook that provides great tips on how to deal with Asian business and businesspeople.  Helps to explain Guanxi (relationships) and Face.

Mr. China  Tim Clissold (Random House Australia, 1997).  A classic about the early days of the opening of China's economy, and how sophisticated Western business types learned that they weren't in Kansas anymore.

The Art of War   Sun Tzu   A very handy book to have around.  In the event you want to have backup for a strategy you have devised, cite this book.  It is in there somewhere.